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Game over! Alan Wake takes mortal damage in the Laser Orgy 500.
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Alan Wake

 
53%

The air hangs damp and cool in the forests surrounding the town of Bright Falls. Mountains jut up from the ground like rows of sharks’ teeth. Picturesque daytime vistas give way to suffocating nighttime darkness, and a thick fog conceals supernatural predators. The occasional light source that pierces the gloom only reminds you of your isolation. This is the eerie world of Alan Wake, a horror game that proves, once again, that developers don’t need to reinvent entire genres to make a good game — they simply need to play to their strengths. Our title hero is a bestselling novelist suffering through a bout of writer’s block. Hoping to find solace, he and his wife decamp to the Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls, where, you will not be surprised to learn, spooky things begin to happen. Across six episodes, each just an hour or two, an unwieldy narrative unspools. Alan keeps finding pages of a manuscript he doesn’t remember writing that seems to be predicting the haunted happenings around him. His wife disappears and he’s charged with the crime. All the while, he’s stalked by possessed locals and a massive smoke monster. It’s in the darkness that the game really shines. Alan Wake has been in development for about five years, and if all of that was spent perfecting the lighting engine, then it was time well spent. Alan’s primary weapon is his flashlight, which burns the forces of darkness away. Lots of games have tried to use flashlights to impose a sense of fear, and this one may be the most successful. The way Alan’s beam lights up unseen corners and incinerates the plasmic darkness off his foes is a special effect that’s truly special. READ MORE: Review: Alan Wake, by Mitch Krpata
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