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Alan Wake Review

Xbox 360 Review by Ellie Gibson

Wednesday

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"It's ready when it's ready." Developers must love being able to say that. It means they're so rich and successful they don't have to worry about trivialities like release dates. The publisher will wait patiently for them to hand over the finished product, and won't dare bang on about seasonal purchasing trends in the meantime.

It suggests they've risen above the situation of most developers, who, on being asked when their game is out, must either lie or reply, "It's ready when the publisher says it's ready / when it's cost so much money we can't afford to buy toilet paper for the office / when the movie's out, even if we haven't finished the final level and none of the cars have wheels."

Remedy Entertainment doesn't fall into that category. Extensive research suggests the studio never used the phrase "when it's ready" exactly, but all the same, it's been five years since Alan Wake was announced, and you can bet development began some time before then. Remedy even had the luxury of nine months just for polishing.

So has it been worth the wait, or should Alan Wake have stayed in bed?

Ask the titular character that question and you'll probably get an answer in the affirmative. Alan is a best-selling thriller author who suffers from writer's block. He decides to take a holiday in a bid to clear his head. And how does Alan choose to get away from it all, do you think? By spending a fortnight in Rio, drinking pina coladas by the pool? Or by visiting a tiny, rainy Pacific Northwest town inhabited by hilarious simpletons and frightening weirdoes, where the only available accommodation is an ancient log cabin in the middle of a haunted lake?

'Alan Wake' Screenshot 1

ASBO teen or geography teacher? With his hoodie, tweed jacket and leather elbow patch combo, Alan just loves to confuse.

Alan is accompanied on this jolly holiday by his wife, Alice. She sets the cause of female videogame characters back 10 years by being afraid of the dark and mewling like a kitten with a broken leg whenever the lights are off. Knowing this, Alan should probably have picked a nice hotel rather than a cabin powered by a generator in a shed at the end of the back garden. Needless to say, within about 12 minutes of arriving in the town of Bright Falls, Alice goes missing in mysterious circumstances and Alan embarks on a quest to find her.

Standing in his way is an army of zombie-like enemies known as the Taken. These are people who have been possessed by a dark force and turned into homicidal maniacs. Some have scythes, some throw axes, but all have a nasty habit of appearing out of nowhere and attempting to hack Alan to death.

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MaoZedong
04/05/10 @ 22:32
+108
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This will be an entertaining comments thread.
trebell
04/05/10 @ 22:42
+9
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oh god! and no ignore button means trolltasic times ahead.

i'm outta here.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 04/05/10 @ 22:44
the_dudefather
04/05/10 @ 23:16
+11
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As good as Alone in the Dark? Which I kinda liked :)
SPAM
04/05/10 @ 23:17
+51
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This game was originally meant to be a DX 10 showcase for the PC. They had to drastically lower resolution and graphics in general to make it playable on the 360. And barely I might add. A lot of framerate problems still, tearing as well. It seems the reason they delayed it by a few years is because they had to wrestle with the 360 so much in order to shoehorn a once graphically impressive game into old technology. And the result is a measly 7/10 game! Do Microsoft and Remedy have no shame?
cozeny
04/05/10 @ 23:22
-7
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SubHD/10.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 05/05/10 @ 09:00
the_dudefather
04/05/10 @ 23:30
+24
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@lockload
It's just a number, why not wait for the text?
BAM!
04/05/10 @ 23:30
+36
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Guess this game needed another half decade in the oven.
neilka
04/05/10 @ 23:31
+21
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As good as Just Dance then.
Doctor Shipman
04/05/10 @ 23:38
+40
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Quoting a metacritic review:

"the biggest compliment I can bestow: I had a nightmare about the game the night after I completed it."

uhuahuahua
Doctor Shipman
04/05/10 @ 23:41
+49
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btw

I'm the angry jilted PC defence force. Just a FYI.
the_dudefather
04/05/10 @ 23:44
+36
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The Nintendo occupational forces are away at the shops to buy DVD players in time for Mario Galaxy 2
Zappa
05/05/10 @ 00:00
+4
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muhaha
BabyJesus
05/05/10 @ 00:10
+17
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Damn EG and their XBOX bias, Oh wait..7/10

SDF called off

SAF called in!

Go go go! I expect entertaing comments to read tomorrow don't let me down.
ecureuil
05/05/10 @ 00:19
+35
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What's Sir Alex Ferguson supposed to do?
RESIDENT_nEVILe
05/05/10 @ 01:35
+16
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As good as Alone in The Dark then?
Zappa
05/05/10 @ 01:53
+35
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lol at all the xbots saying EG is wrong when they have not even demoed alan wake.
Demiath
05/05/10 @ 06:12
+17
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Thank God, I thought this game was going to be a must-have. One less purchase to worry about now, which my wallet certainly approves of. Let's hope Read Dead Redemption (that other big May release) is better, though...
Edited 3 times, most recently on 05/05/10 @ 06:13
hahayou
05/05/10 @ 06:14
+10
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@eurogamer staff

-> alanwake540p

...sooo, about that ignore button?
beastmaster
05/05/10 @ 06:18
+65
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This is a very interesting and informative review. There's a bit of unnecessary padding but it told me what I needed to know. Shame it wasn't the cock-rocking 11/10 I was expecting (would it ever have been though?).

Just because it's Ellie reviewing though and it doesn't match what your ideal score would be doesn't change certain facts that are highlighted in the review.

I'm going back to bed now.

Edit : By facts I mean things that seem to kill off the atmosphere and a few other things I can't be arsed to highlight as I'm fucking tired. I'll check back with other review scores later.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 05/05/10 @ 06:20
Charlie_Miso
05/05/10 @ 06:22
+45
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Won't bother to read the review, comments will be far more entertaining.

Go [platform of choice]!
PatAU
05/05/10 @ 06:27
+18
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7 is still a good score, and though I dont have an xbox I would play it asap if I did. Looks good.
Clive Dunn
05/05/10 @ 06:35
+69
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Wow, 42 comments, lots of abuse for Ellie and not one lesbian comment. The world has gone mad. Not as mad as whatever the Sly agenda is though, Sly Stallone perhaps ? Or Sly and the Family Stone ? There's a riot goin' on in here for sure.

Good review, well written.
Eddy-the-Ed
05/05/10 @ 06:36
+9
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Lol. I was going to buy an Xbox for this. Now I think I'll just get Siren instead. It's still the only true horror game this gen. What a waste of time it was waiting for this.
mkreku
05/05/10 @ 06:37
+29
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Good review. It's a shame it isn't open world anymore! I had no idea it wasn't. Also, thermoses? Wtf?

I was a bit sad that they dropped this for the PC. Not so sad now.
Beano
05/05/10 @ 06:42
+1
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7!?!?.. bummer!

I had higher hopes for this game. Will read more reviews before deciding to buy or not. Hopefully EG's score is just a fluke.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 05/05/10 @ 08:34
JohnnyWashnGo
05/05/10 @ 06:44
+5
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Crikey - didn't see that one coming. Although judging by the screengrabs that have been floating around the net lately, I was aware of the drop in visual fidelity. I still expected it to hit 8 or 9.
siro
05/05/10 @ 06:45
+16
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I always thought this was going to disappoint, but it's actually decent at 7/10. Will probably get it at some point then.
toa_boa
05/05/10 @ 06:48
+4
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Ohh Ellie, just as good as Wet then?
tossetaz
05/05/10 @ 06:49
+27
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Well written review, too bad the game seem to be a bit flawed though 7/10 isn't a bad score. Looking forward to seeing how the metacritics turn out, not sure if I should turn in assassins creed 2 and bayonetta in for this.
disc
05/05/10 @ 06:51
+23
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Well written review, I got a grasp for what's good and not so good.

Sounds like I'll enjoy the game.
thenastypasty
05/05/10 @ 06:56
+23
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Poor Ellie,she is going to get a kicking when the Internet wakes up(pun not intended).

The review score make no difference to me the game looks right up my street.

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