Let's Discuss Alan Wake Episode One - Now

Illustration for article titled Let's Discuss Alan Wake Episode One - Now

It is time for the latest installment of Kotaku's Game Club. We are discussing Alan Wake's first episode: Nightmare.

Let's do this in the comments.

Some discussion topics to get you warmed up:

1) Were you satisfied with this episode as an episode? Would you have bought it on its own if the next episode wasn't coming out for, say, a month? And, if so, for how much?


2) In this first episode we see that Alan Wake is a frustrated guy, an author with problems who bristles at the small-town yokels who talk to him and who argues with his wife. He's also a somewhat slow runner and a good shot. Did the strengths and faults with the character, in terms of personality and gameplay, make you like him? Dislike him? What do you think of this guy as a game hero so far?

Those questions are just to get you started. Don't spend too much time answering them... jump into the fray and talk to each other. I'll be hanging out here too for the next hour.

Note: Our Alan Wake Game Club will return tomorrow, Thursday, at the same hour, 3pm Kotaku Time (5pm ET/ 1pm PT) with a discussion of the game's second episode.

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Since it's been exactly 7 days since the last post in this thread, I'm guessing NO ONE will read my comments, but I really wanted to take part in the gamer club this time and I only finished chapter 1 a few minutes ago. So I'm going to take part in this club, even though the club has dispersed. Even if I am only typing to myself.


- The atmosphere was great. I could practically smell the spruce trees.

- Lighting FX were awesome.

- The radio shows were entertaining and provided decent comedy relief (loved the one where the guy who promised not to mention Alan goes on to mention Alan).

- The story. While definitely not classic, it's captivating enough. I'm really shocked at how close it is to Deadly Premonition. Who stole from who here? Most likely, both just stole from Twin Peaks.


- The PRODUCT PLACEMENTS! Seriously, am I the only one who noticed this? Every single time you get a battery you're seeing an Energizer Lithium commercial. Then there was the Microsoft Sync ad in the car outside the diner. There was a third, but I have forgotten it, despite finishing the chapter less than 5 minutes ago. It was ridiculous.

- Boring gameplay. You run forward toward a destination that is annoyingly spelled out in the corner of the screen the entire time you play with no way to disable it. On the way you see some cut-and-paste monster things that all look identical. You shoot them and get to the destination and watch a cutscene.

- Constant HUD. Like I said above, you can't turn off the little circle map thing OR the mission you need to accomplish. I have no idea why they did it this way. I've never played a game where, in big white letters, the place I'm heading to is spelled out the entire time. If I really forget, I could simply press pause and read the objective.

- Screen-tear! Quite a bit of it. These graphics aren't even close to God of War III level, so why the tear? I know the 360 can handle these graphics with V-sync enabled. So please, enable V-sync!

- Lip-syncing issues. The lip-sync is bad to the point where this feels like a budget game. Deadly Premonition had better lip-syncing and it was $19.99 at launch (and, comparing the first 45 minutes of each game, I strongly suspect Deadly Premonition is the superior title).

- The thermoses are annoying. They take you out of the game, because, as a gamer, it's hard not to collect them when you know it will lead to an achievement. I think Remedy should have found a better achievement system that was story-based.

Overall, I wasn't too thrilled with the first chapter. I'm already feeling that the $29.99 I spent on the game ($49.99 - $20.00 promotional credit) was too much. If the game's already repetitive in the first chapter, how boring is it going to get by the sixth?

To answer Stephen's questions:

1. I don't believe in paying for DLC as I like people to keep their jobs and stores in my community to stay in business, but if I did I would say a fair price for this 45 minute chapter (I'm sure it's even shorter on lesser difficulties — I'm playing on hard) would be $3.00. Even if was available on a disc, episode by episode, I would not have bought this if the next chapter wasn't coming out for a month. The story was slightly compelling, but the gameplay was generic. Also, shouldn't the episode be free? It was clearly brought to us by Energizer.

2. I thought Alan Wake was kind of a dick. His comment about being irritated by fans made me want to yell, "Cry me a river!" But I don't mind the main character in a game being unlikeable. One of my favorite franchises is God of War, for God (of War)'s sake!

My rating of Chapter 1: 5 out of 10.

Disappointing, as I've been anticipating this game like crazy for a long, long time now (was it E3 '07?).