Alan Wake 13: Is Your Refrigerator Flying?

By Shamus
on May 15, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

142 comments


Link (YouTube)

“As I approached the Spoiler Warning I saw it was covered in dark shadows. The shadows blocked out the light so I could only see darkness and shadows. It was terrifying. After gathering up some batteries and watching half an hour of crappy television, I approached the darkness and drew near to the edges of the dark shadows that blocked out the light, making things darker and spookier.”

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  1. TMTVL says:

    “[…]I approached the darkness and draw near to[…]”

    Shouldn’t that be “drew”?

    Grammar nazi, enshrouded in shadows. Dark shadows of darkness.

  2. JPH says:

    But… but Diablo 3 :[

    • Dragomok says:

      Error 37. Someone would brought it up eventually.

      You’re welcome.

      • Dasick says:

        What amazes me most is that there are people, right in the article comments, defending Blizzard and their descision to make the game online only.

        “C’mon guys, this isn’t Ubisoft we’re dealing with here its Blizzard, it is highly unlikely for any further connection issues to appear after this issue has been dealt with.

        Multiplayer may get a little laggy, but single-player should remain unaffected regardless.”

        I don’t even… what… how?!

        • Sagretti says:

          Blizzard seems to always underestimate the demand for their products. I still don’t think always online was pure maliciousness on Blizzard’s part, like some claim, just a bad design choice that is now biting them in the hindquarters. My hope is that this impossible level of server demands will get them to reevaluate and work on implementing some form of offline single player. Not that it’s a huge deal for me either way, I got the game for free so I don’t have as much of a right to judge as those who shelled out 60 bucks.

        • Neil D says:

          I don’t pirate video games, so their online mechanism did nothing to deter me from pirating Diablo III. It did, on the other hand, convince me not to buy or play the game at all. Bravo, Blizzard.

          • evileeyore says:

            I do pirate games so their decision to make Diablo 3 online only didn’t effect that decision at all.

            It does mean if I pirate D3, I won’t ever be buying it, unlike every other game I’ve liked… including many that were only offered via Steam (STEAM! HOW I LOATHE THEE!)

            • Retsam says:

              Wait a self-admitted pirate complaining about a digital distribution system?

            • Sumanai says:

              Parts of the Diablo 3 code (enemy spawn data, projectile calculations, loot drop data etc.) are on the server side. Unless they’ve changed the system so that being online is in no way a guarantee that people won’t be cheating items for themselves in some manner. I’d say it’s a bit trickier to get a properly cracked version of the game.

  3. McNutcase says:

    Judging by the credits, this game is certainly going to get more entertaining to watch.

    Also: five hosts, minimal crosstalk, good sound quality. Well done!

  4. Dave B says:

    “What if if was being written by a little kid? And the little kid would come up with crazy, crazy stuff?”

    If you haven’t read Axe Cop yet, you really need to. Actually, I will now imagine that all the manuscript pages are actually Axe Cop transcripts, and my game experience will be vastly improved.

  5. ps238principal says:

    So if Darth Pleasance can’t just absorb Alan because it needs his mind un-taken, should someone add him to the TV Tropes page Humans Are Special?

    • Not necessarily. The Dark Presence is just fine with taking over people with no creative ability. They are useless beyond mere cannon fodder. It just needs Alan back in particular because he’s the only writer in the area, thus he can make the Presence’s specific version of events come to life.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well,sort of.It tried taking over other creative people,and all of them managed to beat it.Alan wake was more successful though,because he was continuing what zane started.Though the question is,did zane wrote alan into the story,or did alan write zane into the story?

      • ps238principal says:

        The trope is kind of misleading for my purposes. It was cited for Felicia Day’s character in a recent episode of “Supernatural,” where the big-bads (called “Leviathan”) can copy humans before devouring them, absorbing their memories and likenesses. It’s revealed that her character, a computer whiz, has some kind of “spark” that creative-types have that can’t be duplicated through absorption of memories.

        So if there’s a “some humans are special” trope, that’d be more fitting.

        In conclusion, I love coffee.

      • Paul Spooner says:

        This is all about the power and authority of the written word. Perhaps “Canon fodder” would be more appropriate. Hehe.

  6. Robert Maguire says:

    After hearing Shamus’s impression of the slow-mo sound at 2:11, I will never be able to take bullet time seriously again.

  7. Thomas says:

    Reading an interview I’m pretty sure they have the slow-mo because they were trying to create a very stylistic game. There’s just too many enemies for it to feel like that.

    Whilst I broadly agree with what you say about story bits, I felt the manuscripts were done right, they’re carefully dripped to get you asking questions, almost always relevant to something that just happened or didn’t happen, and they tend to be a lot of details rather than stuff actually happening. It makes exploration really worth while.

    Perhaps the problem is that Josh is making finding them look too easy. I think they needed to put the more essential ones in plain sight and the fluff round the edges, but it seems like the ones which are easy to find tend to be a bit vacuous

  8. Marlowe says:

    Forget Rutskarn: send Spike. He is invincible!

  9. I think I would actually be fine with the way the manuscripts worked ordinarily. They give rewards for exploring the area, but aren’t necessary for those who don’t want them.

    However, that combined with the incessant random encounters is just stupid. They want the player to explore, yet actively discourage them from doing so at the same time with the waves of Taken thrown at them.

    Also, I agree that locking some pages behind Nightmare mode is also pretty dumb. What if I want to get all the manuscripts, but I’m not skilled enough to go through the game on Nightmare mode? What if I liked the story, but found the gameplay frustrating? If you absolutely must lock pages like that (Which they don’t. Those pages have no major spoilers.), at least just make it a second playthrough, not on a specific difficulty only unlocked after the first playthrough.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      One of them actually has spoilers.The first one found in the nightmare mode.But the rest are just fluff.

      • Amnestic says:

        That just means you lock it behind a second playthrough. Don’t lock it behind Nightmare mode. Have Nightmare unlocked from the start for those who enjoy the challenge and then they could choose to replay it a second time on whatever difficulty to grab the last few manuscript pages.

        Yay! Whole gang back together again, even if Ruts apparently forgot how to say piranhas because of it (though he does say Nevada right, so he has that going for him).

        Also If I must tear you apart Chris, I will.

        • Dasick says:

          Pee-RA-Ni-Yah. Of all the people here, he’s the closest one to pronouncing it sort of correctly. :P

          Also, if you have to lock content behind a second playthrough, you should rethink that. I usually go for 100% completion on my first playthrough. The reason is that I am completionist, but there are way too many games I want to play in my to-play queue.

          Naturally, locking content away liek this is really aggravating to me.

          • Amnestic says:

            I hate locking content behind a second playthrough too, but if it comes down to locking it behind a difficulty which itself is locked behind a second playthrough or locking it behind a simple second playthrough, then I’d much rather the latter be the case.

            If what has been mentioned is true, then only one manuscript page at the very start of Nightmare is really spoilerific. Removing that (or changing it, or moving it elsewhere) would fix every problem so…yeah, I totally agree, being able to get 100% in one playthrough is awesome, but it’d require a little tweaking. Probably worth it in my (our?) eyes though ;p

        • Thomas says:

          I feel like there should be some rewards for doing things on higher difficulty, it’s pushing the bar, taking the harder path, achieving something etc and whilst the big achievement is ‘I beat nightmare mode’ it’s nice that the game acknowledges that. Fluffy manuscripts are the perfect kind of reward.

          Maybe the problem is that manuscript collecting should be an activity for explorers, who aren’t necessarily power gamers. The reward should have been something new

          • I disagree. I don’t think there really should any incentive to do higher difficulty (besides maybe achievements… maybe). The difficulty slider is there to help the player customize their experience to their level of skill. Locking this behind difficulties will do nothing but frustrate people who aren’t as skilled but want to 100% the game.

            • Thomas says:

              Nah because you are doing something cool. The main experience should hinge on it, but it’s nice to acknowledge that the player is putting in a lot extra time and effort and frustration in. Easy to difficult is about adjusting game challenge and even there you’ve got the thing where people might set it easier on them selves so they don’t die and weaken the overall experience.

              But nightmare difficulty is always above and beyond just playing the game and deserves a reward. Costumes or unlocks or something like that. Yeah sure some people are never going to make it, I can’t think of a game where I’ve ever been able to play hardest difficulty, but even I’d like to acknowledge the skills of the people who can

              • Sumanai says:

                If someone is not capable of that level of play they’re justifiably cut off from pieces of the story? No.

                Difficulty levels should never hide pieces of the fluff or areas* for the game. Costume unlocks? Fine. Achievements? Fine, that’s pretty much what they’re for. Stuff that can affect the perception of the game or its story? No.

                * Exception: if the point of the area is to be super-challenging and otherwise doesn’t affect the rest of the game, or the point of the game is to be challenging, such as is the case with Dustforce.

                Otherwise, what’s the point of the difficulty levels? You might as well have a colorblind mode which blocks of parts of the game or story.

    • Thomas says:

      EDIT: Moved this comment down to a different Newdarkcloud comment, where it can live in peace in an environment that really understands it, among it’s peers

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      Your comment is peppered with self-entitlement that no gamer should be caught dead with.

      “They want the player to explore, yet actively discourage them from doing so at the same time with the waves of Taken thrown at them.”

      Yes. If you want the achievements, you have to earn them! But here’s a tip: Very few of the areas you’re led to believe are infinite enemy respawn, actually are ;)

      “What if I want to get all the manuscripts, but I’m not skilled enough to go through the game on Nightmare mode?”

      Then you don’t deserve the remaining manuscripts. Now, I kind of agree with you that they should’ve went ahead and put them all in every difficulty setting. But that’s just because I don’t understand the point of what they did, not because I think it’s cheap of them… Not telling us which difficulty level they’d be in, that would’ve been cheap.

  10. scowdich says:

    I just absolutely love Rutskarn’s newsreel voice. If he did an entire episode like that, I could die a happy man.

  11. Venalitor says:

    This game reminds me much of C. J. Cherryh’s “Fortress in the Eye of Time,” which I started to read at about the same time this season of spoiler warning started. Reminds me of that book in that the darkness is the enemy, although the book has it that shadows are the enemy (those controlled by an ancient wizard) and is set in a swords and sorcery era.
    I have to agree with Mumbles on the fact that Fallout’s little bits of information are awesome and well placed and that the system for the pages in Alan Wake is poorly executed. I hate having to go to an unrelated place to find information about some factory/bunker/hideout.
    And Oh gods, the Horrible, Lifeless writing!

  12. Moewicus says:

    It’s weird hearing the gist of my comment on maybe the third episode basically repeated by the cast on the thirteenth. Twilight Zone weird.

    Clearly, I am the author of Spoiler Warning. I must use this power with the utmost caution, respect, and responsibility.

    MORE PIE-RHANAS. CHERRY PIE-RHANAS. AND MID-ATLANTIC ACCENTS GALORE. THE WHOLE THING IS NOW A SILENT MOVIE.

  13. I don’t think the debate was whether Zane and his writings came first. We can pretty much agree on that, I think.

    The real debate is whether Alan wrote in Zane writing in the clicker and the loophole, basically retconning Zane’s story, or if Zane write all of Alan’s story before he even arrived, ensuring that the darkness would be beaten.

    Of course, if we go into the implications of the possibility of literally rewriting history, would that make it possible (though unlikely) for Alan to have changed aspects of how he arrived at Cauldron Lake and his own backstory as well.

    • Klay F. says:

      I don’t think what Zane wrote matters all that much. Alan pretty much explicitly states that Zane wrote himself and all of his writings out of existance, except for the single page Alan finds in the Well Lit Room, which simply insures that a writer named Alan gets the clicker. Thats why the page is in the room to begin with, to guard it against the Presence. At least IMO.

      • But who wrote that page in? Did Alan write it into existence by writing that Zane wrote it into existence or was it there the whole time.

        • Klay F. says:

          God this is confusing… XD

        • X2Eliah says:

          I agree. The DarkOrange bars counteract what DarkOrange bars stated previously, and you can see that the DarkOrange bar is actually what DarkOrange bars didn’t say they were.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          And how is Zane writing it in actually related to Alan receiving the clicker in his childhood? It’s a very unlikely coincidence that the two are unrelated, so is Zane’s writing responsible for the entire chain of events that led to the events of Alan Wake?

          Also, Zane might have “written himself out of existence” but it doesn’t necessarily remove the effects of what he’s written on reality, the very fact that he is written out seems to prove the effects persist. So, for example, there may be a whole scenario ahead written down by Zane with some odd end result despite the fact that the physical copy of his work doesn’t exist. Unless, of course, Alan came up with Zane and the “written himself out of existence” thing is only a device used by Alan to explain why nobody ever heard about him…

          • That fact that Zane’s page references “Alan” by name means that either Zane’s writing would inevitably drag somebody named Alan to Bright Falls in order to fight the darkness or Alan retconned Zane’s story to make him write that page and the loophole.

            Assuming of course that the rules enable a writer to literally re-write history. It could be entirely possible that the power of Cauldron Lake simple subtlety influenced Alan to write his backstory the same way that it happened in the past. We don’t exactly know for sure.

            • Jingleman says:

              It could also mean that Zane actually knew of our Alan in particular. We don’t know about Alan’s childhood. It could be that Zane knew (of) Alan(‘s family). We wouldn’t expect Alan to remember and tell us. Also, Zane could have written Wake into existence out of thin air.

              Ultimately, I think that either one could have created everything about the other, or any subset of “everything” down to the minimum “Zane leaves one page in a shoe box.”

          • Jingleman says:

            This Wake-Zane thing is the coolest part of Alan Wake. It’s the same chicken-egg problem that sci-fi fans see over and over in time travel stories. This story gives us a nice twist on the usual altered history paradox. It’s not entirely new, but it’s far enough from common to be refreshing.

            I think it hits the right balance. It’s enough mind-bending to make for interesting reflection, discussion, and fridge logic, but it’s not so inscrutable that we’re left with no idea what’s going on.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Should I watch this,or should I go back to playing firefall…Decisions,decisions…Oh,damn,its 1am…I should sleep as well…Ugh,why are days so short?

  15. Mr Compassionate says:

    Thats exactly what the writing is like, its also why you don’t make “darkness” your antagonist unless you don’t need to talk about it too often for example a game not entirely based around words would be good.
    And then you could kill them all with your friendship key or something.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    9:05 – Its a shame that the funniest page can be found only in nightmare mode: I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it.
    Why was that one locked to the highest difficulty?

    12:50 – The physics in this game is so funny.I once had a steel beam bounce up when I stepped on it,and it hit me and damaged me.Its great!

    17:48 – Yes they are very similar.

    Next episode (of the game,not the show) has one scene that perfectly sums up what is good in this game and what is soo wrong with it.Ill expand when you guys reach it.

    Also,will you be playing through the dlcs?Those two are really trippy.

    • That’s a Nightmare mode exclusive!? Damn. I was looking forward to them getting that page.

      Ugh. That’s so stupid.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      You guys need to do some thinking on your own…

      “Its a shame that the funniest page can be found only in nightmare mode: I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it. In it, I lifted the page in front of my eyes and read it.

      Why was that one locked to the highest difficulty?”

      Likely more than one reason. For one, it’s a reward in and of itself. For another, it was probably thought of as a hazard to the general feel of the game, being “funny” and all. But also, it’s sort of making fun of the whole manuscript determines reality concept. Why ruin the game for first time players with that sort of thing?

      “12:50 – The physics in this game is so funny.I once had a steel beam bounce up when I stepped on it,and it hit me and damaged me.Its great!”

      Well that actually sounds… realistic?

  17. Hitch says:

    I think Rutskarn meant Piranhaconda.

    Also when he was talking about needing to look up stuff in a little booklet while watching a movie, I was reminded of the original theatrical release of Dune, where they handed out booklets to the audience in hopes that they would read them and understand the back-story after the movie had been chopped to pieces. Not that David Lynch’s full, uncut vision made much more sense.

  18. GiantRaven says:

    A film that has parts that don’t make sense unless you’ve read stuff detailed outside of the film? That sounds a lot like my early experiences with Blade Runner.

    I don’t really see the problem with not having an instant understanding of everything going on in a game. Having to explain away every little plot detail seems overly nitpicky to me. Is it not possible to just let the stuff happening in Alan Wake flow out of the game and presume there to be a perfectly logical reason as to why that the main character himself cannot comprehend (and thus isn’t privy to us since we view the game through his eyes).

    • Klay F. says:

      Blade Runner defence force GO!

      Okay, I just gotta say that Blade Runner in no way depends on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. They are way too different. If a part of the movie doesn’t make sense, then the book isn’t going to help you.

      • GiantRaven says:

        I don’t mean reading the book (I’ve never done so), it’s just there’s a lot in the way of world building and such in Blade Runner that is completely skimped over. You’re just supposed to (or it’s how I felt in any case) accept the setting and roll with it even if it doesn’t make exact sense at first glance.

        I should point out that I don’t see this as a bad thing.

        • Klay F. says:

          Oh okay. One thing I was going to say before, but didn’t because so many people say its inexcusable, is that its a film that basically demands multiple viewings. I’ve long since lost count how many times I’ve seen it, and every time I watch it I’m always either finding new things to enjoy, or remembering subtle things I had forgotten about.

          • Thomas says:

            Heck Do Androids Dream With Electric Sheep is something that can’t be adequately consumed without research. :D

            Apart from anything else (hey this is actually relevant to Alan Wake) you need to be told that Phillip K. Dick is not actually just an awful awful writer. It would be easy to read it and think it was written by a 13 year old and dismiss the whole thing. You need to know it’s good going into it

            • X2Eliah says:

              It would be easy to read it and think it was written by a 13 year old and dismiss the whole thing. You need to know it’s good going into it

              Wait, wha.. ? Shouldn’t a book be judged on how it is written? If it reals like a 13-year old’s rabling writings, the it is what it is, surely – how can it be better than what it has on the pages?

              • LunaticFringe says:

                Well it more comes down to understanding the inner workings of a paranoid drug abusing schizophrenic and seeing the greater complexity hidden by Dick’s style. Some people I know have a similar issue with Hunter S. Thompson’s work, which comes off like random crap but has a distinct purpose and almost vulgar poetry to it.

                • X2Eliah says:

                  … So you need to have a schizo mindset to get into his books, is that what you mean? Because that still doesn’t sound like good reading to me.

                  • Thomas says:

                    It’s like art right, psychologically when a paintings just some scrawled lines, we need to know it was put together with talent or reason, and then we can look for the patterns and the good things and the clever things it does.

                    I have to admit, DADOES takes it even beyond that. My end conclusion was ‘this thing could have been written by a very clever individual or someone who can’t write who people mistook for a very clever individual’

                  • LunaticFringe says:

                    Well not exactly, Thomas’ art description is a good one, so I’ll continue it: it’s like pointillism. Staring directly and as intensely as you can at the painting makes it seem like a series of random dots, but if one pulls back and views the larger picture you see the structure of the piece. In the same vein, analyzing Dick’s work from a purely rationalist perspective doesn’t exactly work because it’s designed to be anti-rationalist to an extent. You have to follow the themes emerging from the novel and understand that it’s not really written in a logical sense. Naked Lunch is another example of this, Burroughs’ writing is completely non-linear and random but you have to contextualize it in the author’s life, namely his own experiences, drug use, and political opinions. In short, post-modern metaphysical novels are weird and confusing for a reason.

                    • X2Eliah says:

                      These two posts actually outline exactly why I think so much of art and literary criticism is self-absorbed ridiculous mouth-flapping.

                      “It may look like a bunch of squiggles, but if you know of the indescribable talent, you know that those squiggles must be something great, right?”…

                      “It is confusing for a reason, you have to look at the life of a messed up person and see that the book is also messed up, and that for some reason makes it great”…

                      … Wha?

                      No. Just no. If A is bad, random, messed up, then NOTHING outside of A can make A not bad, not random, not messed up. Stop interpolating what other people tell you should see into it, use your own eyes and your own mind, and judge directly what you see. Frankly, both of your posts read very much like “you need to know that the creators are deeply admired among the artistic critics, so their random crap must be good – all the art buffs are saying so, after all!”.. Crap is and remains crap no matter how much someone, somewhere, possibly with a liberal arts degree, praises it.

                      Is true art about ignoring the actual production and building fairycakes out of assumptions? Is a value of an “artwork” based on what the artwork is, or what a bunch of circle-jerkers claim it is?

                    • Jirin says:

                      (Hoping this appears where I think it should…)

                      That’s not exactly what they mean. It’s more that, if you know it’s meant to be by someone good, then you’ll actually bother giving it the time it takes to find the good things rather than just going “eh, looks like random rubbish”.

                      For example, say you have (and I’m making this up here) a story which seems like random ramblings, but in which every paragraph follows some very strict rules (I don’t know, maybe they all use the exact same letters in different arrangements, or something) and which, if you take it in a certain order, actually does have a story to it. At first glance you’d probably think it was pointless, but if you look enough to find out what’s going on (or have someone tell you about what’s going on) you might come to appreciate it (assuming you’re inclined to appreciate that sort of thing, and not just dismiss it as pointless and pretentious or something).

                    • Thomas says:

                      I know what you mean X2Eliah, I’m not really much of an art fan, but I can see how it works.

                      It’s like if I you saw the numbers 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55, it would look like just a random jumble. If I tell you those numbers have been chosen for a reason, then you can study them and realise that 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 5+8=13

                    • LunaticFringe says:

                      I don’t think you need to pull out the ‘liberal arts degree’ insults haha (I don’t have a liberal arts degree by the way). It also has nothing to do with confirmation bias. I’m saying nothing about having to ‘know it’s good’ rather you have to contextualize it, i.e. if a book is deliberately written in an anti-rationalist sense, what logic is there in analyzing it along purely rational lines? And yes, post-modern and metaphysical works are confusing for a reason. Because metaphysical construction is based on our perceptions of reality (i.e. what is ‘real’ and ‘unreal’) and where we get these perceptions from, it’s designed to drive home how we construct reality rather then objectively view it. Post-modern literature deals with our distortions of reality through media as well. Their intent and purpose is largely to make you question your perception of reality. Some people can respond more readily to that, others can’t. Interpretation is key in these themes because that’s their inherent point.

                      And I could also get into how we inherently contextualize media and works without knowing it but that would be a really long post. Easier just to point to Foucault and call it a day.

        • X2Eliah says:

          Hmyeah – though if you *can* accept the setting on the first go, then it’s still a great two-and-a-half hours.

          And, yeah, they don’t really establish anything setting-wise bar the absolute minimum – though I would say that the time gained from that is never wasted, so it ends up rather fine anyway.

  19. Even says:

    I only wish the Fallout DLC were all up to it. Lonesome Road left me with a lot of mixed feelings. On the other hand there’s this one of the most interesting characters in the whole series, but on the other hand to really get the whole story straight, you need the find a bunch of holotapes that are all kinda out of the way and try to get through a lot of cryptic speech. Few times have been information dumps felt as jarring as when finally getting to the core of it and trying to reconcile all the backstory laid on me that I had no way to know about as a player. Once I got over it, it was easier to appreciate the DLC, but man, I still can’t understand the logic. And these guys are roleplaying enthusiasts.

    I’ll admit I’ve done the “you should explore better to see the story” thing in the past but I figured at some point that it can sound kinda annoying. So my apologies for that. I’ve tried to avoid it. Lot of it has been mainly due to the certain frustration you get when either something stupid happens or the ragging reaches a point where it no longer feels justified. At the end of the day, it’s kinda stupid stuff to get mad about. Live and learn, I guess.

    • I loved the Lonesome Road. I agree that Ulysses was one of the most interesting characters I’ve seen. So much so, that I wrote something about it.
      http://pressstarttodiscuss.blogspot.com/2012/04/18-character-analysis-1-ulysses-fallout.html

      I didn’t mind collecting the audio logs. There weren’t too many of them and I found 5 on my own without a walk-through. Plus, none of that story was necessary to understand the plot at hand. Unlike Alan Wake, which almost requires you to explore to get enough of a grasp of the story that you feel like you understand what is going on.

      • Klay F. says:

        I was pretty apathetic about Lonesome Road up until the final showdown. The final conversation with him basically tested you. If you didn’t understand his point of view and why he was obsessed with you, it was significantly harder to talk him down. You couldn’t just pick apart the particulars of what he was saying, you had to address the underlying argument/motivation that was driving him. In this case I think it is a prime example of rewarding exploration done right.

        I’m still pissed off that he forced me to launch a nuke to proceed through a door though, that was just stupid any way you cut it, especially in a game like Fallout.

        • lurkey says:

          I mostly liked Lonesome Road (especially on my second playthrough with a level 6, CON 2 character. That nuked village thingy was fun!), but I detested that asshole Frumentari’s bullshit pseudophilosophy. I even nuked his precious Legion only just to spite the motherfucker.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            I, on the other hand, disliked Lonesome Road deeply. I imagine I jut had too much buildup to Ulysses, I was already frustrated with him (despite not knowing his name) the first time I was playing, before any DLCs were released, because the game threw some hooks about the whole “courier #6” thing and then didn’t deliver. Then he was making these little flashes in each and every DLC so I was expecting something really, really grand, some shattering revelation that would change my perception of the entire gameworld… And when it came time to face him I just wasn’t impressed with his BS philosophy. (Also: I know nukes are kinda a big thing in Falloutverse but I’m starting to get a tad tired of them at this point)

      • Even says:

        You do kinda need them if you want to get the full picture. It’s just a lot of work for figuring out one character. The tapes work great for their purpose, but finding them all can be a bitch. I think what bothers me more really is again all the things that were left unexplained. The destruction of the Divide was no small thing for him and given the length he went to find a new solution, it really begs the question that what exactly did he lose the day the Divide erupted? What really made the Divide worth of defying the Legion? The way he describes it makes it sound like it was a place really worth seeing if only for the “new way of thinking”, yet the Courier was apparently apathetic enough to forget ever being there.. just passing through town, doing a courier’s work.

        • As I recall, the Divide was one of the more prosperous settlements due to all the Pre-War tech that littered the area. Ulysses, being a Pre-War history buff, thought this was fairly nifty.

          To be fair, I don’t think they go into much detail regarding this at any point in the DLC. And that is pretty stupid.

          • Amnestic says:

            I’m not entirely sure it was prosperous then, but I think what Ulysses saw was the potential in the settlement to be “more than Bull or Bear” (or whatever he says). In the Divide he saw the beginnings of a culture/civilisation which would change the very face of North America…until the Courier came along.

            Having it at the ‘potential’ stage would also explain why the Courier forgot about it. If it’s not particularly special right now and they’re just passing through, then they have no reason to think it’s any more remarkable than any other delivery destination.

            • ps238principal says:

              I figured the Courier not remembering the Divide and what went on was hand waved under the “you got shot in the head” category.

              It’s a cop-out allowing for a lot of retconning, but within the limits of game plots with DLC involved, it was pretty compelling.

              • The devs stated that the bullets did not give the Courier amnesia, for the same reason you just said: They considered that a cop-out.

                • ps238principal says:

                  Oh, like they know what they’re talking about. :)

                  While it does still work well within the confines of a game add-on, it does seem like the Courier goes into the Divide with no knowledge of the place, which seems odd. Then again, other than for things involving Benny, does the Courier ever “remember” things in-game?

  20. Tzeneth says:

    Judging by this episode, it seems that the game, even when solving problems, is stuffed with Fridge Logic. (I’m willing to take my PUNishment now)

  21. Alex says:

    All that blurb needs now is something about Keyblades.

  22. Michael says:

    I realize this would have been better suited to a previous episode, but I was holding off on watching them until I was ahead of Spoiler Warning in the game…

    Did anyone else notice that Nightingale is basically a point for point inversion of Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks?

    Loves Coffee? Hates coffee, check.

    Loves Small Towns? Hates small towns, check.

    Never touches alcohol? Smells of booze, check.

    Reserved Approach to investigation? Screaming incoherently and waving a gun around, Check.

    On good terms with local Law Enforcement? Not so much, check.

    Very articulate and urbane? Heh, check.

    Plays by the book so hard he creeps out Jack Webb? Utter psychopath, check.

    The worst part is, as Mumbles has been saying, they don’t actually say anything with him, it seems they just wrote an anti-Cooper, because they loved Twin Peaks.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      What was the point of nightingale anyway?Is it ever explained why he wants alan so badly?

      Also,his room was such a disappointment.I expected to find some backstory there,a meaningful page,and it just was empty.

      • Amnestic says:

        As I understand it, Nightingale found some of the manuscript pages and wants to kill Wake because he thinks that will stop the bad things from happening, with a healthy mix of knowing that his every action is being dictated by someone else and he’s trying to “break free” from the control of the manuscript (and by extension, Wake)

        He’s a colossal asshole, but he seems to actually have genuinely reasonable reasons for his goal, even if his actions aren’t remotely justified.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But how did he manage to get it?I doubt that fbi has agents posted regularly in small towns like this one.He did rent a room,so why did he come here?Was he on a vacation,was he suspended,did he come here hunting alan,did he come here investigating something else?

          I get his reaction to the manuscript,but what I dont get is how he came to be involved with it in the first place.

          • Amnestic says:

            As newdarkcloud/Gamer said, he used to be a good cop but his partner got Taken so he turned to the booze. Shortly after that he started having dreams/nightmares about a person who resembled Wake and became obsessed with finding him.

            And as an added bonus, apparently he’s not even an FBI agent…anymore. He got fired prior to the game’s events. I’m guessing he discovered the manuscript either after his partner got Taken or shortly thereafter while hunting for Wake.

            I don’t think any of this is actually mentioned in game though, not even with manuscript pages, which is a pretty big faux pas considering “running from Nightingale” was two major run around sections.

      • I’m with you on that one. Nightingale’s room should have had a few manuscript pages in it. The supplementary materials for the game tell you more about his character, but that’s no excuse.

        There’s some backstory about him being a good cop before his partner fell to the Dark Presence and he discovered a few manuscript pages depicting it. After that, he turned to alcoholism and started trying to capture Wake.

        Although part of me thinks he’s just an innocent bystander. Alan used the name Agent Nightingale because he thought it was a cool name, and then an actual FBI agent named Nightingale was then bound by the manuscript.

      • Even says:

        The way he gets treated, I figured he was just a “balancing tool” in the story for the sole purpose of having somebody give Alan a hard time. Somebody who Alan just came up with for the sake of story and then scrapped when he didn’t need him anymore.

        • Michael says:

          He actually does remind me of a couple characters from various Steven King novels. Where King wrote someone in, and apparently intended to do something with them, but then basically forgot why they existed, and never went back and edited them out of the book.

  23. zob says:

    While Rutskarns rant around 7th minute mark seems to make sense, it’s also hogwash. People won’t be pointing out those arbitrary bits and pieces of info when you criticize a game in broad terms like “that should’ve been explained better”. They point out those tidbits when someone claims “I’m absolutely positively sure that thing isn’t mentioned anywhere in this game”

    If you are going to criticize a game you should know the game, lacking that you should have a solid grasp of how much do you know about the game and criticize accordingly. “Developers should’ve put that info to the part I know cause what I know is all there is about the game” is either a lazy excuse or an excuse for laziness.

    In case it’s not obvious, I didn’t write that to defend Alan Wake. They put plot info to that pages and then they tried to put a main plot incentive to make you collect manuscript pages in the game. “You need the manuscript to get back your wife so you should look for more pages”. Also one can argue that you can make enough sense about the plot with the pages sprinkled on your likely path, though I’m not sure if that is enough. I think that’s a poorly executed plot delivery.

    • I’m okay with them using plot or backstory as motive for exploration. But I’m not okay with them hiding that plot/backstory behind waves and waves of the same 5 mooks over and over again.

      There is a reason most JRPGs moved away from random encounters after the PS1 era.

      • Thomas says:

        I’m sure random encounters are the one true holdover from open-world days.

        There is absolutely no reason ever to have random encounters in a tight linear game. They are doing work to make the game experience worse and preventing themselves from being able to adequately balance tension, ammo numbers, etc

        (This was the aforementioned moved comment. Comment has had a hard time moving, please be respectful during it’s time of adjustment)

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        Nothing wrong with making you fight for the manuscripts, nor is it necessarily a bad thing to make the monsters look alike. They do this in practically every shooter out there.

        Somehow, I never got the impression that finding the manuscripts would reveal any essential pieces of the plot that the game itself wouldn’t reveal later. Nor did I think for one moment that finding them was something I had to do to progress in the game. I guess I just took the objective written in the corner as just that, my objective.

  24. HBOrrgg says:

    Huh? There was some sort of big darkness covered in dark shadows?

    Where exactly? I must have completely missed it.

  25. TSi says:

    Hey guys. Could it be possible to turn down the game sound a little when you speak ? Especially during action scenes where there is a lot of shooting or high pitched sounds.

  26. Eddie says:

    Please tell me Pizza Trolls was a reference to Zoombinis, Mumbles…

  27. Searly says:

    How did no one else get the futurama reference from ruts

    /a>

    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader”

  28. Zukhramm says:

    On the topic of Alan Wake telling its story I picked up a Swedish gaming magazine (yeah I know, but I was going to be stuck on a bus for hours, so I bought one) claiming Alan Wake is “the only video game that can be considered great literature”. It seems lie the author of the article played a very different game than you did.

  29. X2Eliah says:

    Mumbles, your audio is way too quiet, change it back, please.

  30. Dasick says:

    Alan Wake’s Achilles’ Heel is stabbing his toe , much like his great-predescessor, Dovhakin.

  31. CalDazar says:

    “Coffee?I love coffee!”
    For some strange reason this phrase fills me with joy.

    I can’t imagine this part being fun to play, I’m tired of all the combat and I’m only watching.

  32. Daemian Lucifer says:

    After finishing the dlcs,I must say Id love to see you guys covering them.Yes,I know you want to go through mass effect 3,Im really looking forward to that one too.But the added chapters are really nice.They give an interesting insight into alans head,they(at places)fix the combat a bit by making you use the environment more,and they give a more satisfying end to the game,which is very hard for a sequel bait.

    So please,do the signal and the writer.

    • Amnestic says:

      I want them to hold off on Mass Effect 3 until I have time to play it myself. It’d be the only Spoiler Warning title thus far where I go in without having finished the game first.

      …though if Alan Wake takes as long as I expect (plus hopefully the DLC?) then I should still have time to buy it, finish my ‘perfect’ ME2 playthrough and then finish an ME3 playthrough or two.

      Maybe.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ive started alan wake last week,and it was a good decision to see Josh playing it first.It showed me not to conserve special ammo too much and not to care about missing the pages(which I read online later).Plus,no matter what Rutskarn said,I liked barry.But then again,I watched them play bioshock and fallout 3 without playing those first.And I started mass effect 1 specifically because of spoiler warning*.What Im trying to say is that you shouldnt be afraid to watch spoiler warning without playing the game first.The spoilers usually arent that important,especially for a game like mass effect 3.

        *Well,technically I started it once before,but found it to be too boring.Glad I changed my mind.Despite what the series turned into.

        • Thomas says:

          Hmm I’m less analytical than you, I never really game a game (I do the opposite, never ever consume a consumable tends to be my overriding motivation), so I think I would get less than I gain from watching them do ME3 before I play it.

          It’s hard enough avoiding spoilers as it is, stupid controversy. Despite my best attempts to ctrl+w everyone time I see a ME3 joke my brain still reads a lot of the line and I’m slowing building up an image :(

      • drlemaster says:

        If they decide to cover Diablo 3, I just hope they hold off until I have had a chance to log in.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I welcomed the new combat mechanics: they added variety, they were interesting and they sometimes altered your way of thinking (you really don’t want too much light in certain places). It just shows that they had some good ideas, too bad the devs introduced them so late (actually PAST the game proper).

  33. Vic 2.0 says:

    2:10 – The cinematics are for sheer awesomeness. It’s no secret that the developers wanted this game to feel very much like a television series, and so these were part of it. I agree this segment was a good jump-scare, but it’s not bad that these are pretty rare occurrences. I’ve often said that this game is more about keeping you on the edge of your seat than making you jump out of it.

    I gotta disagree with the whole “The developers must’ve thought the players were stupid” argument. On the contrary, I think they overestimated the general population’s cognitive abilities. On this site alone, I’ve had to break way too many things down for critics who apparently couldn’t figure them out. And that’s fine for people who don’t try and analyze everything and just play the game for the fun of it. But for those who want to delve deeper with their questioning, they shouldn’t have missed the comparably deep answers in the storyline, narration, manuscripts, etc.

    4:30 – The question “If the dark presence wants Alan to finish writing, why is it trying to kill him?” was asked in your last episode. There are a few possibilities:

    One is that this is simply the easiest way for the darkness to take people, whether to create another Taken or to use them for some other purpose (e.g., Rose). For all we know, it can bring people back from the dead whenever it so chooses, and the dark presence simply wanted Alan back in the cabin, one way or the other.

    The problem with this theory is that it doesn’t explain how Alan is healed by the light. I can think of only two explanations for both questions. The assumption in each is that the weapons are made of pure darkness, therefore Alan is not being cut or bruised by any of them, not even the poltergeists, no matter how big they are.

    Possibility #1
    Rather than being cut or bruised, he is being slathered with liquid darkness. It seems to be that objects merely struck by the darkness but not transformed into a poltergeist wear those pools of liquid darkness you can burn with your flashlight. It could simply be that this is what Alan is wearing until he burns it off with light or shakes it off gradually (without getting hit again). From here, we can figure that the health meter is not representing blood loss (or whatever most games mean for it to represent) but Alan’s grip on his own humanity; that is, his resistance to being taken. If he’s covered with too much of this liquid darkness at once, he’s done for.

    Another possibility:
    Similar to the first theory, the health meter is actually representing Wake’s grip on his own humanity. But instead of being covered with liquid darkness, the weapons actually leave no mark at all. Instead, they are chipping away at his spirit. Suppose he has to give up before he can be taken over? The pain of getting hit, the feeling that he’s about to die that each hit comes with, these things make him feel hopeless and afraid. Light is the best way to make him feel hopeful and have a little faith, although simply going without getting hit for a while will do the trick, just more gradually.

    Take your pick.

    7:00ish – Blame it on the Boogie(man)! This is what happens when an author of mystery is forced to write a horror story. Nothing is explained without a whole bunch of research and analysis! :P It’s the dark presence that decided this was a good idea, so… go after it!

    I love how half of this episode is you guys admitting there have been other people telling you, “You should’ve actually explored if you wanted the answers to all these questions most people don’t even care about”. I agree with them. Especially seeing as how you turned around and did a Let’s Play of this game, you really should’ve taken more time to explore everything and learn about the story you were so anxious to start ripping on.

    13:00 – The town was abandoned in 1970, as the sign read. But you should forgive Alan for thinking the car meant nothing. After all, a week ago he rented a cabin on an island… that sunk in the 70s :)

    13:15 – Yeah, the supplies were there probably because Zane put them there. He has the manuscript now, and so he can estimate where Alan’s going to be and leave supplies to help him out. Done.

    …Why didn’t the game just show you the kidnapper’s text?

    …Because that would give you yet another chance to bitch about the Verizon logo :P

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