Sunday, July 18, 2010
Alan Wake: A Simpleton's Look at an Over-Reviewed Game
Ever wish you were a famous author ? Ever wish you could blast through ghosts that only exist in your mind ? Ever wish you could do both of these things at once ? If you said yes, this is the game for you !
Story: 10/10 This is more of a story than it is a video game. There are in depth characters who are trying to help loved ones and explore their own fears. I personally didn't care for the story myself but that's because I'm not really into mysteries. But I can appreciate the fact that it was well structured and that everyone who has played it really enjoyed it.
Graphics: 8/10 The graphics are decent enough. They definitely aren't going to blow your mind. The main character is controlled third person and I was impressed with how smooth it was. There are a lot of other games where you play and watch third person and it's far more clumsy. The camera angle may try to auto-correct or sometimes you are up against something and your vision is suddenly limited. But Alan Wake has really worked its way around these problems.
Sound: 9/10 Pretty typical. What was nice was that the developers didn't drive repetitive music into my head. I hate when games do that and I'm always ready to give a better score for games that refrain from that. They do a pretty good job of incorporating all the sounds of a creepy woodland setting. The timing is also great for keeping the tension up. Just when you start to get a little comfortable, a flock of loud crows will burst out and shake you up.
Gameplay: 6/10 There is hardly any game playing going on here. The first 30 minutes of the game is some random walking around with extensive cut scenes. The cut scenes are lengthy, and there is frequently a narration going on. The little gameplay that actually takes place is pretty monotonous. You shine a flashlight and shoot down imaginary spirits. Occasionally you turn on a generator or move a couple logs to make a path, but that's about it.
Overall: 9/10 This game is great for certain people and horrible for others. If you want a story driven RPG, this is probably going to be one of the best games you have played since Mass Effect. If you want shoot 'em ups with lots of action, don't even bother opening the case. But for the effort of the game, its a pretty good one.
Buy/Rent: This one is a rent. I know I gave it a 9/10, but there is really no re-playability in the game. The first play through is pretty amazing, but after that, you are kinda done. There is the possibility to play on different difficulty settings or to go find collectible items like hidden trunks and manuscript pages, but that's really about it. I recommend you rent it on a weekend where its just too damn hot to go outside. You can sit indoors and mainline the game in the soothing comfort of your central air.
On a final note, be prepared to be inundated with product placement. Energizer batteries is the biggest one. You need energy for your flashlight and you have to collect excellently replicated Energizer batteries, complete with cardboard display. They even have different kinds like the regular one and the lithium. There is also a lot of placement for Ford. The whole game really crams this kind of stuff down your throat. But I suppose it's a recession, they have to fund the game somehow.