Alan Wake Special Two: The Writer
Developer: Remedy Entertainment | Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios | Release Date: 2010 | Genre: 3rd Person Action / Adventure | Website: Official Website
So you’ve played through Alan Wake and faced his inner demons in “The Signal” but clear answers were not actually forthcoming. “The Writer,” the second and final special episode for the game is less combat intensive, but it is still biting its tongue when it comes to spilling the beans.
If “The Signal” was a clash between fiction and reality, then “The Writer” sees reality whimpering in the corner as fiction struts around causing mayhem. Alan has come to grips with what he’s facing, but this doesn’t make his journey any easier. Wake’s world has been turned completely upside down and now looks like a jigsaw puzzle of the main game that has been incorrectly assembled. The unique level designs are definitely the star of this episode and at times resemble something out of a Silent Hill game. The game also has a chance to flex its physics muscles a bit more with houses being turned upside down while Alan is still inside it and huge tornadoes that have to be traversed.
Some unwelcome jumping sections rear their ugly heads and here the controls reveal their inadequacy for such tasks. Alan is no super Mario brother and while leaping across floating debris might look impressive, it usually ends with a one way trip down a bottomless chasm. The environments and floating words play an even bigger role than last time and there’s quite a few interesting ways in which they can be used to dispose of foes. Some new story sections allow us to delve deeper into Alan’s twisted psyche, but when it comes to answers the game still stubbornly refuses to reveal too much.
If you felt that the pacing and difficulty of “The Signal” was off, then this is a return to form. Alan still does what he’s been doing from the start, but he has a clear purpose now and a worthwhile goal. “The Signal” sometimes just felt like a shooting gallery with little reason or motivation and this has been rectified. Looking for collectables (this time it is Night Falls game boxes” still feel somewhat out of place but it is purely optional.
If you’ve played the previous titles you’ll want to see this one through to its conclusion. The haunted house ride look and feel of this installment is almost worth the price of admission alone. By its conclusion, I am no closer to knowing if Wake is really insane, a figment of another authors imagination or really dealing with the worst case of writer’s block ever but I’ll definitely be tuning in for season two to find out.
*Game originally reviewed in 2009. There is a “Collector’s Edition” version of the game that is now available which contains the game and both DLC episodes.*