Twin Peaks is the best TV series ever, according to me, with its wonderfully twisted plot, tranquil music, mystical characters and weird setting. The story can be a bit thin sometimes, but that is ok when you really care for the characters and the place itself. As you might know I’ve hoped for games to have more of a strong story in them and the introduction and first parts of Alan Wake put my hopes high. What is cool about this game is that its setting in more than a few points resembles Twin Peaks’ setting. How close did Alan Wake come to being the Twin Peaks-game?
I’ve played the first chapters of Alan Wake many many times, but never fully finished the whole game. To fulfill a wish to myself, that I should finish one game before beginning another one I finally sat down and played through the whole game (not in one sitting though, that would not be possible with this philosophy!). To be honest I just played the “boxed” game, i.e. without any DLCs installed. I was initially planning to install and play everything that had Alan Wake’s name on it, but after finishing the game yesterday night I’ve changed my mind; unfortunately!
From Twin Peaks to repetitiveness and lack of atmosphere
The game starts wonderfully when you as Alan Wake, the main character, arrive at the small village in the mountains, Bright Falls, together with your wife. Soon strange things starts happening, you meet people that are normal but anyway a bit different, some with peculiar habits or ways of being. There is even a lady that walks half-bent, holding her hands on a lantern. Every time I see her I think of the log lady in Twin Peaks and I am 99% sure that the developers of Alan Wake also had her in mind when they created their lantern-lady. The first and second chapter has a perfect mix of weird story, some action and a lot travelling around in beautiful surroundings but after that I felt the game lost some pace. Even though the action got more intense it never engaged me much and the story started to feel a bit watered down or maybe too twisted; I am not sure how the story lost me, but I stopped feeling or caring for the story the further I got in the game, which is a pity in this quite story heavy game.
All the enemies in the game are part of a dark presence (or have been “taken” by the presence), which requires you to use some kind of light on these enemies to be able to hurt and dispose of them. The problem is that most of the enemies you meet at the beginning of the game are (and looks like) possessed people with some kind sharp weapon and these enemies keep coming at you all throughout the game; a bit further in the game you meet a few beefier enemies like possessed vehicles or other objects, but the variety is too low. Almost all fights in the game feel the same: point the lamp at the enemy, wait until the “darkness shield” is removed, then shoot them.
If you like games with “dark” action or want to play a game with quite a cool story, then play Alan Wake; you will be positively surprised during the first chapters and if you don’t care too much about the repetitive action then you will probably enjoy most of the game. For the rest of us we still have to wait for a game that can match Twin Peaks weird atmosphere, story and feeling!