Top Ten of 2010 – 6. Alan Wake

Top Ten of 2010 – 6. Alan Wake

The number 6 spot goes to a game that went through a 183 year development cycle, delayed multiple times, infamously cancelled on the PC before finally releasing as an Xbox 360 exclusive. It was well worth the wait.

I was hyped for Alan Wake from the moment I saw the very first teaser trailer released at E3 in 2005. A survival horror game by the makers of Max Payne? Hell yes. The most appealing aspect back then was the visuals – the environments looked truly stunning, and even 5 years later those early in-engine screenshots of the forests and mountains look fantastic. I even had one set as my wallpaper, and a fellow work colleague who passed by onetime said “ooh that’s a nice photo, where is that?”.

After years of waiting with very little information about the game itself, and getting over the fact that I’d never get to see a PC version, the game was released in 2010 and totally lived up to my own mammoth amount of hype. Nothing could have prepared me for the intense, moody atmosphere, and it was easily one of the scariest games of the year. Wandering through the dark forests armed only with a flashlight proved to be one of the most terrifying experiences in recent gaming memory, and the superb mix of cheesy dialogue with intense action made it a brilliant addition to the small Finnish developers library. Two bits of decent DLC later, and Alan’s story still isn’t quite told, so here’s to hoping the sequel takes a lot less than 5 years to come out.

Somehow, I missed all the hype over Alan Wake. Completely missed it. As in, I never even knew it was coming out until about 1 month beforehand. What luck! By having no idea about Alan Wake even in the slightest, I never had to endure any of the painful years of delays and teasing over the release over this game. Countless times have I had to wait too long for a game I really wanted, and thanks to my ignorance, missing Alan Wake entirely meant I was pleasantly surprised, and rather quickly too.

This survival horror game was very, very impressive in my opinion. I got from start to finish without a single complaint, fully engrossed in the storyline and story telling of the whole thing. The characters were great, the structure of the chapters was great; it had a whole novel-like feel to it, like you were taking part in a book that was being read. A fortunate outcome, considering the concept of the game was about Alan Wake, a writer, pretty much being physically sucked into his own story. There were plenty of frights to be had, and more than enough moments when I had practically no ammo and ran for my life from a mob of shadowy monsters hell-bent on chopping me into little pieces with an axe, a chainsaw, or an assortment of other sharp objects.

I loved Alan Wake, so much so that I found it essential to get the two DLC episodes that were released in later months, ‘The Signal’ and ‘The Writer’, both of which continued the story properly, rather than being a simple or daft addition to the game that nobody needed. If you liked Alan Wake, then the DLC is absolutely essential, the second and final of the two being an actual ending to the game, and leaving an incredibly suggestive clue as to the possibility of a sequel.

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