Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just when things are looking up

I'd apologize for yesterday's outburst, but then I would be lying.

Alan Wake was a perfect weekend game. Started on a Friday night and finished by Sunday, it was difficult to wrest myself away from it and go to bed in between. With the exception of the bizarre faces mentioned a few days ago, it almost flawless; an excellent follow up to and departure from the Max Payne games of old. Remedy has left plenty of little crumbs for those of us still waiting for Max's return, everything from painkillers to Max himself self pretty much being the main character of Alan's novels, but this is not the same kind of game. Action is never the focus, but it is still always present and is just as intense as it needs to be to keep the adrenaline flowing. Giving Alan two forms of ammunition to juggle, batteries and bullets, doesn't hurt either. And just as things become hopeless you will run across a giant spotlight to even the odds.

Special mention must be made of the lighting, especially when the darkness gathers its forces and sends them after you, wave after wave, appearing from the shadows in their mindless pursuit. Seeing the wind pick up and the light and dark fight back and forth never got old, even when I finally left the forest and found my way into more civilized areas. There was horror here in everyday objects, from barrels to giant tractors, which kept me from ever really feeling safe. I would not say that Alan Wake was ever frightening, it is hard to be scared of the bad guys when most of them look like refugees from Ico waving chainsaws around, but it was definitely unnerving and there was plenty of atmosphere to go around. It was also just vague enough about what was going on to preserve the fear of the next revelation without confusing me to the point of ennui. Is this all actually happening or is Alan crazy? One of the middle chapters actually had Alan wake up in the care of a psychologist, so I thought that the game had finally tipped its hand. Then I was attacked by book shelves and the building took on a look right out or Poltergeist and I was much less sure. The ending, at least the one I got, doesn't really explain much. Big chunks of exposition are unavailable until nightmare mode is unlocked, but realistically I am okay not know exactly what happened. I have come to my own conclusions about Alan's sanity, and any attempt to explain to me what 'really happened' will lessen the effect.

I have very few complaints, which is odd for me, I think I may be getting soft. Or ill.

Speaking of ill, Blur is even less interesting then Split/Second was. It pains me to say this, because I love Bizarre Creations, but the best comment I can mange to come up with for Blur is 'meh.'

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