Alan Wake was one of the most interesting games I’ve played in a long time. The story was an actual story. Well, it was really a story about a story, in the form of a game about a story.
A lot of companies have tried to do some kind of “episodic” game, and of any, I think this game could have actually pulled it off if it had been released that way.
The game was set up as several distinct “episodes”, that had a setup of “Previously, on Alan Wake…” and then re-told important parts of the previous chapters. It was a fantastic way to get you back into the game when you start a new chapter.
As the game went on, the episodes got longer and longer, so it wasn’t as episodic as the first few. Every time I thought “this is going to be the end of this episode,” it just kept going. And partway through, I thought I had part of the story figured out based on something a character said, but the story totally went another way. I really enjoyed finding pages of the manuscript, which explained little things in the story that were happening or were “shadows” (pun intended!) of things to come.
Gameplay wise, it was different than almost anything I’ve ever played. For most of the game, you have 2 weapons: a flashlight, and a gun of some kind. And yes, the flashlight is a weapon! This might also be the first time that a game had a flare gun that was truly truly useful. It was like the game’s equivalent of a rocket launcher, and it was fun to use!
The story completely set up DLC and a sequel, so this is another sequel I’ll be excited for!