Games Special

Alan Wake | 10 years of the game in the best Stephen King style


First released on Xbox 360 in May 2010, Alan Wake recently had his 10th anniversary. Despite continuing for years, the critically acclaimed psychological thriller from Remedy it still holds up well and is still as captivating and tense today as it was a decade ago.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Alan Wake revolves around the bestselling author of the same name, as he travels to the picturesque city of Bright Falls, Washington, with his wife Alice, in hopes that the trip will remove the blockage. writer. Unfortunately for the couple, Alice is mysteriously taken out of her hut by the lake that night and Alan, after jumping into the lake to save her, wakes up a week later in a car accident.

With shadowy figures chasing the small town at night and handwritten pages emerging from a book he doesn't remember writing whose content is coming true, it's up to Alan to get to the bottom of this mystery and save his wife from the darkness that claimed her. Named for several awards and home to a dedicated fan base that still longs for a sequel, here are 10 moments worth revisiting.

Beware of spoilers throughout the game.

The nightmare

Usually, sections of the tutorial do not tend to be particularly attractive. Teaching players the basic game mechanics before playing them directly, these training sections are as short and sweet as possible. That is, you think it is difficult, until the game really starts.

Alan Wake, on the other hand, uses his tutorials phase to offer players a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come in a condensed encounter with a hitchhiker that is considered the author's nightmare. Desperately running to reach a lighthouse, believing it to be the only safe place left, Alan accidentally hits a hitchhiker in a hurry, killing him instantly – or so he thought. With his car destroyed in the collision, he must continue to his destination on foot. But after taking a few steps, the hitchhiker reappears wielding an axe.

While this phase teaches the basics of dodging, healing and fighting, it is done by throwing players right into the deep end, while they frantically flee the evil presence at their heels, while sewing the first seeds of the mystery of what should happen. Grabbing players from the start, things would only get better from now on.

Welcome to Bright Falls

In Max Payne The Quantum Break and Control, Remedy is a studio that knows how to create really impressive-looking games, and Alan Wake was no exception. Despite his age, Alan Wake's visual fidelity holds up remarkably well by today's standards.

Consequently, the Bright Falls woods are as atmospheric and breathtaking to witness in their visual splendor as ever, and players can get the first proper look at it during a comprehensive cinematic sequence when Wake arrives at “Twin Peaks”.

Complete with an equally impressive score from Petri Alanko, our introduction to the small town is an unforgettable moment as the camera passes under a bridge with a “Welcome to Bright Falls” sign before panning to show the city and the woods around where you.

This short sequence not only shows Remedy's high production values, but also perfectly captures Sam Lake and the artistic vision of his studio, which has brought the cinematic capabilities of each of his titles to a breathtaking effect. Alan Wake is certainly a beautiful game, and this stage is just an example.

Barbara Jagger

Running through the dark forest with a flashlight as your greatest means of defense, many of the scares you will face during your time with Alan Wake are the result of atmospheric moments of play in which enemies will surprise you from the darkness, axes will quickly pass through your head when you feel safe, and desperately try to start a generator while Taken runs towards you.

As difficult as these moments are, the game also hosts a series of jump scares, which periodically appear on the screen in the form of sinister images, and it is possible to complete the game without seeing everyone. One of those sighs comes at the very beginning when you set foot in the idyllic cabin. If you decide to take a look before you meet Alice up there, you can find the studio. Upon entering the room, Alan talks about feeling the presence of the nightmare he had on the ferry before Barbara Jagger's veiled face (the strange woman who gave him the cabin key) momentarily appears on the screen. It may only last a brief moment, but its impact will be felt much later.

Alice is caught

The crucial moment of the game that acts as a catalyst for the mystery and emotions to come, is when Alice is taken over by the Dark Presence. After the couple argues when Alan finds out that Alice intends to use this trip to get professional help for writer's block, Alan listens to Alice, who has a serious fear of the dark, who screams when the lights in the cabin go out. Taking control of Alan, the players rush into the dark building to come to Alice's aid. Upon discovering the back door open and the railing overlooking the broken lake, Alan dives into the water to save his wife. Cut to a week later.

It's not until much later in the game that players discover the events of what happened to Alan after he jumped into the lake – that he was greeted by Jaggar and lured back to the cabin to write his manuscript. Despite this new discovery about the fateful night, however, exactly how Alice was dragged into the dark depths is still unknown. And it is precisely this ambiguity that makes these events so sinister, keeping the mystery alive for so long. Maybe one day we will have more answers.


After waking up from the car accident after that fateful night in the cabin, Alan does not spend much time facing the dark horrors his manuscript has awakened. With no recollection of how he ended up in the accident, Alan's only course of action is to head to the distant lights of a gas station for help. Of course, being a horror story, this walk through the forest is far from peaceful.

Chasing you for the first part of your journey is Carl Stucky, the owner of the gas station – or at least what's left of him after being corrupted by darkness. Screaming mindlessly and darting around in the shadows outside your vision, Stucky is never far behind as you work in the deforested field that separates you from the lights that signal your safety.

Couple Stucky's palpable presence with an ominous atmosphere amplified by a swirling mist that coats the surrounding area in living darkness, and you are left with a sequence delightfully tense that she enjoys the danger of swinging in front of her, before finally dispatching Stucky.

The Labyrinth

From Wake's opening narration, which quotes Stephen KingAlan Wake is a game that happily uses its influences up its sleeve for fans to enjoy while they are still their own entity. As well as the many references to Stephen King, especially numerous tributes to the book of The illuminated (The Shining), the game also shares a not-so-subtle resemblance to the mind-boggling series of David Lynch, Twin Peaks, with its stunning scenery in the Midwest and the city of eccentric characters. There are even a handful of episodes of Night springs to find throughout the game that are a clear homage to Twilight Zone.

However, without a doubt, the best horror tribute occurs during the initial phase of Episode Four, where you must navigate the labyrinth of a scenic hospital (which was previously a hotel). But instead of running away from a killer Jack in the snow (not the actor, but the character in the book), you will avoid running into the dark.

Hear the rustle in the hedges that surround you, the dark forces that hunt you and that are never far away and can surprise you at any corner. Although this maze isn't as big as the Overlook's, it's still easy to lose your way in the dark. And here’s the tip of a great book to check out in addition to its sequence, Doctor Sleep.

"The Anderson Farm"

Despite all the psychological horror and dark mysteries that lie at the heart of this game, Remedy never forgets – as in all their titles – to have a little fun along the way too. Be the witty dialogue between Wake and his relief agent comic comic Barry, a cameo Sam Lake showing off his trademark face Max Payne or a peculiar pair of former rock musicians, there are many lighter moments in Bright Falls that make it worthwhile to revisit this city.

No time, however, is quite as enjoyable as in episode four, where players get a chance to fend off Taken's waves on a giant stage complete with pyrotechnics to the soundtrack to “Children Of The Elder God” from the fictional band Old Gods Of Asgard (aka Poets Of The Fall), who also participated in the recent Remedy title, Control.

Giving the player all the tools necessary to lessen the work of a small Taken army, this phase is a much-needed break, where players can forget the tension for a moment and appreciate what Remedy does best.

Back to the cabin

After discovering the mystery about what happened in the cabin and arriving at the Well-Lit Room to acquire the means to interrupt the Presence of Darkness, your next task is to return to the Cauldron Lake to enact your plan.

Obviously, a living manifestation of darkness will not allow you to walk into the lair without warning. He will play everything you have to stop you from reaching your goal, which makes the entire final episode a long and exciting chase sequence that requires you to use all the tricks you’ve learned to get out alive.

Fortunately, though, Remedy offers everything you need to have a chance to fight the Taken attack that stands in your way. With many firearms, flashbangs and spotlights to give you an edge, the hours you spent working until the final showdown made you an expert in get away of Taken. However, one misstep is still enough to see you quickly overwhelmed. If you want an even more intense experience, try to reach the end without firing a single shot.

Furnace lighting

While fans still don’t have the sequel they’ve been waiting for, the independent game American Nightmare and two DLC episodes for the main game nevertheless built on Alan’s story in interesting ways, in addition to giving us many more unforgettable moments throughout the way.

One of the most striking sequences occurred in the first expansion (The Signal), in which Alan, still trapped in Dark Place, must traverse a fragmented Bright Falls to reach a signal transmitted by Thomas Zane (a former Dark Place victim who guided him in the main game). Along the way, you'll need to navigate a spooky, enemy-infested basement, but thanks to a new mechanic where focusing your flashlight on words makes them a reality, you can use ovens to your advantage. By focusing your light on the word “explosion” in front of many ovens in the room, you can make your job spectacularly easier.

Given how many ovens are nearby and how little is needed to start them, they can be just as dangerous for you as for the Taken.

“It's not a lake. It's An Ocean”

While the final showdown with the Presence of Darkness is quite anticlimactic compared to the game's gauntlet to face it – just fire off a handful of tornado explosions and presto – the ending itself is worth more than the price of admission.

With the Presence of Darkness defeated and Alan's plan materializing by pulling Alice out of his grip, the ending, however, throws many more questions at players through a series of strange revelations. Not only were we told earlier that Alan has a doppelganger called Mr. Scratch (which is more prominent in the spin-off title) American Nightmare), we also see in a revealing scene that the Presence of Darkness is still very much alive, but taking on a new appearance.

However, to get Alice out, Wake explains, there must be a sacrifice. In his case, he is the one trapped in the darkness of the cabin, with his last line “it's not a lake, it's an ocean”, suggesting that the story is much deeper than we could imagine. While some might hate the ambiguity, it gives players a lot to think about.



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