Fascinating storytelling wrapped in a average game

User Rating: 7 | Alan Wake PC

When you look at Remedy's previous games such as Max Payne or their upcoming oeuvre, you cannot help but feel that they are trying to push the boundaries and/or establish the video game's potential for storytelling. Instead of opting for interactivity in choices, something that has been utilised by the likes of BioWare and TellTale Games, this one opts for immersion by creating an experience that resembles a TV show, especially Twin Peaks, by which this title has been inspired, the developers made no secret of that. Through manuscript pages, visions, backflashes, TV shows, radio broadcasts etc., you fit piece after piece to a puzzle that reveals a disturbing layer that brood behind the reality of a Pacific Northwestern town as it would exist in your imagination. While this part of the game certainly is impressive, the gameplay beneath the whole dance is average at best, fueld by a terrifying atmosphere and lots of jump scares but never goes as deep as many other titles and from whichever gameplay mechanism angle you look at it (gear, character development, skills, puzzles, etc.) you will find a rather irritating lack of content. Still, the little that the developers give us works on a very minimalist level to support the overall atmosphere and style of the game as a whole. The idea of fighting darkess itself may not create insane action showdowns but breathtaking leaps for that cone of light that so promisingly shines somewhere far away, nestled in between to twised dark pines. The story itself will appeal to those who love themselves some supernatural horror (Stephen King, Twin Peaks, Lovecraft), yet I cannot help but think that some will be a tad annoyed by the loose ends, the hyper-philosophical implications, the existentialst undertone and solution.

All in all. A great story, better yet - the way it is told through an interactive environment. The gameplay lacks depth however but at a playthrough time of approx. a dozen hours, you will not manage to get bored, unless you cannot find love in your heart for the concept as a whole.