Reader Review: Alan Wake

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Zorine does, as she drinks all the coffee in town.

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 Zorine Te. If you’ve played Alan Wake, or just want to ask Zorine more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Alan Wake (360)

Alan Wake is a thriller game – a nice blend of adventure, action and a load of suspense. The mystery is enough to keep you deeply absorbed…


Environments: Let’s be honest here – the 360 console was released 5 years ago. So don’t go expecting Final Fantasy style graphics here. Even so, the level design is beautifully detailed and the environments left me oddly yearning for a countryside holiday. Character design is realistic and the distinction between what’s safe and what’s not is made obvious through well made design choices.

Soundtrack: The voice acting is great. Alan’s broodiness was well-represented. The principle cast was also fantastic. It’s a shame it was a little spoiled by a lack of sync, which I will get to below.

Innovative: The effort to be different was something that really shone through in this game. Unusually enough, the storyline follows some characteristics which would be conventional in a novel, but that’s just what makes it so pleasing. I really, really wanted to play through the entire game in one sitting when I started – the story had pulled me in that deep, and had been that suspenseful.

Storyline: The strongest point of the game is its narrative-driven storyline. It is deep, and I have heard others refer to it as TV-pilot worthy. High quality story telling doesn’t come with a lot of games, so I was very happy to enjoy this whilst it lasted.


Lack of Lip-Syncing: It’s not a serious issue but it’s a pet hate of mine when a serious moment is ruined by meaningless lip-flapping. I was busy trying to stifle a few laughs when I really should have been gripping the controller with sweat-filled palms.

Punishing: I am an OCG (obsessive compulsive gamer), so collecting the hundreds of items to shed light on every angle of the mystery to the story was frustrating, to say the least. Missing manuscripts is particularly punishing as you often can’t backtrack.

Clunky: This has probably got more to do with my own personal preferences then any choices made by the developers, but there were moments in the heat of battle when the camera got awkward.

With detailed level design, in-depth characters, innovative gameplay and a slew of cultural references to other writers, Alan Wake was definitely a treat. Piecing together the story is half the fun.

Reviewed by: Zorine Te

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.


    what a awesome day starcraft 2 and tonight alan wake expansion

    ummm i had a huge problem with the first statement... "Let’s be honest here – the 360 console was released 5 years ago. So don’t go expecting Final Fantasy style graphics here" fantasy was on Xbox 360.. so i fail to see how your point is valid..

    Other than that not a bad review... keep it up :)


      lawl woops - I probably should have mentioned FFXIII on the PS3 there.. ahems.. how embarassing..

      Thank you.

        lol i do kind of get your point - but they could have easily made the game look like that, but it would have been besides the entire point.. it's meant to be dark and gritty to add to that atmosphere.. From what i've seen the graphics are on par, but just a lot more.. atmospheric.
        We have to remember FF games have A LOT of polish over them, so they do tend to appear a lot sharper.

        Plus the PS3 has very similar graphical capabilities to the 360, if i'm not mistaken and in some cases PS3 versions (or ports) have been a little lower res.. i think it was Modern Warfare 2 which cause one of the bigger outcries, correct me if i'm wrong guys.. but all this considered makes the point kind of mute again..

        Sorry to ramble, i'm not trying to have a go - it just seems like a really odd comparison to me.. thanks for the reply though ":)

    Finished it with all the items on Nightmare difficulty just last night. Despite its sometimes "clunky" controls, the combination of tense gameplay and spooky environment created a gripping atmosphere that I enjoyed thoroughly - even on my third playthrough! Can't wait to get home to play The Signal in a couple of hours!

    I find the Final Fantasy comment a bit confusing... but other than that, good review :) I especially like the comment about all the fecking collectibles... I'm playing through it again for the second time now on nightmare, using a Youtube vid to get everything. It's really annoying, and while they do shed more light on the story, the immersion does take a hit when you're just searching for the next thermos/manuscript page...

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