Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dealing with backlog: Alan Wake's American Nightmare

As you might remember I wasn't overly fond of the original Alan Wake after I had finished it. But I had bought this semi-sequel along with the original game and might as well play it.

This game defines linear. It could've ended after two hours. Could've, and maybe should've.

What we know from the original game is that Alan Wake became trapped with the Darkness in another dimension. What we know from this game is that two years have passed and Alan Wake somehow manages to write himself into a semi-reality based on one of his first every works - a script for Night Springs. Alan Wake is trying to defeat the Darkness which has now taken the shape of him, but a maniacal, psychopathic version of him (I much preferred the psycho old lady).

The player then spends the next 8-10 hours going round in a loop doing the exact same things over and over with only slight variations because the characters in the game are semi-remembering that this has happened before and help Wake along. Handy.

Step 1: Talk to the girl and crash the satellite.
Step 2: Talk to the girl and find the keys to the observatory in a motel room.
Step 3: Go to the observatory, talk to the scientist, fix the broken camera.
Step 4: Go to the drive-in and restore power.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat.

I don't remember if it was three or four circles in the loop, but by the time I was halfway through the second circle and realised that "This is going to happen again, isn't it?" I felt like I was thoroughly done with the game. I still completed it, but it was more compulsion to have it completed than entertainment. If the game wasn't so short I would've ditched it.

And what did I get at the end? Nothing. Sure I defeat the Darkness (again) but Wake also tells the player that it isn't permanently defeated and the player is led to believe that Wake is still trapped in the other dimension with the Darkness... So basically all this for nothing. Yay.

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