Lost In The Shadows
Happy Weekend TAY!
And Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the Dads out there. I’ve already had some pizza for my special weekend and my wife is making me cinnamon rolls for Sunday (so I guess the diabeetus is my Father’s Day gift).
My son and I continued with our playthrough of Alan Wake on PC last week. This is my fourth playthrough of the game (twice on 360 and this makes twice on PC) and I’m surprised how little I remember of the story. Thankfully, my ageing brain comes in useful for letting me experience games, that I’ve already played, for the very first time. It is much easier to resist backseat gaming my kid when I don’t remember what’s coming next.
Alan Wake is a rare example of how to spend a long time in development, completely abandon your game’s original concept, and still come up with an extremely polished release (though to be fair...also after an injection of Microsoft money).
If you’ve read a lot of Stephen King (particularly the Dark Half) then you’ll feel right at home with the setting and tone. Alan Wake isn’t as good as one of King’s stories, but it still has strong writing and great voice acting.
As someone who finds story often gets in the way of my video gaming, it is hard not to care about Wake and his mental state. Nothing too deep here, but the excellent atmosphere makes for a helluva ride.
Thankfully the gameplay keeps up with the story. Imagine a PG-Silent Hill and you’ve basically got the feel of Alan Wake. It is faster paced and much more shooter-centric than Silent Hill (and nowhere near as fucked up). However, I think Alan Wake is far more satisfying to control and feels more like a modern third-person shooter than any of the Silent Hill games.
Where Alan Wake stumbles is in the variety of enemies. While there are some different shapes and sizes of the baddies, they are all generally human(-ish). The “Taken” are fun to fight and can quickly overwhelm you in groups, but there is a sameyness to the combat that can wear on you a little.
All said and done though, my kid and I are having a great time with it and we are thoroughly entertained. I still haven’t played Quantum Break or Control and, based on Alan Wake, I’m eagerly looking forward to more Remedy Entertainment games.
I imagine there will be more Alan Wake this weekend and hopefully, we can have a crack at some Rock Band as a family. It has been a while and I suspect all those weak singing muscles I once possessed have faded to nothing. Time to get back into practice.
So, what are you playing this weekend?