“Steven King once wrote that nightmares exist outside of logic and there’s little fun to be had in explanations. They’re antithetical to the poetry of fear. In a horror story the victim keeps asking why, but there can be no explanation and there shouldn’t be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest and is what we’ll remember in the end. My name is Alan Wake, I’m a writer.”
The psychological horror shooter video game called “Alan Wake” follows the story of bestselling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the veil of mystery behind his wife’s disappearance while on vacation in Bright Falls, Washington. While searching, he experiences events from the plot of his most recent novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life.
The gameplay of “Alan Wake” is a third-person shooter with two main weapons. First is the trusty flashlight, which is the most essential weapon in the game. The main “enemies” called the “Taken” are people, animals, and objects that are possessed by shadows and attack Wake with weapons of their own. The only way to kill the Taken is to use the purity of light, which burns the dark away, allowing them to be injured. To injure the Taken, Wake uses guns with his flashlight, a combo that helps him survive the darkness. Aside from the fighting, Wake can discover manuscript pages of the book he is living, giving him warnings of what is to come and how to combat them. Another discovery are TVs with episodes of “Night Springs,” a show similar to “The Twilight Zone” in the real universe.
The main plot of the story, that of Alan Wake’s work coming true, is a theme explored by Stephen King himself in many of his books. Also, a hedge maze paying homage to the movie “The Shining” is present. Alfred Hitchcock is cited as an inspiration, which is shown with an enemy that is a large flock of birds that attack Wake at random moments.
The game style of “Alan Wake” is great. It is presented as a mystery television program, separated into episodes that bring another piece of the puzzle to the main story, but have a distinct plot of their own. The story is also told with cliffhangers at the end of each episode, making the gamer crave to play the next one to see what happens next.
“Alan Wake” the main game came out with two DLC packages to continue the story, as well as a sequel called “Alan Wake: American Nightmare,” which is based in the same universe, but is not part of the main story. This is a great game even for non-gamers. The story will keep the player guessing and going deeper and deeper to an amazing climax that book lovers enjoy. “Alan Wake” can be purchased on the Xbox Live Marketplace or on Steam for a low price of $30 for the main game, or $15 for “American Nightmare.”