Alan Wake EP17: Relevant and Topical

By Josh Posted Tuesday May 22, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 94 comments

Link (YouTube)

I’m not sure whose mic I should really complain about here. I know Shamus would want me to complain about his microphone, but the truth is he couldn’t really help it – it was an old mic and he couldn’t get to the store to replace it in time. But Rutskarn’s microphone is just bad. And he should feel bad.

Huh? What? You want me to say something about Alan Wake? Uh, shadow darkness dark dark presence dark shadow car crash dark Barry shadow Rambo. Dark.


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94 thoughts on “Alan Wake EP17: Relevant and Topical

  1. Newbie says:

    I CARE ABOUT THE MANUSCRIPTS and no one cares about Rutskarn’s subliminal messages.

    1. Tvtim says:

      I will admit, I don’t read or pay any attention what-so-ever to the manuscript pages. I just prefer listening to what everyone is saying.

      1. bit says:

        I end up trying to split the difference, and inevitably miss the most important point overall.

        1. Ambitious Sloth says:

          I just pause the video to read the manuscript pages. Because it’s not like they’re going to stop talking over it anyways, so at least I can get the best of both worlds.

          1. Tvtim says:

            I thought about doing that, but I just think I’d end up pausing it mid-word or something like that; or just otherwise forgetting what the last thing someone was saying was.

            1. Irridium says:

              Not as hard as it seems. Though over the years I’ve gotten good at pausing things at the right time, so who knows.

              I’ve been doing the same for the cutscenes as well. Since I haven’t played the game, I’m trying to absorb both the game and the commentary.

              1. harborpirate says:

                I’ve been doing the same, and I’ve gotten surprisingly good at following both the game and the commentary without rewinding a dozen times.

                At first I tried to listen to the voice acting in the game, but I’ve since found it much easier to pause the LP and read the game caption text instead, and then pick up on the commentary where it left off.

                This works especially well when mumbles or rutskarn are talking, since they’re more “style” and less “substance”.

                1. Thomas says:

                  You’re making them sound like a carefully selected team of specialists :D Spoiler’s Eleven

                  Ruts + Mumbles -> Style,
                  Chris -> Substance,
                  Shamus -> Oldness
                  Josh -> Josh

                  I too pause for manuscript pages. They still do the right things but I agree that something has gone wrong with the system that’s mucking up their enjoyablness

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I didnt read them either when I watched before playing the game.I read them while I was playing the game though(well,technically,alan read them to me),so I dont have to read them now either.

    2. X2Eliah says:

      Yeah, I read the pages. If someone’s talking during that, I phase them out for a while. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET SOME SENSE OF THE STORY. It’s not like the hosts are actually talking all that much about it – its all deconstruction ad infinitum. The pages are something that’s from the actual game and allows to see for oneself where and what and how the game presented its story.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I actually played the game so I kinda know the story already, I am watching the show for the deconstruction and the jokes.

        I completely phase out the pages, I’m not sure but I may or may not be momentarily switching to another tab for a 10 seconds whenever one of those is picked up. I end up actually pausing and pushing the video back a few seconds when I hear Josh say “So this is an interesting/important page” or something to that effect, that’s really the only time I even notice which page they just picked up.

    3. Viktor says:

      I pause the game to read them. Same thing I do for subtitled cutscenes in LPs. The old Viddler comments trained me to pause at just the right time, and remember what was going on as I read them. Damn I miss those.

  2. Phil says:

    I just watched Rambo: First Blood and I thought how similar it seemed to Alan Wake.

  3. newdarkcloud says:

    I have to admit, I chuckle every single time I here “Omega 3 fatty acids are good for your heart.”

    I propose an amendment to the drinking game. Every time Mumbles complains about reading pieces of paper, you drink.

    I think what makes Alex work as a companion is because she not trying to be badass, macho, or tough. She’s just trying to make the best of a bad situation. She’s dependable and comes off as an actual human being, not a cardboard cutout.

    Mumbles, after that pun you made this episode, I have an axe to grind with you!
    I would ask everyone in the comments to start making puns again, but I don’t think that’s a wise idea. They would accuse me of entrapment.

    1. Ambitious Sloth says:

      You got to be careful what rules you add to the drinking game. Too many and it becomes just too much keep track of.

      I don’t want to fall like a log at the end of each episode.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I just had a flashback to the Honest Hearts episodes on the New Vegas season.
        “I can’t have 4 beers, I must stop at 3 beers.”

        Of course, I’m too young to drink, so I don’t have to worry about alcohol poisoning.

      2. Even says:

        It’s not like the Spoiler Warning drinking games were ever meant to get through without suffering alcohol poisoning.

        1. LunaticFringe says:

          Wait, we were supposed to get alcohol poisoning from the drinking game? *Stares at scattered bottles* What the hell is wrong with me?

        2. MintSkittle says:

          Optional rule: Every time you take a drink, take a drink.

        3. Ambitious Sloth says:

          Well after Bioshock there just wasn’t any hope left.

  4. Even says:

    That shovel lying next to the first flashlight was just begging to be grabbed. Thinking of the combat, I think improvised melee weapons could have made it more fun. It could work as a mechanic to keep the Taken at bay but with the weapons only having limited durability. Maybe give less ammo to the player to give motivation to actually save it and suddenly you’d have something of a survival experience.

    1. LunaticFringe says:

      Sadly, cue ‘Silent Hill ripoff’ comments from some gamers. Actually now that I think about it, Silent Hill Downpour tried to add a light mechanic really late in the game that worked terribly.

    2. Jakale says:

      And the bear traps cried out for taken bears to be led into them, but, alas, twas not to be.

    3. Mr Guy says:

      I like the idea, but I think it would be hard to do in this game in ways that would make sense in-game. The environment in this game has tons of stuff lying around that could make for improvised melee weapons. Rocks, crates, tools, loose boards, even things like the lights “someone” left around. Not to mention the axes in the payphones (or the ones they throw at you). If you’re going to allow improvised melee weapons, you need to be prepared to go full-on Dead Rising with it. They all need to be melee weapons, or none of them should be. “Oh, I can’t use that as a weapon. It’s a hoe, not a shovel!”

      I strongly suspect that’s why there’s no melee mechanic in this game. The art style and mood just leave so many around that you’d never use something else (whether that would have been better than having it be a shooter is open to debate).

      Also, sort of minor, but any melee weapon (like a shovel) that it makes sense to use two-handed would be problematic when you’re also holding a flashlight. Does it disappear into hammerspace when you swing? I guess the shotgun and the hunting rifle already finesse that…

    4. Vic 2.0 says:

      I agree that less ammo would’ve helped the survival feel (though I’ve actually heard people complain about running out of it, somehow), but I think melee weapons would’ve broken the game.

  5. Grag says:

    I hope there is a fight against a darkness-chair.

  6. Nyctef says:

    Macho lady characters can totally work. It helps when it’s A) Jennifer Hale and B) completely over the top :)

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Well yeah, but Brian Blessed works too. The “over the top macho character” works as satire, both for male and female characters. I think the guidelines given in the episode were very helpful. Summary follows:
      *Forget about male-female distinctions and make sure you’re writing a good character first.
      *Give the character a unique voice, and something interesting to say.
      *Don’t make a gimmick the defining characteristic of any character.

      It’s not hard for a decent writer to make interesting male and female characters. This is a solved problem. The problem isn’t an incomplete theory of writing. The problem is that game designers just don’t care enough to implement it.

    2. Nimas says:

      Well it doesn’t help that Hollywood doesn’t exactly have an amazing track record with less feminine females *Cough* *Cough*

      (Warning, the above links contain both TvTropes and Cracked, if you have compulsive link clicking syndrome, we advise you to run away screaming from your computer)

  7. AlternatePFG says:

    So, has anyone played/currently playing American Nightmare? Just came out for PC today. (It’s been on XBL for a couple of months now) So far, I like it quite a bit. Combat seems paced a bit better.

    Edit: Also, I’d like to point out while simultaneously they’re kind of darkly humorous, the Mr. Scratch videos are way more unsettling than anything in the first game.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      That and they have a greater variety of enemies.

      I also noticed that the flashlight doesn’t take nearly as long to recharge.

      1. Even says:

        I felt the gameplay generally flowed through much better. The flashlight indeed takes about two seconds max to fully recharge. It made playing on normal feel a little too easy to be honest. Might have to replay on Nightmare soon.

        The new variety of weapons felt nice, though after finding it, I couldn’t really let go of the crossbow for the remainder of the DLC. It almost breaks the game with its effect and damage. Still, it’s nice to have more choice than before.

    2. Dude says:

      The two DLC episodes that comes with the PC version by default are also pretty good. They don’t deviate from the torch-then-shoot mechanic all that much, but there’s way little shoot-three-bad-guys in them compared to the main game. I especially like the television boss fight.

    3. Sleeping Dragon says:

      That’s too bad, I played Alan Wake on my housemate’s copy and I’m not forking over that much cash for that DLC. I mean, GOG still has a sale on Alan Wake so right now the American Nightmare costs exactly as much as the original game, how long is that thing anyway? I imagine if the game was awesome in the first place…

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Watch like the first couple of sections of it in a Let’s Play. That should be enough to give you a good idea of the game. Personally, it addressed many of my concerns with regards to the original.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I have started it.So far,I liked the new weapons,I liked the explanation for how he changes reality,and I liked how more open the levels feel like.Mister scratch is even better than in the dlcs,and I loved him there.The enemies havent been that impressive,but with the improved flashlight they arent that much of a chore to fight anymore.Plus,they arent that plentiful either,so thats a plus.The health mechanic…eh,Im on the fence with that so far.The manuscripts do seem a bit improved,and they finally have meaning:You use them to get better weapons.

      Overall,I like the game more than the original.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I definitely agree with that. Especially the part about Mr. Scratch. Like Chris said, Mr. Scratch really shows off what both the real life and voice actors for Alan Wake can do, much more than the first game did.

        Three examples of what I mean:

    5. Michael says:

      Yeah, combat seems to have a reasonable feel to it now. Not everything is darkness armored, so combat feels a lot more dynamic. There are… I’m not sure, there are new enemies, (I’ve run into two so far). Which mix up the combat nicely.

      One really nice bit is the way the manuscript pages work has been completely overhauled. They tend to provide useful information about the characters or enemies, rather than tending to offer constant spoilers that give you the effect of being prescient while watching a bad horror movie.

      The narration is no longer by Wake, it’s been pushed over to a Rod Serling type, which helps a bit with the mood. Also, either because of the narration, or because of other elements, finally has a consistent and clear mood; it’s a Twilight Zone episode.

      I do think it would be neat to have the Spoiler Warning crew take a swipe at this once they’ve finished the main game, given how sharply it improves on the previous title.

      1. Vic 2.0 says:

        Alan Wake’s American Nightmare = far too easy and lacking substance.

        The environment is truly dull with no variation except when you try to go too far off the map. At this point, you get a watered down version of the original game’s environmental and sound cues for the Taken and are stopped by an invisible wall. And of course, you revisit the same three maps twice (that’s three times each, all total) which I didn’t mind too much but was still inferior to the original game’s ever-changing environment.

        Fighting or getting away from the enemies is made too easy in a number of ways:

        1. You’re given an unlimited supply of ammo on every map so there’s never a worry about running out. Too much ammo was the only real flaw in the original game, and wouldn’t you know it, this is what they kept.

        2. You’re given semi-automatic weapons, which automatically make it just another shooter, IMO.

        3. Your flashlight battery recharges at a truly ridiculous speed, so much that you often forget that running out of power is even possible.

        4. You’re given too much stamina (i.e., you can run way too far without getting tired). I get that Alan’s journey up until this point seems to warrant a slight increase in stamina (if you even view this game as a sequel – there’s some debate over that), but they just go way too far.

        5. There aren’t enough enemies to fight. That’s concerning the number of Taken per group and how often they spawn. You’re almost encouraged to linger around any given area, because even when enemies do spawn at random, it’s never enough to motivate you to get the lead out after the last (aka the second) enemy falls. People complained about there being “too many enemies” in the first one (which I disagree with) Well they got their wish; the result is a real snooze-fest.

        The writing is sub-par and the voice acting is even worse. Even the voice for Alan Wake seems just short of the talent he was when they made the first game. Basically, there is almost no sort of suspense in the game, anywhere.

        The story is fairly shallow compared to the original game’s storyline (but then again, what story isn’t? Hehe)

        Yes, there is more weapon and enemy type variety but none of it pulls the game above mediocre, IMO. The one thing I want to see from this game in the next installment is the ‘Fight Til Dawn’ arcade mode. But it should be unlockable for those who have beaten the game, allow access to any weapon on any map (some of which should not appear in the campaign mode except maybe once briefly, if at all), and most definitely give the option for multiplayer (again, only in arcade mode).

  8. Destrustor says:

    So are we going to get an explanation for why Shamus and Rutskarn’s microphones suddenly sound so bad?
    Did they both break simultaneously or did Mumbles use her bat-skills to switch them with awful replacements in a plot to make herself sound even better and win our admiration?

    1. Chris says:

      Not sure what was up with Rutskarn’s mic, but Shamus’s headset finally died completely (i.e., it was two dead speakers and a decent but functional mic). He was originally going with a different mic altogether, but the sound quality was really, really bad. Lots of noise, lots of distortion, and it was overly loud. We managed to convince him to use wear two headsets at once – one for the mic and one for the sound. The good news is that as long as he didn’t move at all he sounded as good as ever. The bad news is that as soon as he tilted his head the mic would fall far too close or too far and his volume would fluctuate wildly. The result is that he sort of fades in and out.

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        I vaguely remember that someone else on the show had ended up with a similar kludged up rig. Maybe Randy back in the day?

  9. Dante says:

    Bringing to light the fire not hurting Alan may cause a flame war.

    1. Exetera says:

      Fire walk with me?

      1. Michael says:

        I think I suffered brain damage from watching a couple episodes of that show a few days ago without easing into it…

      2. Mumbles says:

        ….have you seen the MOVIE? it’s like the most disturbing shit ive ever…i dont even

        1. Michael says:

          Yeah, though I’ve literally suppressed so much of that. All I remember ten years later is “is that Kieffer Sutherland?”

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Or at the very least a heated debate. There are a lot of hotheads in these comments who have this burning desire to rant and bicker about everything and a single spark is enough to set these threads ablaze.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Barrys antics are ruining the mood?What mood?The only mood I got from fighting the taken was sheer boredom,and I was glad that barry was there to lighten things up.

    Also I too fell through that gap.That camera+that lighting=failed spot check.And it was just annoying and nothing else.

    1. Thomas says:

      I think Barry does surprisingly well, I think you’re right, since there’s no atmosphere he can’t spoil it. He actually changes since up a little bit and I’m feeling a little protective of him. At least suddenly when they threaten Barry I begin to care whats going on

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      There’s plenty of suspense in atmosphere in the majority of the game. I didn’t mind the occasional break from it. And especially since you’re about to be thrown to the wolves big time (no flashlight, but poltergeists trying to kill you; no gun, but Taken trying to kill you, etc.), it’s a good place for Barry’s “antics”.

      They really did a marvelous job at putting things exactly where they need to be, mood-wise.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Im double posting simply because I dont want to mix this with the miscellany of those other things.

    Walter ended up dying.And his death was awesome.Also,it was the perfect sum of both what was good about the game,and what was bad about it.Since we are going to see that scene in the next episode,Ill analyze it now(major spoilers follow):

    You get to know this character,and through his drunken ramblings learn a bit about how his riend danny became a taken.Then you get a few pages talking about that incident,and foreshadowing another one.Then you finally get to him,but its too late since he is mortally wounded.With his last breath,he gets a jab at alan for his crappy writing.Its all pretty good stuff,and highlights everything good about the game:Establishing characters,foreshadowing events,some dark humour,you get to feel the tragedy of these two guys.

    And then,you meet danny as a taken.This shouldve been the peak of this scene,the climax of this pretty good chain of events.But what do you get?Just one more logger taken,the same as dozens of others you fought before.You wouldnt even differentiate him if alan didnt say “Danny,I presume”.Its mind boggling how theyve managed to ruin such a good scene so thoroughly.And that is the worst thing about the game:plethora of same enemies that are just tedious to fight,and that completely ruin every bit of atmosphere the game was trying to build.

    1. Vic 2.0 says:

      “You get to know this character,and through his drunken ramblings learn a bit about how his riend danny became a taken.Then you get a few pages talking about that incident,and foreshadowing another one.Then you finally get to him,but its too late since he is mortally wounded.With his last breath,he gets a jab at alan for his crappy writing.”


      Full quote:
      “It's like a real bad follow-up to a real good movie, where the best friend's suddenly the bad guy. Who wrote this crap anyway?” and then he dies.

      It sounds as if he’s just cursing some vague creator of his fate (whoever made the “movie”, God?) But in the interest of discussion, let’s question the line a bit more.

      Now, the way Walter sets up the line, you can't tell whether he's still comparing his fate to a movie… or now talking about the fact that someone wrote his fate into existence. This fact may have been exploited by Alan intentionally, writing this line himself so as to sneak a hint past “Barbara Jagger” in the cabin to whoever ended up having to be the protagonist in this story (which ended up being him!) If so, I would call that good writing. But I certainly can’t find any evidence that he was a bad writer, especially after reading his excerpts in The Alan Wake Files and considering his fame as a professional writer (How many insanely famous authors can you list that are no good at writing?)

      “And then,you meet danny as a taken.This shouldve been the peak of this scene,the climax of this pretty good chain of events.But what do you get?Just one more logger taken,the same as dozens of others you fought before.”

      What makes Danny so special? That Alan has heard of him before?

      “And that is the worst thing about the game:plethora of same enemies that are just tedious to fight,and that completely ruin every bit of atmosphere the game was trying to build.”

      Atmosphere is not created from the variety of enemies. That’s exactly why so many found the game to be quite immersive, despite the repetition in enemy models/tactics.

      And it can even make sense from an in-the-story perspective, if you think for one moment that more models of Taken = more people who have disappeared. This would also have to mean more public awareness of the phenomenon in Bright Falls and then finally, no town there at all and statewide/nationwide awareness of the region. So following this logical train of thought, perhaps the darkness is reusing the same handful of Taken. Recycling them every time they’re killed, so as to keep the citizens of the area generally clueless. This would explain why they look alike, and there isn’t much need to explain why there isn’t some sort of monster-like attacks or maneuvering among them. The darkness is not creating monsters but possessing people who are already there. Just not enough to give its presence away to the public.

  12. JPH says:


    1. Josh says:

      Also I knew I would lose it in the car crash two minutes later anyhow.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Seriously, if I were Alan I would tie at least one flashlight to each of my limbs and stuff my INSIDE pockets with guns and ammo so that a random occurrence like this is unlikely to leave me completely unarmed. Notice that the game makes a point of showing Alan taking the gun out in the car, because it’s obviously not good enough for his pocket.

        1. Vic 2.0 says:

          Idk, I’d have my revolver in hand at all times too…

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        This game is really making me regret me hoarder instincts. It’s like losing your Incinerator whenever you go into the next area.

  13. Hitch says:

    I don’t have strong feelings on Barry one way or the other, but he does get points in my book for having the Alan Wake standee in the back of his car. The facial modelling in this game is pretty bad, but somehow conveyed Alan thinking, “Why is that thing in here?”

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Seriously though. Why is that thing there?

      1. Shamus says:

        I imagine it’s in the back seat because it just didn’t fit in the front seat with Alan.

        I kid.

        Actually, it would have been hilarious to have the standee in the front seat and Alan in the back.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          – Hey barry,can I maybe be the one in the front seat?
          – Ive told you already alan,the one with the more dimensions gets to ride shotgun.

      2. Hitch says:

        Hey, those things aren’t free. You expect Barry to just leave it behind?

      3. Vic 2.0 says:

        Part comedy (Barry is trying to punish Rose for drugging him and Alan), part “You cannot escape” sentiment. It’s either a reference to his past in general or, given the way the cut-out is “looking” at him all the time, a notion that “You still have work to do”.

  14. IFS says:

    I feel like chris should now do a video series of him watching and commenting on season 1 of spoiler warning

    1. Michael says:

      Not commenting on Mass Effect, but rather commenting on Shamus, Josh, and Randy?

      He needs to do that with Rutskarn and Mumbles. :p

      1. Ambitious Sloth says:

        They did it in one of the first episodes of the New Vegas season. I forget which on but just after the tutorial they go back and watch season 2 again to figure out the spelling of Reginald Cuftbert. They also commentated on the people commentating on their commentary. Man, I love that sentence.

        Personally, I thought they should have gone back to that episode of New Vegas when they were watching the Dues Ex season in Elevator Source. It would have been so very meta.

      2. IFS says:

        Yes, that would be awesome.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Chris is actually Randy in disguise.

  15. CalDazar says:

    Those bear traps don’t make any sense. So many by themselves would just be really annoying, but since they glow they are not even that.

    1. Mr Guy says:

      It’s actually dumber than that. Bear traps look a lot like manuscript pages. You just got a manuscript page. You just heard Zane talk about “delivering all these manuscript pages to the right place.” You’re currently monologuing about the light presence who delivers manuscript pages. How much more clear a signal could the game possibly send that “hey – manuscript pages here! That’s probably what that glowing thing is.”?

      And then “Ha! Gotcha! It wasn’t a page at all! It was a bear trap!”

      Congratulations, game designers. You used the fact that you couldn’t figure out how to devise a plausible world model for your bear traps so you made it look like an important collectible for no good reason to trick me into being mildly inconvenienced.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        The thing is,while similar,the glows are slightly different,so you can get fooled like that only once.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          There’s also the fact that seeing 5 or so glows should clue you in.

          1. Vic 2.0 says:

            Yeah. I don’t know what Mr Guy was talking about, I recognized them immediately as they were in an earlier episode!

            I love this segment! Oh, rest assured I did not enjoy it on my first playthrough. It was definitely one of those moments where it seemed they dropped the word “psychological” from “psychological thriller” and just tried to give you a heart attack. From poltergeist city with no flashlight, to Taken city with no gun, and finally the Taken + bear traps, it was a nice menacing little hike ;)

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thats a bit of weird typecasting.I knew he died a few times,but so many?Wow.

      1. Amnestic says:

        It’s pretty crazy, which made it all the weirder to me that he didn’t die at all in the Silent Hill movie.

  16. Even says:

    Just an idea: Would you, the crew, hold any interest in possibly doing somesort of post-mortem podcast or somesuch after the season is over? Given all the stuff that’s got left out in the past few seasons that people would have liked to see, I’m fairly sure people would appreciate even just a short discussion over what the season missed. The commentary is one of the main reasons a lot of people are here for at any rate so it’d definitely be a nice plus for those who’d care to hear about that stuff.

    Right now I’m just feeling a little worried if you’re going to end up skipping the DLC. Having just finished American Nightmare I feel like it and the rest of the DLC would at least deserve to get some little mention before all is said and done.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Well, I imagine they could do the DLCs that come included with the PC version (The Signal and The Writer?), though for me they felt a bit tacked on to the main story…

      1. Even says:

        History would judge that they’re likely to be sick and tired of the game at that point. I didn’t get that much of a kick out of the first two DLC either, but I felt the plot they established came through in American Nightmare for most parts. The most important thing in AM is it closes the book for Alan for better or ill and now that I’ve played it, I’m glad that I did. Only thing that really bothered me was the lack of Thomas Zane in any form. The Signal and The Writer just painted him as this important figure for Alan and his well being in the Dark Place and suddenly he’s gone and never gets mentioned. But rest assured, it does give some closure and paves some road for a possible future title.

  17. Mr Guy says:

    So, in addition to the “you don’t have a gun” segment coming “too late,” I really liked the “you don’t have a flashlight” section with the barrels and mine cars at the beginning, where you just had to duck and run. IMO that could have made an epic extended session – you’re in a mine or a tunnel or some other constrained environment, and you have to run from “too narrow for them to fit” cover to cover. Either you don’t have a flashlight, or you have one but a very limited supply of batteries, and not enough to allow you to break every barrel. Bonus points if the poltergeist items could actually break – after that barrel throws itself at the wall a few times, it shatters.

    Survival horror works when your ability to fight back is limited, so you have to choose what battles to fight and which ones to run from. And especially when your weapons are weak or non-existent.

    1. Jingleman says:

      At least there’s some variety to the combat here. I think this makes two or three consecutive segments (if you count the rock show coming up) that are major departures from the standard combat. Maybe it’s poorly placed or the pacing is off or it’s too late, but there’s variety in the combat sections.

      1. Vic 2.0 says:

        There’s variety throughout the entire game, and that’s not counting the environment which is always changing too. Apart from the tutorial, I can’t think of any two adjacent combat-related sections in the game where your inventory, the enemies you’re facing and your objectives are the same. And even in the tutorial, they give you a flare gun to shake things up with, but whatever. People see what they want to see.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      Yes, THIS is what the game needed: Some variety. The light/dark mechanic was actually pretty cleaver imo, but they just do nothing with it.

  18. Mr Guy says:

    Yeah, also….

    I HATE that section with the generator Josh eventually winds up running past. It seemed like a huge “F*ck you” from the designers to the player.

    You’re being pursued by taken. There’s a generator with a light right there. You need to run the the generator and start it – it’s something that you’ve done at least twice before, so it’s clear what the expectations are.

    Except in THIS case, haha, you don’t have quite enough time before they start hitting you with axes.

    The problem is the game has clearly telegraphed “You’re supposed to get out of this by starting the generator.” And it lets you come tantalizingly close to starting it. Close enough that you think “OK, I could do this if I did it just a little better.” OK, got one pull of the 3 I needed before they caught me and killed me. Let’s try running as soon as they show up. Better – almost got the second pull. Hmm…what if I start running just before they show up. Got the second pull. Where else can I squeeze some time? Maybe if I start walking to the right of the path so I have a straighter shot…

    I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out how to solve the “how do I get the generator started?” puzzle before I realized “screw it – it’s a decoy.” I had gotten to 2 pulls and 3/4’ths of the way to 3 at this point before becoming convinced there was no way to squeeze out enough time to start it before that first axe got me.

    This is the game designers WASTING MY TIME.

    I don’t object to the game designers switching things up with a generator you need to run past. But if so, make it CLEAR that it’s not the solution. Have it be a crazy complex generator that needs 5 pulls so you KNOW you won’t ever be able to squeeze out enough time. Or better yet – make it a broken generator that falls apart after the first pull. As implemented, the only purpose of the generator is to piss me off.

    1. Neil D says:

      I agree completely. I only wasted about 10 minutes trying to start that damned generator, but that was plenty.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      “I HATE that section with the generator Josh eventually winds up running past. It seemed like a huge “F*ck you” from the designers to the player. You're being pursued by taken. There's a generator with a light right there. You need to run the the generator and start it ““ it's something that you've done at least twice before, so it's clear what the expectations are. Except in THIS case, haha, you don't have quite enough time before they start hitting you with axes.”

      Not true. I’ve made it to that generator plenty of times without getting hit. You just have to pay attention and catch it soon enough to start running in that direction. That, or use your better judgement and run past, sure.

      Blaming the game for your own lack of ability is a really low road to take.

      “I don't object to the game designers switching things up with a generator you need to run past. But if so, make it CLEAR that it's not the solution. Have it be a crazy complex generator that needs 5 pulls so you KNOW you won't ever be able to squeeze out enough time. Or better yet ““ make it a broken generator that falls apart after the first pull. As implemented, the only purpose of the generator is to piss me off.”

      So, you guys want variety, but only variety that makes the game easier.

      Got it. “Alan Wake’s American Nightmare”. Look it up :P

  19. Dasick says:

    So, Mumbles, you hate reading.

    Does that mean that your only experience with “A game of Thrones” is the TV series?

    1. Mumbles says:

      Obviously as a literature major, I don’t actually hate reading. I hate reading terrible shit, though.

      I’m pretty invested in the show, so I’m going to wait until it get cancelled and then pick up in the books where the show left off.

      1. Amnestic says:

        Speaking from personal experience I saw GoT Season 1, then read the first book, then the second book, and am now eagerly awaiting season 2 episode 9 of the series.

        As with any adaptation there’s purists out there for the books who say the show is a complete betrayal and whatnot but I actually think the two compliment each other quite well. Books tend to be more in depth, but they can also drag on a little with excess descriptions which the TV show can get out of the way very quickly.

        Not gonna say your approach is wrong, but just that I found picking up the books after starting the series has actually enhanced my enjoyment of both in tandem.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I got the first book and plan on reading it,but I still need to finish pratchet first.One thing I got from the show is that it is too condensed.For example,you see them getting the wolves in the beginning,and then next time they are all bonded.It would be nice to get a few more scenes with those.Still,I like the show,and I will continue liking it even if I end up liking the books better.

      2. Dusk says:

        The series has changed aspects of the story from the books, and in Season 2 these look like they could be major changes.

        Even the lesser aspect of cutting a lot of extra (mostly minor, some not-so-minor) characters would make reading the later books more confusing. At least, I would certainly expect it to (as I’ve read all the books prior to watching the show). Heck, the amount of names getting thrown around in the books can get confusing as it is, without having to worry about “was this guy ever in the TV show?”.

        1. Amnestic says:

          I remember reading that they deliberately cut out some of the minor characters from GoT Season 2 because they couldn’t devote the time necessary for their plotlines, so they’re holding off on introducing them until later series so they can give them the proper attention they deserve.

          I will agree though, books did help keep track of some of the minor characters names better.

  20. The Truth says:

    2:10 – “The quest is, we are going to the car. Riveting stuff.”

    That was rather disingenuous. You’re going to the car while shadowy men and flying objects try to kill you! …There… fixed.

    2:36 – No, they’re not gardeners. They’re hunters, campers, fishermen, lumberjacks, joggers, etc. This was one of your most recurring complaints, remember? And they’re inside the yard that’s been locked down for the same reason they’re EVERYWHERE: the dark presence can make them spawn out of thin air. It doesn’t need a key to get to you. And this is what you’re criticizing at this point.

    5:00 – No, the Anderson brothers could not have just told Alan what he needed to know while he was there at the lodge. You may be making the common mistake of thinking the message was “Find the lady of the light”. The point was to give him classified information linking Cynthia Weaver to Thomas Zane. It's why the song tells the story in every verse, and why you have to fix the player and hear more than just those six words that are repeating when you get the power on before the story continues. Remember that Cynthia asks Alan to prove that he's a friend, even after it's made obvious he's not a Taken. Now, ask yourself: Why would she still need proof he's a friend? Well because there are threats to her purpose that are 100% human and she knows it. Notice how they additionally made sure Alan told her “You knew Zane!” and not just “Yo, you're the light chick!”, lol. That implies that knowing/guessing her nickname around town or in the lodge wouldn't suffice as proof.

    Their job was protecting the key to gaining Cynthia's trust which would lead of course to getting the Clicker, and I consider the complex story that’s told in the rest of the song enough information for the Andersons to forget.

    And I don’t see a problem with those rare moments the tension of battle and Barry’s talking are blended. It is always to either A) make the scene feel all the more chaotic (when he’s fearful) or B) to add a bit of humor (like when he says “Hey! A quarter!” while he’s supposed to be finding a key to get you out of there).

    At 7:50, one of you says it best, about Barry. The game is giving you the variety you’ve been claiming isn’t there… and you’re bitching about it too.

    10:05 – Again with the dishonest implication that the game gives no variety in the combat, whilst talking about an area specifically known for the variety it gives (the rock concert battle), just before heading into yet another area which provides nothing BUT variety in the combat.

    10:23 – “This is a very cool area. It would’ve been cooler with less Taken…”

    The area you are in has 0 Taken. Count ’em.

    10:47 – I think the way the game ends makes up for not killing Barry, don’t you? That’s on top of Rusty and Walter dying. So no, it doesn’t break the rule that “People have to die/bad stuff has to happen”.

    13:00 – Seriously? You neglect to notice a hole in the platform you’re walking on, and so “It’s pointless” for the game to have it there?

    14:05 – I would say it might not’ve been the use of the light that killed the generator. It might’ve been the DARK PRESENCE FOLLOWING YOU? Good grief, you people. It going out right after you destroyed the gate would be a gameplay decision, to foster the idea you don’t have much time. Of course, it doesn’t work if you’re just goofing off while playing anyway :P

    And some old-style lighting poles actually do have “steering wheels” on them. Normally found at railroad stations, they were used to have flexibility in where you wanted the light to be while you were working.

    15:40 – You say the game should’ve put you in a position where you had no ammo and had to just run from the taken “five hours ago”. Yet in the first moment like that in the game (Episode 6 of your Let’s Play – I left a comment about it), you complain that you ran out of ammo and couldn’t escape the Taken. Which is it?

    And for crying out loud, there are 0 “combat taunts” in this game. We know the things the Taken are saying aren’t taunts… because they’re literally not… taunts.

    16:40 – The fact that the fire doesn’t hurt you WOULD be a good criticism… if standing on glowing coals with shoes on actually did hurt you in real life. And as for your shoes not melting, how are we nitpicking that and yet not the absence of any OTHER sort of clothing damage in other video games? Be fair now.

    17:00 – There’s nothing to suggest everything that happens in the story was written by Alan/that nothing could’ve happened that wasn’t written.

    17:15 – It’s not that the dark presence has chosen not to stop Alan’s advance; it’s that it literally can’t. Dark presence is bound by the story same as Alan. All the events that are written have to take place, or the story has no power to begin with. It isn’t until the last episode where the dark presence is actually trying to kill him outright. But the story requires that nothing be for certain, for the protagonist of the story (which just so happens to be who you’re playing) to fear for his life at every turn. When he dies, it could even be stated, you’re not just dying but ruining the story so it’s a double Game Over.

    BTW, I think it’s intriguing how the very next manuscript you pick up confirms what I just said… and none of you noticed. Your answers are literally delivered to you directly, and you’re still scratching your heads, lol.

    17:42 – Zane doesn’t show up for no reason. He shows up to explain exactly what’s doing and leaves a manuscript to explain even more. What were you expecting, for him to swoop in and save you? Have you not been following the story at all?

    And how on earth is the mere sight of bear traps on the ground “ridiculous”? That has got to be the most meaningless criticism I’ve ever heard.

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