Impressions: 'Alan Wake' runs toward darkness

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Previously on Alan Wake... in search of lost manuscript pages for a novel he doesn't recall writing, Alan Wake is searching the Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls for his missing wife. The pages aren't only a clue as to where Alan must search next, but seem to be the basis of a dark force taking over the small town.

In the latest demo of Alan Wake, the title character is without a weapon or the protection of a light source -- the only thing that can slow down the darkness taking over the small town. During this section of the game, Alan must retreat into the darkened forests, pursued by an FBI agent named Nightingale who is sure Wake is to blame for all of the terrible things happening in the town. Sadly, Nightingale may not be wrong.
%Gallery-64691% While the first demo of the game showed off how light was an important ally for Wake's survival, lurking in the shadows is the only way he can survive pursuit from Nightingale and his trigger-happy squadron.

Alan Wake's E3 demo armed Wake with a pistol and light source, using beams of light to weaken enemies -- referred to as "The Taken" -- and allowing his weapon to inflict damage. At E3, Alan fought for survival. During this demo, he ran. But Wake wouldn't only have to contend with Nightingale during this demo, the darkness spreading throughout the land and infecting the citizens of Bright Falls also hunted the famed novelist.

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Pieces of the game's story leaked out during the demo, Wake is still searching for his missing wife and lost manuscript pages, and the Sheriff of Bright Falls opposes Agent Nightingale's aggressive pursuit of a man she simply considers a "person of interest."

Increasing tension and suspense is Remedy's plan for Wake's moments of escape. Searchlights, gunshots and "the taken" all pursue the novelist, attempting to end his search for the woman he loves. It's difficult to say if it will work when the controller lands in players' hands. Sitting on a couch watching a man dodge enemies in the forest without having direct control didn't increase suspense for me, but I was pleasantly surprised that Alan Wake isn't just a third-person action game. What is clear is that Remedy is trying to tell a memorable story. Whether or not it will succeed is unclear, but Alan's adventure certainly has my interest piqued for more information before its Spring 2010 release.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.