Saturday, August 28, 2010

Butterface, the game

On a macro level, Alan Wake is a beautiful game. The environments are detailed and sufficiently creepy, the 'darkness' effects are very interesting and make monsters out of everyday objects, and the way the environment moves as you move through it is just amazing. Unfortunately you wont see any of this whenever there is a character facing the camera, on account of all the models' faces in the game being hideous to look at, often bordering on malformed and grotesque. At first I though Alan's wife was the only culprit: when she speaks her mouth has little to no connection with the sounds coming out of it, her eyes are sunken and dead looking, and I could not wait for her to go away. Then I met other people from the town, and either every single one of them suffered the same kind of tortuous abuse as a child or the guy that Remedy hired to build and animate the faces was a big fan of the Twilight Zone.

Only without all the poignant social commentary.

I am not saying that Alan Wake is not good. It is excellent so far and I did not want to stop playing it last night. I only regret that in six months I wont remember the moody lighting or tense combat or the somewhat intriguing, if convoluted story. All I will remember are characters who were clearly beaten with a giant ugly stick. Twice.

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