The darkness is a compulsion of everything that is wrong with the night, and it has being. It is something palpable and dangerous, sparing no one from its torment in the shadows of the moonlight and the dim street lamps. Alan Wake is the plagued victim of the darkness, an author and another soul to torment when the town of Bright Falls goes to sleep. Alan Wake was sure he would be safe in Bright Falls by having time to relax and forget the horrible mental block that prevents him from writing the next hit-seller to Alan Wake: The Sudden Stop; Unfortunately, he was specious in the power and authentic realism of the unseen and the night. Alan Wake is the latest title by Remedy Entertainment that lives and breathes the dichotomy of the amaranthine force of time, light, and darkness. With one of the most incredible gameplay aspects that accentuate the flashlight, Alan Wake is an exhilarating experience that thriller and suspense savants will find unforgettably palpable. The transitions of mood and the tone of the setting with Bright Falls surpasses the astonishing storyline that ensues and the plot twists that follow. Bright Falls is the deus ex machina to the constant positivity of the sun and the glaring power it holds over the mysterious facets of nature, from growth to pure unleashing of destruction when it sets and takes away the glow that protects the town. The semblance is rich with scary cabins to serene people during the day and constant interference by a dark presence that is felt throughout the pages of the novel that make up Alan Wake and that make up an incredibly memorable title for 2010.
Alan Wake introduces us to the writer on which the game self-proclaims a name for itself: Alan Wake, someone who is looking to take a trip away from the realities of publishing a manuscript he has no idea on how to start, or if he ever even intends to start it. Ever since the success of Alan Wake: The Sudden Stop, Alan Wake strives to just take his mind off of the trouble in his mind and be less preoccupied from appreciating nature with his wife Alice Wake. Dismally, unexpected circumstances illicit his wife to be kidnapped and the focus shifts to Alan Wake by searching for her during the day and nighttime. As he takes each step, Alan Wake encounters a paranormal transcendentalism with the night as it possesses people, objects, and moreover forms through illusions. The fine border between storyline and real gameplay is broken down with Alan Wake, and mysterious pages that are from a manuscript he never remembers starts bringing trepidation to his life. The storyline is so well developed and meticulously detailed within Alan Wake that it is completely implausible not to feel a part of the scenario that entails.
The most sensational aspect of Alan Wake is the gameplay and storyline are seamlessly integrated as an entire balance than two pieces trying to make a whole. Before the gameplay mechanics are established in their own sense, Remedy Entertainment truly realizes that the atmosphere and the change from night and day are central. The gameplay elements have beautiful preanimated cutscenes that transition into gameplay within an environment that is atmospheric as it is delightful to see. Bright Falls is a suburban island on a coast in the middle of nowhere, with lush forestry and the singly owned businesses of the neighborhood such as the local diner, and the estates themselves. The town has its own Sherriff and reminds players that they are genuinely exhibiting an atmosphere that is as foreign to them as it is to Alan Wake. When things go wrong, players feel the raw sensation and power of the dynamic storyline writing itself out within the pacing of gameplay. As Alan Wake, you will search through two essential sequences that form the diremption within every episode. The daytime reminds players of the appreciation for the beauty of nature that can be openly seen and that Alan Wake has a hard time to enjoy himself during his problematic thoughts of writing a new manuscript at all. The night is a harrowing and endless torment that can be both eerie and beautiful as you rush out of the woods to exhibit a better lit area below the presence of the big moon. The gameplay itself becomes less about the actual mechanics of control but more so about movement within the two senses of environment and the convergence of reality between the two with the supernatural, as the storyline shapes the gameplay pacing itself when the sun sets and the moon rises.
Alan Wake makes use of the fundamental gameplay through the power of light and dark. Alan Wake navigates around the dark with his flashlight and some helpful weapons. The flashlight is the essential tool used to defeat enemies of the darkness. The player points the light at the enemy and a circular reticule decreases towards the center, showing an overpowering of light to dark. Afterwards, all it takes is two bullets and players will continue the trek throughout the storyline, finding manuscripts along the way and running for their lives. Along the way, players will encounter Safe Havens that are bright series of lights from which the players are safe from the night. Despite this, once out of this area that provides supplies and a save-point, players will want to tread carefully and watch their backs constantly as the same types of enemies can emerge. While the gameplay mechanics are great, it can tend to up the horror level a bit too much. Ammo ends up being always scarce, and most of the time enemies surround the player and cause a panic to quickly shoot out every dark force coming with an axe from every angle. More ammo would have potentially given a sense of power from the dark which would have been more useful. Essentially, the core gameplay of Alan Wake is simplistic and while some aspects shift from on-foot to driving, most of the fun is to be had during nighttime and running away from the deadly night.
One of the most necromantic experiences of Alan Wake is the atmosphere that makes use of the foreshadowing in affecting both the mood and tone. Many games make use of the element of light such as Dead Space, but very few create an entirely interesting concept apart from the storyline itself playing out in a linear fashion. As Alan Wake is separated in a TV-episodic design, each episode contains a series of pages from Alan Wake’s manuscript that he neither remembers writing nor believes can come true at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, the pages do come true and the realization makes the gameplay very sinister and gloomy. Alan Wake begins seeing himself on TV screens and reading pages out of order as the player may or may not find all of them. Descriptive elements make the storyline more dynamic, through red herrings and flash forwards to utilization of Chekov’s gun to elements of a light that goes off in the back room of the diner at the beginning of the game. Alan Wake takes the literary elements seriously and manages to not overcomplicate them while making everything conspicuous and convincing to the suspenseful nature of the gameplay. As such, horror builds up and so does suspense and thrill that is memorable as the journey ends. This is not to say that Alan Wake is always dark and gloomy and melodramatically serious. Alan Wake also finds several glimpses of humor through Night Springs, which players will definitely stop to watch. The series is a pseudo-spin off of The Twilight Zone and provides hilarious storyline elements in a microscale universe on the television. After walking an exhaustive time through the woods, it is nice to come across a cabin with a TV to just think and reminisce about with for a while. Alan Wake has an atmosphere that makes use of horror, suspense, and humor to create something unforgettable and magical.
Alan Wake takes elements of literary significance and revitalizes gameplay with a dichotomy that is chilling, revealing, and expressing. While the gameplay is simplistic to the core, it contributes to the highly authentic and persuasive environment of Bright Falls and the woods at night. Elements such as foreshadowing and red herrings provide a storyline that is not just simple but also intricate and exciting through the shifts of gameplay. The power of the sun and resilient nature of the moon and the fog of the night itself is revealed within Alan Wake for what they truly are: nature at its best and worst. There are a lot of lessons that Alan Wake teaches players, but one more memorable than any others: the next time you are hiking at the mountains, make sure to bring a flashlight….and a lot of batteries. You never know what the night might do to you.