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First of all, let me just say that the lighting and the atmosphere in this game is drop dead gorgeous. Remedy really didn't hold back in trying to recreate a beautiful mountain town and the eerie feeling that comes with it. Props to the designers at Remedy for that fact. A lot of studio's could learn from the way these guys create environments. In short, Alan Wake looks very pleasing visually, but that's just the wrapper of the gift, you have to see what's inside, right?
Storywise, it's pretty good. Alan is a writer who has ''Writer's Block'', (Don't we all one day), but it has persisted for several years. His wife decides they should take a nice holiday, so off they go to Bright Falls to have a relaxing time. At one point, Alice vanishes and Alan decides that he will rescue her, and this is where shit hits the fan. Alan finds that there is one evil force behind the chaos that then breaks out in Bright Falls, and Alan, hoping it will let him find his wife, decides to fight this darkness. (Because we all know that that is the most wise thing to do, right?). The story is a little bit typical, but has enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. Unfortunately there are no real big cliffhangers and ''mindfucks'', mostly just puzzled minds, who eventually get their answer, but players will be left with a ''Meh'' feeling in the end, thus it doesn't deliver fully on the ''Psychological'' aspect on which the game promotes itself.
But on to the ''Action Thriller'' Part, the gameplay! Alan Wake doesn't really shine here, in fact, the gameplay is it's weakest point. Players are forced to walk from Point A to Point B continuesly. While this is not essentially bad, it's what's between Point A and B which really makes a game. Players are presented with people consumed by darkness, which is nothing more then them being covered in a black fog. Unfortunately, these generic enemies and possessed objects are the only enemies you will ever find, and are all killed in the same way, burn the light of with thine holy flashlight, then deliver two shots to the head. It's an experience that get's quite boring, and because players will know what they are up against, the '"Thriller'' Part is quickly taken away. No need fearing in what you can expect, right? The story slightly makes up for this, but this is a GAME we are supposed to be playing.
While the Enviroments are top notch and the story is quite decent, the gameplay is well below sub-par. The parts between cutscenes get tedious quickly, and sometimes I personally felt like I had to do a tedious task before I had to see the next point of a B-Movie. (Note: When Gaming feels like working, then you are beating the purpose of gaming). Alan Wake is by no means a bad game, however it does not deserve the label of ''Psychological Action Thriller'', as it fails to deliver on all three words. Perhaps ''Interactive Story'' would have suited this better, and I perhaps feel that if Remedy decided to bring out the episodes as Arcade Games, I.E. Alan Wake: Episode 1, etc etc etc then it could have been much more successful.
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Alan Wake is available on the XBOX 360