Alan Wake PC Review

by Stephen Heller Featured

1 Comments 13 Votes 3058 Views 07/03/2012 Back to Reviews

They mostly come out at night, mostly....

Two years after the Xbox 360 release, Alan Wake crawls his way onto the PC platform. After such a long time, has the game lost relevance among the PC crowd? Absolutely not!

What Alan Wake Got Right

Episodic nature - One of the most memorable aspects of Alan Wake is how it progresses; it’s broken up into six “episodes”, each with their own closing cutscene to compliment what has happened to precede it. Each episode opens with a “Previously on Alan Wake” introduction that gives a small recap as to what’s happened up to that point. Remedy have made in clear that Alan Wake takes inspiration from the likes of Lost and the X-Files, and the actual execution of the story, fused together with the music score and environments, is very impressive. The story recap at the beginning of each episode reminds us how important the story is in the thick of things, helping distance the game from generic third-person horror titles. The title really forces the story onto the gamer, and considering how thrilling and shocking the story is, that’s a wonderful aspect.

Chilling story and character development - If Alan Wake does one thing well, it’s offer an experience where the story and gameplay essentially work as one. Alan is a very interesting character and as he narrates the intriguing mystery throughout the game, we actually get to experience it first-hand through the gameplay. Some of the dialogue is particularly sinister with the potential to really send shivers down your spine, and the gameplay thankfully backs any instance like that up immediately with tense gameplay in dark and intimidating environments.

Get the Adobe Flash Player to see this video.

The use of lightness and darkness plays an important part, both within the narrative and the gameplay. It is essentially a make-up of everything that frightens the human race, the things that make us happy and the things that generate negative emotions. Alan won't always have to fight when in the darkness, and running away, while seemingly cowardly, is often the best option. Distancing ourselves from the things that make us scared, angry or sad is what helps us better understand how to combat those feelings in the future, and that's exactly what Alan has to do throughout the story. He has an ultimate goal, and everything he does can potentially be rated as light (good) or dark (evil). Remedy has created a story that relies quite aggressively on conditions that intrigue and challenge the human mind, and they’ve been implemented into Alan Wake superbly.

Fantastic lighting effects - Despite the ageing engine, Alan Wake still displays some of the most gorgeous lighting effects found in video-games today. The flashlight filtering through the trees as the darkness consumes your surroundings is simply amazing, and truly needs to be experienced.

DLC included - The Signal and The Writer are two DLC packs, each a self-contained "episode" in the Alan Wake saga. Both were included with the PC release, which means players will get to experience the full Alan Wake experience.

What The Alan Wake Got Wrong

Gameplay is unoriginal - The gameplay itself is not overly original, but the execution of the story is ultimately what will keep you coming back. Thankfully, the combat is fairly accessible. You’ll have a number of different options available to you, such as setting traps that illuminate when lighted, which act as a great way to stop enemies in their tracks, especially if you do happen to run out of ammunition. The flashlight is without a doubt the most important weapon in the game, as it even acts as an aiming crosshair. The aiming system works well for the most part, although you have to shoot with absolute precision with smaller weapons like the handgun. Much of the combat takes place in tight areas within the woods, so it’s difficult to pinpoint the location of every enemy. The light pushes them away, so once your battery runs out and you reload, enemies will rush towards you from every direction. The game does a wonderful job of keeping you on the edge of your seat, both within the gameplay and throughout the story.

However, when really shifting through the core gameplay experience, it seems to be missing that “wow” factor. It’s not that Alan Wake is an unoriginal experience, because it’s the complete opposite of that, but if not for the wonderful story that is fused together so perfectly with the gameplay, this may have just passed as a generic third-person horror title. In saying that, though, it’s not fair to look at it from the angle, considering how important the story is and how well Remedy have coupled it with the environments and gameplay. Alan Wake thrives through its ability to intrigue and thrill, and the world of Bright Falls is as memorable as it is terrifying.

The Final Verdict

It may be late to the party, but as the old saying goes; "better late than never". Alan Wake is far from a perfect game. It does a fantastic job of bridging the gap between games and film, with a story that is executed so perfectly, with plenty of twists and turns and edge-of-your-seat moments. Remedy have done a fantastic job of bringing story and gameplay together, and there’s no doubt that Alan Wake is like no other game you’ve played before. While the gameplay doesn’t scream originality, the environments are so tense and frightening that you’ll be playing through the game with one eye shut. Alan Wake is narrative-driven gaming at its absolute finest, offering gamers a look into the human condition and the definitive differences between light and dark.

By Gaetano Prestia & Stephen Heller

Alan Wake

Platform: Xbox / PC
Similar to: BioShock, I Am Alive
Vote for this article Log in with Facebook

More Info on Alan Wake

Game Profile: Alan Wake
Alan Wake Australian Release: Out Now

Alan Wake PC Review Comments

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
I love Alan Wake. I played it at my mates place on his Xbox. So knowing it's for the PC now, is just plain awesome.

Also great review.

Post a comment

Leave a comment Log in with Facebook
  • Boxi
  • Alan WakeAlan Wake Video

Recently Read

Featured PC Content

GOTY 2015: Best Game Of 2015

GOTY 2015: Best Game Of 2015

22/12/2015 Polls 18 15
Friendly Fire Show 122: The Finale

Friendly Fire Show 122: The Finale

Podcast 21/03 Articles 24 6
Friendly Fire Show 121's The Divided
Podcast 15/03 Articles 13 3
Australian game sales approach $3b, mostly digital
maxiboy 13/03 News 19 10
Target store in SA displays games in plain packaging

Target store in SA displays games in plain packaging

maxiboy 13/03 News 11 12
Friendly Fire Show 120: I swear, by the Sun and Moon...
Podcast 02/03 Articles 10 1
Friendly Fire Show 119: Weekend at Tano's

Friendly Fire Show 119: Weekend at Tano's

Podcast 23/02 Articles 10 1
Friendly Fire Show 118: R.I.P. Tano

Friendly Fire Show 118: R.I.P. Tano

Podcast 11/02 Articles 7 4
Friendly Fire Show 117: It's not goodbye, it's Halo!

Friendly Fire Show 117: It's not goodbye, it's Halo!

Podcast 01/02 Articles 10 4

Community Content

Fallout-themed excuses to get the day off

Fallout-themed excuses to get the day off

09/11/2015 Blog 31 0

MMGN Updates


says7904 is now Level 6!

says7904 just now

lemrazu is now Level 5!

lemrazu 10 mins ago

says7904 is now Level 5!

says7904 12 mins ago

tfgghfgfh8 is now Level 16!

tfgghfgfh8 18 mins ago

lemrazu is now Level 4!

lemrazu 22 mins ago

says7904 is now Level 4!

says7904 25 mins ago

lemrazu is now Level 3!

lemrazu 29 mins ago

says7904 is now Level 3!

says7904 32 mins ago

lemrazu is now Level 2!

lemrazu 35 mins ago

says7904 is now Level 2!

says7904 38 mins ago