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Alan Wake, above all other things, is about providing the player with a sense of atmosphere, and it accomplishes this goal with flying colours.

From a technical standpoint, Alan Wake really delivers the goods visually, handling lighting, particle and especially weather effects in a way that has never been seen in gaming before. This is due to the nature of the games theme, but it is very impressive none the less and will have you in awe at certain points. While the daytime may not look as great and character models and animations can be a little clunky, the overall effect is impressive to say the least.

The sounds also plays a huge roll in maintaining the overall atmosphere of the game, and is top notch through and through, with an accompanying soundtrack that is so well chosen, it will make you wonder why people haven’t made use of licensed music like this in past.

The end result is a game that has an atmosphere so thick and immersive, that you will lose yourself in it completely if you give yourself half the chance.

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Alan Wake on its normal setting is not the most difficult game I have ever played by any stretch. The game will run you a very respectable 9 hours, and once all was said and done, it felt like the perfect length for the experience that Remedy set out to provide.

Even at 9 hours, Alan Wake still manages to remain interesting throughout, thanks to some perfect pacing and the intriguing story that unravels itself over the course of the game. You will always feel like you are going somewhere and know that everything you are doing is important.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value to the game, although to get the full story of what happens you have got to play the game on its nightmare difficulty to unlock pages that reveal the whole story. That combined with the action that was fun to play, it may very well warrant a second play-through.

Conclusion:

Alan Wake may not be the massively over-impressive mind blowing experience that everyone was hoping it would be, but it has accomplished what it set out to do, and well. It may have some elements similar to other games, but in its entirety it offers a type of game that I can’t really say I have played before. I enjoyed the experience for being what it was, and if anything, it was unique.

For fans of: Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Dead Space


Scoring (not an average)

Gameplay: 8.5

Gameplay is solidly fun, but a little clunky at times.

Presentation: 9.4

From the massive mountain views, to the eerie forest nights, cutscenes and interface, it’s a great looking game overall. Would have been even better with some model polishing and better animations.

Sound: 9.5

Great voice acting, atmospheric sound and a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack comprised of a lot of 70’s folk rock with some real gems from artists such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Value: 8.5

This is definitely a case of quality over quantity, but the odd 9 hours you spend playing Alan Wake the first time through are definitely worth it.


Overall: 9.2

Before writing this, I was well aware of the mixed reviews coming out of the press, and in my opinion the nitpickers missed something crucial along the way. Alan Wake is a magnificent story, told in a great setting and highly recommended for any Xbox 360 owner looking for an engaging and atmospheric story-driven experience.

[Reviewed on Xbox 360]

Last Updated: May 20, 2010

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Alan Wake
9.2

12 Comments

  1. great game too bad the sales are not reflective of that. initial reports of 80k week one for europe and america not much better looking at an opening of 180-200k worldwide not too shabby but the game deserves better, to put things in perspective

    Week 1 sales
    God of War 3 1.2 million
    Splinter cell 580k
    heavy rain 500 k
    Mag 450 k
    red dead redemption on all platforms 500k
    uncharted 2 800k
    so the sales are not explosive but hopefully their legs since i like remedy games like max payne and as much as i hate ms i still want remedy to succeed

    Reply

    • WitWolfyZA

      May 20, 2010 at 15:00

      See end of the month.. Remember a lot of people were probably broke when this released, me myself had to go trade in some classic gems at BT just to get it on pre order price 😛 end of the month it will pick up drastically

      Reply

  2. batman

    May 20, 2010 at 13:04

    The lip syncing is terrible, animations are bad, day time graphics are not good and there is so much screen tearing that it becomes distracting. So how does it get a 9.5 for presentation?

    Reply

  3. Ruslan

    May 20, 2010 at 13:13

    A slow sale starter like many other games and exclusives:

    Infamous sold a mere 80k in week 1 in Europe to reach 1.5 million sales to date.

    http://www.vgchartz.com/games/game.php?id=13108&region=All

    Mirror’s Edge sold a whooping 27k in week 1 but reached 980k thus far.

    http://www.vgchartz.com/games/game.php?id=21686&region=All

    So its too early to let the Fat Lady sing IMO. Nonetheless the game is a classic.

    Reply

  4. darthdad

    May 20, 2010 at 13:51

    Thanks for the review Nick. Looks like a perfect game for my wife.

    Reply

  5. eltonriley

    May 20, 2010 at 13:56

    I know they a bit different but I much prefer Heavy Rain. I found the graphics of AW to be lacking quite a bit. But I only played 4 about 5 hours with a mate and I doubt I will continue with it. Just got Demon’s Souls for the PS3 so I’m itching to try it out. Will wait for my mate to finish AW to see if it’s worth continuing. But so far, meh.

    Reply

  6. Shinobi7

    May 20, 2010 at 14:15

    @Nick: Thanks for the review.
    @Lans: Dude, did you buy Alan Wake as well?

    Reply

  7. Dean

    May 20, 2010 at 14:40

    So excited. Law exam tomorrow. Alan Wake the weekend.. I hope.

    That’s if the courier man ever arrives!

    Reply

    • WitWolfyZA

      May 20, 2010 at 14:59

      Well i Love the game, but after playing heavy rain, and seeing what next gen is suppose to be graphically. I was a bit disappointed with a game so long in development coming so short.

      (SPOILER) the part where you fight the bulldozer i saw some guys in the background being blurred, and i couldn’t help feeling frustrated seeing that even their silhouettes were pixelated . But none the less still entertaining!

      Just started chapter 3 and heck i this game actually motivated me to try Dead Space again, to see if my nerves can keep up this time!

      Reply

  8. lans

    May 21, 2010 at 10:27

    well i was in the mood for an adventure type game, so ya i bought alan wake and sonicm

    Reply

  9. jaxon

    May 22, 2010 at 18:08

    i bought alan wake yesterdey and i love it the graphics are amzing and im actually spooked for parts of it i have NEVER ever been spooked in a video game ive gone shit theres a bad guys tere but ive neer gotten so pulled in i rate it 9.6 out of ten if you dissagree with me then your a cynical bastard :biggrin:

    Reply

  10. Faheem

    May 24, 2010 at 10:05

    Anyone get the special collectors edition? are all the extra story stuff worth it then?

    Reply

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