Alan Wake is a psychological action thriller from Remedy, the legendary and renowned developers of highly successful action titles. Gamers assume the role of Alan Wake, a best-selling suspense author who escapes to a small town to recover from the mysterious disappearance of his fiancÃ©e.
A writer, titular protagonist Alan Wake quickly finds his peaceful getaway turning into a hellish nightmare, when his wife go's missing from their cabin on the lake. Worse still, strange happenings in the surrounding forest and even stranger creatures make every effort in stopping Wake from finding his wife, and discovering the mystery behind the town of "Bright Falls".
The interesting mechanics of light and darkness are introduced from the outset, with Wake equipped with a "not-so-trusty flashlight" to help defend himself from the darkness. This introduces an interesting dynamic as Wake has to take tactical advantage of nearby light-sources before dispatching of his dogged pursuers. These aren't run of the mill bad guys either, they are only to happy to take aim at your head with a scythe or run you through with a chainsaw. A few notable encounters include fights with "possessed objects", many of which are much larger than yourself. Luckily the game provides a fantastic dodge feature, that when timed correctly, slows down the fight giving you time to escape, something that I really wished appeared in more games.
The limited supplies and "scavenge" mechanic are reminescent of the older Resident Evil games and certainly on the higher levels, "tactically retreating" is a valid strategy. The game encourages you to venture off the beaten track in search of collectable thermos flasks (yes,really) and book pages that serve to flesh out the story. In reality though you are going to want to look for the wonderfully crafted TV and radio shows that purvey the underlying humour and "campness" throughout the game.
It is here, through the wonderful details of Night Springs that Alan Wake truly shines. Even today the game remains graphically impressive, with some absolutely wonderful particle and lighting effects. The aformentioned TV and Radio shows are clever and humorous but are also bolsted by a licensed soundtrack which covers everything from Roy Orbison to Depeche Mode. This combination of elements culminates in more of an experience than a game, one that should certainly be enjoyed if you own a PC or Xbox 360.