Waking Nightmare

Trouble starts when the sun goes down.

For a pretty high-profile title, Alan Wake for the Xbox360 sure crept up on us like the shadowy menaces that inhabit it. This survival-horror/action title looks quite promising, with atmospheric visuals, brilliant use of light and shadows and some cool action and combat. The game puts you in the shoes of the titular Mr. Wake- a Stephen King-esque horror writer suffering mental block who retreats to a sleepy picturesque backwater town of Bright Falls (heh) to catch some RnR with his beautiful wife. As we can surely tell, this peaceful and idyllic setting soon gives way to an eerie shadow world where evil things flit about in the darkness, leaving Alan fumbling about to try and find what has happened to both him and his now-missing better half.

The schtick in AW is literally light vs darkness; light is your strongest weapon and defense against the enemies in the game, which look all the world to be materialized, solid, soul-possessing darkness. This gives to a lot of creative ways to dispatch various enemies, with your main weapon being a humble flashlight and ammo being a multitude of wonderful Energizer batteries (insert cool product placement here!).

The game has an episodic style of storytelling which makes you feel like you’re watching a creepy mini-series on cable, something used previously in Alone in the Dark. Also, it’s set in a Twin Peaks-esque setting, like Deadly Premonition. Coincidence? Or just shadowy destiny? Anyway, let me just say that I am intrigued at this game so far, with its The Dark Half-esque plot intriguing the wannabee horror writer/action hero in me. I just may pick this up when I see it in stores.

For a nice long look at the game, check out Giant Bomb which has put up a cool Quick Look at the game.


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