August 3, 2010

Alan Wake, "The Signal" - Review - This is not just DLC ...

... it's an ingenious twisting of what you're used to.

On July 27th, Remedy released the first of at least two DLC for their very good Alan Wake, a short episode entitled "The Signal."  After finishing the full-game two months ago, I've been dying to travel back to Bright Falls and see where else the story could go.  Thankfully, the wait was (mostly) worth it.

July 4, 2010

Alan Wake - Review - Frightening, Suspenseful, a Real Page-Turner

Sitting across from Mr. Wake, with the full puzzle coming into focus and the final pieces placed, the gravity from our seventeen hour journey together keeps me to my chair, like I've been punched and punched and punched and punched and I cannot move. I breathe and instead of oxygen I imbibe the molecules of a twisted mystery. I speak and instead of words I utter what others could only describe as ravings that touch no reality. Consumed, swarmed, leashed. It won't let me move. It. It.

But I have won; heavy and weighted as I am, I have still won. The black screen, both an unknown void and comfortable signal flare communicates the end. It is over.

Or is it ...

Sorry, the above prose isn't very good and maybe only barely reminiscent of something Remedy's author/protag would write. But Alan Wake has the uncanny power to permeate my brain. And if you play it, your brain might be permeated, too, in some pretty cerebral ways.

Alan Wake is a very novel game (pun absolutely intended!) in that there is hardly anything like it out there. The closest comparisons would be Silent Hill 1 and 2 minus the grotesque horror, then add a dash of perfect location like BioShock's Rapture. Admittedly, not everything makes perfect sense, but nightmarish situations rarely do, and the nightmare we experience in this game keeps you wanting to find out what will happen next, even if it might be terrifying to see what's around the corner.

Turn the page to keep reading.  And by "turn" I mean "click."   And by "the page" I mean the link that says "Continue reading."

May 18, 2010

Best. Edition. Ever.

Take a look below at the Limited Collector's Edition of Alan Wake I picked up five hours ago at midnight.  I say without hesitation that this edition is quite possibly the best bang for $80 in video games today.

Pictured above from left to right is the official soundtrack; The Alan Wake Files, a dossier of sorts compiling all the pertinent information related to the mystery (which I'll be reading after beating the game, of course); a "Bonus Disc," of which I know nothing; the full length game packaged more like a film or TV DVD; and last, a fuzzy, hardcover box to store everything in (the picture does it no justice), sporting Alan Wake's "autograph."  Also included are codes for a shirt for your avatar, a theme, and the first DLC, all of which come with every new copy bought and/or preordered.  Eighty bucks never felt so good.

Add to the whole presentation a sleekness that looks totally professional and serious and this edition shines above the majority in the industry, beaten in my eyes only by The Orange Box for value (but definitely not for box art).

Does the game itself deliver as much as its packaging?  You'll have to read my eventual review to find out!