And to see your Love Set Free…

“You will need the witch’s cabin key!” Now, I’m not normally much of a fan of diving deeply into the story of a game. You get caught up in what is going on in the background and you forget to have fun playing with different styles. Recently, though, I had the pleasure of test-driving Remedy Entertainment’s critically acclaimed Alan Wake, which is a step in a different direction from their Max Payne series. I have to say that the gameplay itself was interesting at first, but gradually become extremely monotonous: point the flashlight at the bad guys, pop ’em thrice with a revolver. On my original agenda, I planned on playing the game to see what kind of new gameplay style this so-called psychological thriller would bring the board. That was scratched rather early on as I had done everything possible in the game just by completing the tutorial mission. As I drug myself through the game in a half zombie like manner, I noticed a really shiny white object on a rock to my left. The ambiguous voice in the sky who was directing me told me that it was a page of the manuscript for a book that Alan had written. I read through the first page, intrigued by what it had to say, although finding it difficult to understand. I realized that it was telling me what had happened, was happening, and would happen in the near future through the game. I found more, and so I read each one of them as I picked them up, hoping to catch the description of the author in the manuscript which seemed to be missing from the game itself. Now, since I was a kid, I have loved reading; specifically fantasy and Sci-Fi . As this game boasted both concepts, I was instantly captivated by its story. I read more and more until finally, finding the pages became my only goal. I forgot the creepy shadow covered monsters and the dark landscape (which was always a damn forest…) and finally settled on completing the manuscript. After a while, I started listening the music between chapters. I found out that the soundtrack for the game was written by the band Poets of the Fall and I looked up their music. After the first chapter, the game plays out like a movie or TV show, even saying “Previously, on Alan Wake,” to transition into the next chapter. There is a part later in the game where you watch a faked, but realistic talk show conference that Alan Wake has in which he discusses his final book to a series. Now, maybe saying that this game is work of art is a stretch. It has horrible graphics and design, the gameplay is awful, and you feel like you are a freaking lumberjack half of the time, but the story behind the story and all of the clever media techniques that are used help it to be portrayed as something more than just a gimmick to make money. In all honesty, if they were to actually write a book for Alan Wake, I would probably read it; as it has a great story and portrays everything that I love in psychological stories.





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