One of the most atmospheric games of 2010, Alan Wake has now got its second piece of downloadable content. Following on the footsteps of The Signal, Wake now finds himself again in to the terrors lying between reality and his own mind. The game begins with Alan Wake waking up to a ghost like image of Dr. Emil Hartman who then all of a sudden transforms in to his buddy Barry Wheeler. Your first objective is obviously to get back to him. Now here we are introduced to some of the new game play elements in the game. In order to get something you need, for example say a torch battery, Alan would have to search for them in the corners or dust bins in the original game. But that no longer applies in the The Writer. Since Wake is playing his own dream, his own written story, he can now see what items are present in the surroundings. These are represented by written sketches suspended in the air. For example “Tools”, now when the player sees that, all it has to do is focus your torch on to it and it will eventually burst up throwing all the items you need. But if you go too close to those written sketches and make contact, your life will get depleted since it’s still under the control of the dark forces, so in order to break that Alan has to use his light. This feature once again fits in well with the theme of the game.
So what is more? Alan Wake can now use the environments to his advantage. In one of the later sections of the game, Wake has to reach a certain point (I won’t reveal what that point is, since I don’t want to spoil it for you). That certain point emits a large source of light, but it gets blocked by the surrounding environment. That area is infested by “hordes and hordes of enemies”; now the player has to be really smart in using the environment to blow things up using that source. This was the hardest part of the game and there is no way the player can move ahead without using the torch, the light source and the environment.
One of the most common complains in the original game was that it was linear with many environments repeating a number of times. This has now been taken care off due to some excellent level design and puzzle elements in between. Using your touch you have to make your own path. Again here text sketches will tell you what to do, so let’s say one rotating sketch says “bridge”, the player will focus the torch and DANG!, the bridge will be formed. There are a few puzzles also, especially one crazy scene where the player will be in a rotating house and will have to find a way out. Such excellent design choices were missing in Alan Wake and I am glad Remedy have implemented in a manner which complements the horror theme.
Alan Wake: The Writer will clock at about one to two hours, if you care to unlock all the new achievements and find the hidden items, you might even reach 3 hours. I clocked in at about 2-3 hours at my first play through. It might be a little short considering it sells at 560 Microsoft Points which comes to about $7, but it’s worth it and does a fantastic job of wrapping up the mini-story arc. The Writer is a great piece of downloadable content that should not be missed by any Alan Wake or a horror genre fan.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Breathtaking visuals, excellent sound effects, constructing you way forward using your touch is unique game play element, excellent voice acting, brilliant level design
A bit short for its price