Imagine if David Lynch, of Twin Peaks fame, and Shinji Mikami, creator of Resident Evil, stumbled on each other in a nameless bar, and as the night drew on, the hours and rice liquor stacking up, they'd probably come up with something a lot like Alan Wake. If you're interest-meter is suitably piqued, then why not pick up Alan Wake from Base.com, who've cut the price to just £14.95.
You can read my impressions on Mr Wake's adventure here. I was particularly excited for Alan Wake, so excited in fact that I rushed to my local Game store, expecting a writhing queue stretching out of the shop to the local Morrisons. Instead, I found the store relatively empty, but for an old woman holding a copy of Bayonetta to her thick-rimmed glasses, an expression of mild shock on her face. Behind the counter was a bored-looking man of indeterminable age, who hardly spoke other than to confirm whether I had a Game card. With the game tucked into my coat-pocket, I hurried home, expecting a narrative tour de force, with shades of Twin Peaks, Lost and a little dollop of Silent Hill.
Instead, Remedy seem to be making new strides in in-game narration. Alan Wake, the writer, not the game, just doesn't shut up. He comments on absolutely everything, like a retired voice-actor for commercials, mumbling softly about detergent powder. At one point in the game, Mr Wake deciphers a riddle of devilish complexity. "The door was locked. I need a key to open it." Mind-blowing stuff.
On a serious note, if you can stomach Wake's monologues, and I'm sure all you fan-fic writers will love it, then there's something to be found in Alan Wake. Remedy might have fallen short on their narrative ambitions, but they've absolutely nailed the look and atmosphere of a Twin Peaks-style mountain resort, its pine-wood forests and jagged mountains hiding a dark menace.
Alan Wake's ugly side rears its deformed head around the middle-point of the game. Essentially, the game was only one type of enemy, if like me you don't consider floating farm equipment and an ambitious tractor 'enemies'. The 'Taken', possessed townsfolk sheathed in a protective cloak of darkness, emerge from the shadows and undergrowth at such regular intervals it becomes a chore to dispatch them.