Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Impressions: Alan Wake

click to enlarge
Previously on Alan Wake...

Before June 1, Alan Wake had been in hiding at Remedy Studios while development on the Xbox 360 and PC exclusive continued. During Microsoft's keynote, Remedy showcased a portion of the title to eager gamers, but yesterday we were given an opportunity to go behind closed doors and watch the rest of what those viewers did not see. Jump in to find out more detail behind the level showcased at the conference, including a relatively spoiler-free recap of what happened next.

Gallery: Alan Wake | 21 Photos

The demo for Alan Wake begins in a cabin where Alan, a best-selling writer, is discussing the lost pages of a mysterious manuscript that he has penned with his neurotic and allergy prone publicist, Barry. Immediately following a cutscene, Remedy's Jyri Ranki showcased how Alan can interact with the people using the environment. Shining Alan's flashlight into Barry's eyes and then flicking the lights in the cabin on and off causes him to become irritable and exchanges a few comical words with the author. Barry is the game's comic relief, we're told, and we're glad he's not seizure-prone.

The game takes place in the fictitious town of Bright Falls, where Alan wakes up and realizes his wife is missing and sets off to find her. He soon realizes the terrifying manuscript he wrote is coming to life and the world around him is becoming shrouded in darkness. Townsfolk are taken over and become vicious killers, hunting Alan to stop his quest to locate the missing pages of his manuscript, which he believes will help find his missing wife. Every missing page from the manuscript found foreshadows the events in the game, telling Alan what he needs to do to find his missing wife -- read aloud by Wake in classic Remedy fashion.

For a game that focuses so heavily on light and darkness, Remedy has done its best to achieve something special with them. They are key elements in the game: light will destroy enemies, stop possessed items and vehicles in their tracks and creates a safe haven for the player. A flashlight can be used to push approaching enemies. Alan can also shine his light on them to essentially charge a one hit blast using a firearm -- as seen during the press briefing.

Soon, Alan approaches the shack in the woods where the demo ended at the press briefing. This time we see what really happens. As the bulldozer drives toward the shack Alan has taken refuge in, the massive machine strikes it, splitting the small space in two. With no other choice, Alan runs through the broken environment to meet the machine head on, defeating it with multiple light sources and blasts from a conveniently stumbled-upon shotgun.

Light will destroy enemies, stop possessed items and vehicles in their tracks and creates a safe haven for the player.

Like Resident Evil 5's kill animations, Alan Wake appears to showcase grand deaths should the main character fail at specific moments.

While the game won't see release until 2010, the environments are already impressive. However, the character models don't stack up. Animations and mannerisms appear blocky and robotic (especially in cutscenes), something that will have to be addressed. The game will also feature a day and night cycle and weather effects, which are controlled by the linear story progression of the title.

After a short vehicle section of gameplay, Alan finds himself at a lighthouse, which suddenly goes dark and becomes flooded with enemies. Here, the level ends on a cliffhanger.

Each level of Alan Wake acts as an episode of a television series. Much like Alone in the Dark, Alan Wake will precede each level with a recap of the what's happened so far. Since the story is the major focus of the title, Remedy felt it important to go over what players have accomplished and how it relates to their next objective.

We're glad Alan Wake still exists: for a while we had no reason to even believe we'd ever see it. Now it's up to Remedy to take the game to the next level and make us glad it's in stores. From what we've seen, it captures a mysterious and nerve wracking vibe and we're eager to see what happens in Alan Wake's next episode.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr