Reader Review: Alan Wake

Reader Review: Alan Wake

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Matthew does, as he dresses himself in Christmas tree lights.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Matthew Welch. If you’ve played Alan Wake, or just want to ask Matthew more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Alan Wake (360).

After many years in development, Alan Wake has finally seen the light of day and has woken up. The game revolves around the simple principles of light and dark. You play as the writer Alan Wake and it is your job to find your missing wife Alice, while fighting off dark monsters with both conventional weapons such as a revolver and unconventional such as flare guns and flash lights.


The Story: This is the main aspect of the game that you are going to stay for. The game is broken up into episodic structure, like a TV series, which I personally enjoyed. Though it does take a while for the story to find its feet, but once it does you won’t be able to put it down and you will want to play to the end and beyond when the two planned DLC packs get released. Be warned though: the ending does leave the game on a cliffhanger, so if you are one of those people that like every single question answered by the end of a game, you might be somewhat disappointed.

An Idyllic Small Town: You are really sold on Bright Falls from the very get go, a town that seems to be too perfect, a place that is hiding something. While Alan Wake may not be the prettiest looking game out there on the Xbox 360, Bright Falls is a very picturesque town.

The Taken: They make formidable foes on the nightmare difficulty setting, especially when they are coupled with environmental influences such as a bulldozer. Surprisingly, even though they make up most of the enemies you will encounter throughout the game, little exploration is done as to what/who they are.


Audio Issues: After reading may complaints about issues of lip-synching, I have to agree that it is pretty terrible, especially in the “Night Falls” TV shows. While most the cinematic cut-scenes are ok, you sometimes find the audio seems to be one or two steps behind the action. It is not enough of an issue to say to avoid the game, but it is something that just takes you out of the experience.

Length: Coming in at about 10-15 hours for those that don’t go and explore much, and about 25 hours for completionists, Alan Wake may seem a bit on the low side of content for most people. However, people need to look past the length and focus on the quality of the title; while it may be short, every hour was thoroughly enjoyed.

While Alan Wake has its shortcomings and may not be in the running for game of the year, it is still a great game and has great potential for an absolutely stellar sequel once DLC for the first game has been included. For 360 owners that love a good story beyond the mindless shooting of an FPS, you will love your journey into Bright Falls.

Reviewed by: Matthew Welch

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


  • 10-15 hours is on the low side for non-completionists? I thought anything over 10 hours for a straight-through run was considered lengthy these days =\

  • For a game with no multiplayer and little replay value, 10-15 hours does come up a bit short, but Mathew is right, the depth of the story makes this a must-play game.
    Although whether you buy it or not depends on if you’re interested in the as-yet unreleased extra episodes.
    While I hope they continue the story, the ending does seem pretty final.

  • Interesting review…

    Although I can’t see the appeal in having to wait for the DLC to be released around July to finish the story? (And so long as you bought the game new…)

  • When you think about the game, it is only a single player experience that is only 10-15 hours which does seem to be quite short for some people.

  • Early contender for my FGOTY (Favourite…)

    I everloving loved Alan Wake. Loved it enough to keep SSFIV and RDR out of the 360 for the first time in months. My TE SSFIV stick actually accumulated dust on it O.O

    Good review, too 🙂

  • Oddly enough.. i didn’t mind the lip-sync for the “Nigh Falls” shows. It actually adds to the kitsch charm of watching a mini “Twilight Zone” inside a bigger Twilight Zone’ish game xD

  • I’m curious that you think the ending is a cliffhanger. I think it’s a great ending – leaving you guessing, but I don’t think it needs more.

    I’m actually concerned about what the DLC will add to/subtract from the end of the story.

Log in to comment on this story!