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Review: Alan Wake (Xbox 360)

Alan Wake

Developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Game Studios, Alan Wake is a psychological thriller action adventure game about a thriller writer looking to unravel the mystery of his wife’s disappearance during their vacation. Read on for the full review.

The Limited Edition of the Alan Wake Xbox 360 game

Alan Wake is the horror action-game that wants to be a big-time television series. In fact, it’s even structured in terms of episodes instead of the customary gaming protocol, stages.

That’s right, you play though these episodes as the star of the show: Alan Wake, our unfortunately named protagonist, is a writer in distress who travels to a small town to rediscover his mojo — for writing, that is.

His wife unfortunately goes missing and thus starts the chain of mysterious events. It’s not really a novel idea though, as audiences who have seen TV shows like Twin Peaks, Harper’s Island or Happy Town will recognise the small town Americana setting of the game — and the hidden dangers behind that happy façade. Or who have read Stephen King novels like Salem’s Lot, about famous authors who check into a regular town only to run into supernatural dangers.

In any case, cue screeching violins and ominous bass rumblings that indicate well, the horrors to come.

To be fair, without the creepy trappings of a horror movie that throws you for a drunken loop with every episode, Alan Wake would just be a passable third-person action adventure.

The numbing nightmare-within-a-nightmare scenario is taken to entertaining extremes, though, and even at the end of the final episode — not much of a spoiler really — you might just go “WTF” as the story closes.

But you can’t really blame Alan the author for sleeping on the job, because he doesn’t. Instead, he walks, runs and sometime drives all over the wild outdoors of Bright Hills — for the most part — shining a light on the dark evils that dwell in the er, dark.

Specifically, one ancient Force of evil that wants to be set free. And thanks to that Force, the town of Bright Falls has a thriving night life scene: Resident evils who have been possessed by the dark side of the Force to become shadowy biohazards of a sort. These dark denizens do have a given name, and they’re called the Taken.

(All the really good names like Zombies, Undead and The Flood have all been taken, one presumes.)

And they are out to get Alan Wake once the lights are out.

The Limited Edition contains “The Alan Wake Files” (a 144pg book), Exclusive Audio Disc with Soundtrack and Score, Game Add-on token to redeem the first Alan Wake DLC for free on Xbox LIVE, and Exclusive Xbox disc containing Alan Wake Xbox Live Theme and Alan Wake Avatar for Xbox LIVE

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