GOONL!NE Preview: Alan Wake

alan-wakeDeveloper: Remedy Games
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Also on: N/A (Xbox 360 exclusive)
Release Date: Spring 2010
PEGI Rating: 16

To say Alan Wake has had a troublesome trip over the past four and a half years is saying something. Revealed at E3 2005, bagged as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2006 at E3, goes dark for all of 2007 and most of 2008 until finally last year, a new trailer and screens emerge.

Then dark again.

But finally, Alan Wake is coming out into the light: the first showings of this was at E3 2009 at Microsoft’s presser.

Playable at GamesCom, a brand new trailer was also released last week. Needless to say, after that trailer, this will be the must buy game for the Xbox 360 for Spring 10 and one of the must buys on any platform in that period.

Wake_pow_720pJust to recap the story, just in-case you’re in the dark (pun intended). Alan Wake is an insomniac writer, suffering from writers block. He hasn’t written anything in over two years, so his wife, Alice, decides they both go on a break to help him find that spark that will get him writing again.

So they go to a town known as Bright Falls. But mysterious events start to happen to Alan. While in Bright Falls, Alice goes missing and now, Alan must try and find her. But it’s not just your standard find the girl in distress story, of course not.

These recent events seem to be sterned from the new book Alan has written, they seem to be coming to life. But that’s the thing, remember? Alan hasn’t written anything in over two years. So, what is up with it? Did Alan actually write it? Did a darker force at play forge it?

In any case, Wake finds himself in a nightmare, as writer Sam Lake puts it.

“When she [Alice] vanishes without a trace, Wake finds him self-trapped in a nightmare. His work, a thriller he can’t remember writing, is coming true before his eyes.”

Wake_hills_720pLake also mentions that the game has a culture book feel to it as well as handled in a format done by modern TV shows, ala 24.

But what is this force that is coming to life from the story, the book that was “ghost-written” by Wake? They’re locals from Bright Falls, taken over by the darkness.

The book mentions that a dark presence has been unleashed within the town. The locals are consumed by the darkness within the book. Now, Alan must try and find pages from the book so that he can start to understand what is going on in Bright Falls.

AlanWake_WakeAiming_720pThe question is though: is it actually fiction coming into reality or has too many sleepless night and too many Red Bulls made him crazy? That could be the main question at play here.

“Wake’s shadow enemies seem invincible under the cover of darkness,” according to Lake in the trailer.

Lightsources are your key weapon. Flashlights, flares, anything with a lightsource is better then a handgun or shotgun.

“Light is a key game player land, but so is darkness,” Lake goes on further to say in the trailer.

“As Wake’s world slides further into a nightmare, darkness becomes the thing to avoid.”

The game is meant to be seen as a psychological thriller, but many people have been arguing that in it’s days of hiding under the radar has been doing it more harm then good. In fact, since it’s re-reveal. more people have called it an action thriller.

But watching the latest trailer and heard what I have heard from impressions at GamesCom, I beg to differ. This still seems to be the same game that it was set up to be since it was revealed over four and a half years ago.

Graphically, it does show a bit of its age, but it still does look fantastic and there is some promise they could still look great between now and it’s release next Spring.

AlanWake_Cablecar_720pOverall: Four years ago next month, there was a reveal of a game that sent chills down my spine. That game turned out to be the best game I’ve ever played. That game also turned out to be Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

I’ve had trailers and games that have done the same thing to me, but while some of them are great since then, most have only been mediocre to shit. But watching the newest Alan Wake trailer, I got that same sense of chills going down me that I got for MGS4.

And that can only mean a good thing, a very good thing.

I can’t say if you feel the same, MGS4 is obviously a different game to Alan Wake. However, if you have an Xbox 360, hold on to your hopes and dreams on to this game.

This may not just be a special game for the Xbox 360 or for this gen. This could be THE special game of this generation. And that is quite possibly an understatement.