Alan Wake EP24: The Beginning of the End…
Of the Beginning

By Josh
on Jun 2, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Man, it sure does suck that Shamus inexplicably forgot to post this yesterday. Because there’s no way I got sick and only got around to editing it this morning. Nope. Nothing like that happened.

And even if I did somehow get sick, I’m sure it’s all Shamus’ fault somehow. It’s more fun that way.

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  1. Rasha says:

    Yeah no worries ruts. The game publisher hired those bus drivers specifically to make the recap seem like a good feature. They’re called bus boys.

  2. Nyctef says:

    It’s a reference to Max Payne 3! From the future!

  3. Amnestic says:

    You know, I get that when Alice got stolen by the Dark Presence she had no trousers on but it’s actually really distracting. PUT ON SOME CLOTHES GIRL.


    Taken: “Look after yourselves and your co-workers.”
    Alan: “Could’ve fooled me, pal.”

    This feels like they both took two random combat taunts in their repertoire and shoved them together. Doesn’t make sense to me.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      It doesn’t help that her character model looks slightly off without clothes on. I don’t know what it is, but her particular model invokes uncanny valley to me.

      • Vic says:

        Alice’s character model looks just fine to me! ;)

        “Taken: ‘Look after yourselves and your co-workers.’
        Alan: ‘Could’ve fooled me, pal.’
        This feels like they both took two random combat taunts in their repertoire and shoved them together. Doesn’t make sense to me.”

        Well, part of the reason it doesn’t make sense to you is that, like the cast who did this LP, you’ve assumed (out of nowhere, I might add) that these lines are meant to be combat taunts to begin with. In reality, they are merely echoes of the Taken’s former selves – what they had said as human beings when they were still alive. I thought it was genius.

        That being said, Alan’s response does make sense if you interpret it as, “Really? Look after yourself and your fellow coworkers? Because it doesn’t seem as if you did that, if you all got killed!” *shrugs*

    • Alex says:

      Hey, anything to distract from her horrible monkey face is fine by me.

  4. JPH says:

    I have to say, stuff like this is why it bothers me when people complain about games being “too short” these days. They act like simply shoving in more levels makes a game better. It doesn’t. In fact, it can really screw up the pacing and overall design.

    • Mr Guy says:

      Maybe they’re just taking their Stephen King inspiration to its logical extreme.

      Ooh…set a course for Heatonia, captain!

      • Vic says:

        It doesn’t screw up the pacing at all. Thrillers are like this. They lead nowhere fast, requiring that you just “enjoy” the ride. The atmosphere, the mystery, none of this can be rushed.

        I actually wanted MORE of this game once it was finished. I jumped right into the DLCs and then American Nightmare.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      To be fair, that complaint usually comes along with “and I still had to pay $60 for it”. Nobody minded portal being short because it was well paced and also cheap so they didn’t feel like it was wasting their money.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        I think that’s why I’m more tolerant of Alan Wake. I bought it for only $15. For that price, it’s worth it. I’m not sure it would be worth $60, considering what other games are available.

        • W.D. Conine says:

          Well, there’s definitely psychology at play, I don’t think we should really be accounting for price in general discussion. Whether Alan Wake was $15 or $60, that shouldn’t affect whether the game is good or not, how much money it’s worth should be separate from investment advice.
          It’s odd when people complain about the game itself for being too short when they’re not factoring in questions like “Did this game use its time properly” or “what was the ratio of actual content to padding?” and the like. Those should be what define our opinion of any art.
          I understand the need of the price when we discuss whether or not to buy it but that shouldn’t interfere with the overall opinion of the game itself. Sometimes, things are just bad. If Gigli (a terrible movie, really well dissected in this review: http://johnnyoldschool.com/?p=597) was free, it would still be a bad movie. Game criticism is still looked at one part review and one part investment advice which does more harm than good, in my opinion.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well to be fair when people complain that games are too short,they dont mean that the games lack pointless padding,but that they lack actual content.

      • JPH says:

        Then why don’t they say that? I never hear them call games insubstantial or lacking in diverse content, I hear them complain about it being a few hours too short.

        • Shamus says:

          Because most people don’t analyze things the way we do here. Nothing wrong with that. They just get to the end and feel like they needed “more” for their money. I actually made the same mistake for years. For a long time (back when this blog was young, or maybe even before I started it) I used to complain that games were too short, because we’d just crossed that line in the early 2000’s where content had become so much more expensive to produce.

          It took me a while to spot the relationship between rising development costs, shorter games, and more padding.

          • newdarkcloud says:

            With the price of games being $60 a pop, it’s easy to see why people would feel that games can be too short.
            But then what we need to do is reevaluate the pricing models for games. Let’s be honest, not every games is worth $60. People were talking about scaling prices awhile ago, but I’m not sure how I feel about that. Deadly Premonitions wasn’t $60, yet people think fairly highly of it.

          • hborrgg says:

            Normally if I complain that a game was too short it’s because I was enjoying the gameplay, but the story was over and the game doesn’t have anything else for me to do. And as someone who isn’t a big fan of playing video game s for their stories in the first place I tend to wind up putting the blame on the increasing story-driven nature of modern games.

            You don’t get many people complaining that something like Minecraft is too short, after all.

            • MrWhales says:

              Well, when you are forced to make up your own content(Minecraft) you tend to not blame the one writing the story for the shortcomings(“This game sucks because I suck!”)

              • hborrgg says:

                I wouldn’t say “forced to,” I would say “when I get to.” The main quest in, say, Skyrim sort of sucks, but I had a lot of fun anyways because the story I played was definately not the one intended.

          • Peter H. Coffin says:

            On the other hand, I don’t think people all play the game the same way. Some folks play through the storyline and … they’re done. There’s nothing for them to gain by playing again. Other players, games, with the same amount of elapsed time from opening screen to closing credits, see replay as MORE fun. It’s the opportunity to to hardcore it, or speedrun it, or work on the collectables. I’m STILL replaying Diablo II, even after buying III, because there’s more to learn. Granted, Blizzard tends to write games where this kind of thing is EASY to find ways to replay it, but there’s still people that get to the “end” of the game on their first run through, and declare it “finished”, put it away, and never think about it again.

          • JPH says:

            I don’t think more padding is a result of rising development costs. There was plenty of padding in many of those older games as well.

            People like to bring up that Wolfenstein 3D had something like 40 hours of gameplay. I counter by pointing out that it’s also the most repetitive, dull, monotonous, uninteresting shooter I’ve ever played.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Because people usually say that in casual conversations.Unless you are doing a scientific research,you dont have to be careful about the precision of what you are saying,and you can leave plenty of things implied.For example,people say “This xyz sucks”,they dont say “I think that this xyz sucks”.

          • Hitch says:

            What they definitely don’t bother to say is, “Although XYZ has many redeeming features, if failed to satisfy me in a number of important respects, leaving me with an overall negative experience, but I understand that the importance of those aspects of the game may vary from player to player and not everyone in the world will share my opinion.”

            Much easier to convey all of that with, “This sucks!”

  5. McNutcase says:

    I love their confidence in your driving abilities. “Here, have a vehicle!” And then maybe 200 yards down the road “OK, we know you’ve wrecked the previous vehicle by now on this featureless expanse of road, so have another one!”

    And I can’t stop seeing that all the lovingly modelled vehicles are Ford products. It’s like taking a literature course; once you’ve trained yourself to see it, you can’t STOP seeing it!

    • Mr Guy says:

      s/”your driving abilities”/”their crappy driving physics”

      There, fixed that for you.

      • Vic says:

        It is true that the driving physics in this game are just plain awful. It didn’t really keep me from enjoying the game for what it was, but it’s an inarguable flaw.

        “I love their confidence in your driving abilities. ‘Here, have a vehicle!’ And then maybe 200 yards down the road ‘OK, we know you’ve wrecked the previous vehicle by now on this featureless expanse of road, so have another one!'”

        The kind of mind that complains about this stuff, I…

        “And I can’t stop seeing that all the lovingly modelled vehicles are Ford products. It’s like taking a literature course; once you’ve trained yourself to see it, you can’t STOP seeing it!”

        Some are licensed Ford products, others are not. But you’re right about seeing what you want to see, people do it all the time.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Also they have a habit of setting up a road block then just giving you another car immediately after.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Nevermind, commented on the wrong thing.

      • Hitch says:

        It really ramps up the tension when you know that in that 10 yard dash from one car to the next, any number of taken can jump out and engage you in yet another riveting flashlight combat sequence.

        • Zombie says:

          Dont forget the scarcity of ammo and interesting weapons choices. Or the diverse amounts of enemies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses!

        • Vic says:

          “Also they have a habit of setting up a road block then just giving you another car immediately after.”

          I can only think of one example of this, and that’s in the beginning of episode 6. Hardly a “habit”.

          Either way, I rather enjoyed the driving sequences, bad physics and all. It was a nice change of pace, but then I pretty much saw every sequence as a nice change of pace. I think they mixed it up rather well. I mean, no, they didn’t give us a light saber *tear* or make it so Alan could ninja kick the Taken into the moon… literally! But for the type of game they were obviously going for, they nailed it!

  6. Christopher M. says:

    Actually a librarian would be creepy as heck.

    Silence in the library!

  7. Chris says:

    “I’m trying to think of someone else that runs a hotel”
    Basil Faulty?

  8. Mr Guy says:

    So, did anyone else have HHGG flashbacks during the scene where you wake up with a hangover and have to find the asprin? Or am I just old?

  9. KremlinLaptop says:

    That loud “FUCK!” Josh shouted out at around seventeen minutes? It made me giggle so much.

  10. newdarkcloud says:

    Apparently, according to the Let’s Player who did Alan Wake, that particular care is a reference to Ash William’s car in Evil Dead.

    So yeah, it’s another reference that game does nothing with. All the hope Shamus put into that car, and all it was was another reference that the game does nothing with.

    Mumbles made that point weeks ago and it still stands.

  11. newdarkcloud says:

    I’m extremely disappointed that they didn’t do anything with Agent Nightingale’s hotel room. That was the perfect place to put in a couple of manuscripts to explain his backstory and possibly what happened to him. Instead, they do nothing but put a few photos and an FBI jacket in it. There was no point in letting the player explore that room.

    • Eric says:

      I agree, I really thought I missed something in there. Instead it’s kind of just an Easter egg. I don’t know if the ending was rushed (it kinda feels like a hodgepodge of earlier game ideas) but that just felt out of place to me. I wish they could have included that like 2 episodes ago rather than kill the pace by introducing a pointless motel to explore.

      • Thomas says:

        This completely. The time to give Nightingale backstory (if they’d managed to actually do that with this room) is _before_ he’s been dead for hours and not during the finale when you’re hopefully not really thinking about him

        • newdarkcloud says:

          This goes back to the point Shamus made about how you don’t need to add/remove content in the game so much as you need to rearrange what’s already there. Yeah, some things could be removed, but all that’s necessary is a rearrangement.

        • Vic says:

          I don’t know why, but I thoroughly enjoyed Episode 6. Easily my favorite episode. Not just because I like the combat (Yes, I find it thrilling and satisfying, even without bogus weaponry or ninja reflexes), but I could not get enough of the atmosphere. It’s chilling, at this stage in the game, realizing what you’re taking on in an instant, all by yourself this time around. I still get just a bit nervous when I start this one up!

          I would say that any back story the game gave about Agent Nightingale would serve to EXPLAIN something, and as the introduction warned, this game should not be counted on for that because it really zaps the life right out of a story, particularly horror and thriller. I did find it a nice little surprise, though, and was generally caught off guard by the Taken waiting for me outside.

      • MrWhales says:

        Yeah it felt like they cannibalized what they had from the open world attempt and ran with the basics that were that and didn’t bother anymore

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Me too.I came here,and was like “Oh boy,finally I can learn whats the deal with this guy”.Nope.And later,when Ive learned that you can actually find stuff about him in other works,my disappointment became anger.

  12. AlternatePFG says:

    Honestly, at this point in the game, I hoarded every single flash bang and flare I could find and skipped past all the enemies. Really obnoxious chapter, especially that final encounter before the last “boss”.

    • Vic says:

      This was my favorite episode, personally. But then, I LOVE the combat in this game, and especially love the atmosphere. Got a double dose of both here, so I was satisfied.

  13. Mr Guy says:

    OK, so how have we gotten this far in the game with no one commenting on the stupid and pointless random “hints” that show up when you die? “You can change your controller layout from the options screen!” Gee, thanks, game designers. 20 hours in, and I’m clearly still looking for that.

    I contrast this with the Arkahm Asylum/Arkham City, which had similar “hints,” but they were almost always contextual (e.g. reminding you how to avoid the guys with the stunners after you died fighting guys with stunners).

    Alan Wake just randomly selects one of it’s repertoire of about 20 hints, regardless of context. By the end of the game, I was actively angry with them “Oh, really? Sometimes if I’m overwhelmed with enemies I should run towards the light? Gee I’m glad you’re reminding me of that for the twentieth f***** time. That’s clearly the lesson I should take after driving my car off a cliff!”

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I hate when games in general do that. Nothing pisses me off more than a completely useless hint that doesn’t help me at all being given to me when I die. Although I can’t think of any good examples right now.

      EDIT: RPGs are pretty guilty of this. Fallout 3/New Vegas, Human Revolution, Mass Effect, etc. all provide fairly useless hints during the loading screens.

      • Alex says:

        I love that. I love it when a game gives me advice I either don’t need, or needed about 10 seconds ago. Or instead just shows me how to use the controller. Yes, please insult my intelligence by assuming I forgot the controls.

        I love it almost as much as historical info-dumps during load screens. Why tell me something I need to know, when you can waste my time with contextual info-dumps I could already infer from just… you know, being awake while playing the game?

        All of these things and more are why loading screens need to be phased out of video games… Besides the obvious reason.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        If they could just tier them by hours played or give a priority to new items found or something I’m sure it wouldn’t be that hard.

        • Mr Guy says:

          ^ This.

          It’s even easier to do in Alan Wake than in more “open world” games like New Vegas. Have a set of hints for each chapter. You can maybe have a hint or two span more than one chapter if it’s important and might be missed, but it would largely avoid the “you don’t say!” moments like “when the screen goes black and white you’re close to death!” comments in the last chapter.

          Plus, there were some moments that cried out for help that amazingly didn’t have any. For example – “propane tanks explode in a firey blaze after being shot” would have been highly appropriate the first time you encounter them. Or “Possessed machines can be banished with enough light.” Probably missing because they’re not “general purpose” enough…

    • Even says:

      Plenty of games like that out there. I just don’t give a damn anymore. It’s almost hilarious in older games when the loading screen goes so fast you never get to read more than a word or two.

      • Bubble181 says:

        Which bites you in the ass when it’s something you actually *need* to read. Which has happened to me a few times – old games I’ve long lost the manual to, and I *know* there’s a way to do X, but for the love of all that’s cute and fuzzy, I can’t remember how…then I load something, see what I need in a loading screen, and can’t read it because it flashes by so fast -_-

    • Cody211282 says:

      As annoying as these hints are, I would take these over the “hints” from Mass Effect 2/3 that you can never turn off and pop up all the time no matter how far you are in the game you are.

      Game 35+ hours in: Press space to run and take cover

      Me: “I’m at the F**king Collector base! I know what I’m doing by now!”

      Game: You can spend point to level up

      Me: “No! You don’t say!”

      • Sumanai says:

        Bonus points for both of those being the sort that shouldn’t need to be in the loading screen at all. If both aren’t taught by the game itself, there are some serious problems and the game shouldn’t be released. If they are, what are they doing in the loading screen?

        Brings to mind a humorous game that had completely unhelpful loading screen tips. One of them was “Tip: Loading screens occasionally offer helpful tips.”

        I can’t remember anything else about it, besides that after playing it I ran into a first impressions or something about it that mentioned in passing the tips. Which is worrying, since I think I played it last year.

      • anaphysik says:

        Actually, even worse than loading screen tips are unhelpful onscreen tips. E.g., the “Hold [button] to end the mission” that kept popping up over the post-trial dialogue in Tali’s loyalty mission. Yes, game, I know. And I most assuredly do not give a fuck. Now let me talk to Awesome’Koris already.

        (Besides, the Normandy’s only like 20m away anyway. I can /walk/ there, game.)

        • Deadfast says:

          Or as specified by the International Standard for Useless Fullscreen Messages for Games with Regenerating Health:
          You are hurt, take cover!

          Oh, thanks, I thought I landed face first in a puddle of strawberry jelly.

          • Raygereio says:

            Well concidering game developers think players are loving retarded, you have a simple choice:
            You either flatout tell them “YOU’VE BEEN HURT!!!!” via text or VA’ed messages, or you fill up the screen with obnoxious effects that obscure your vision (often aiding in your death because you frigging suddenly can’t see anything anymore) to indicate “YOU’VE BEEN HURT!!!!!”.

            Because implementing a health bar, or having a health bar and then expecting the player to pay attention to it, is just silly talk.

          • Grudgeal says:

            Or, every time you’re dying: “Hold ‘shift’ to use an ammo power!” Well, sure, I’ll just switch my bullets from the ammo I’m currently using to any of the other ammo types I *don’t* have. That’ll get me out of this mess for sure.

    • Stash Augustine says:

      The absolute worst is Metro 2033, which will say ‘You died by contacting an anomaly/ghost’ even when you died in a firefight.

      • AJ_Wings says:

        For some reason, I always imagined the developers doing it on purpose to screw around and laugh at the player.

        “Pffft, got killed by a booby trap?! It must’ve been a ghost or some crap!”

      • Raygereio says:

        Yeah, that loading tip is an odd one.
        Someone correct me on this since it’s been a while since I played Metro 2033; but I recall just two instances of ghosts and just once instance where an anomaly can kill you and at each of those instances you really have to purposfully dick around and ignore NPC dialogue to die from them.

        • LunaticFringe says:

          You are correct, there’s really only the introduction of the two concepts, and then they’re used again later (which is a shame because there was some just plain messed up anomalies in the novel that they didn’t use in the game, the ‘Never lit tunnel’ and ‘Don’t look at the Kremlin because it makes you go completely insane’ being great examples).

          I assume it’s just a general error, might have something to do with localization. I’ve been told the dialogue is incredibly different in the Russian version as well. But it’s still pretty weird to be told that fire or falling into an abyss is an anomaly.

  14. Thomas says:

    !!!!!! This game is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever played. Its like it was designed to have just enough brilliance that the incompetence is completely unbearable. It’s not even enough to make you stick around, but enough to make you regret not playing it. !!!

    To be fair to Remedy though, I was trying to think of a list of game developers who’ve been proven able/would be good at making this game and I haven’t come up with anything so far. Valve haven’t ever done cinematic/cutscene driven heavy storytelling. Maybe Naughty Dog? but they’ve always been lighter on the atmosphere and on the story. Quantic Dream would have made the same mistakes, Bioware couldn’t do it. The gameplay would be unbearable(er) if Obsidian took the reigns…

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I have to agree with you here. The worst part about Alan Wake is that it is just shy of being a great game. All you need to do is cut some combat sections and rearrange a few story bits.

      • Zombie says:

        Its like looking in a dirty window at Wonka’s factory. You know that so much great stuff is in there, but it dosnt matter, because everything looks so dirty and unappealing that you just dont want it the way it is.

      • Vic says:

        “I have to agree with you here. The worst part about Alan Wake is that it is just shy of being a great game. All you need to do is cut some combat sections and rearrange a few story bits.”

        Heck no! The combat is one of my favorite aspects of the game. It’s thrilling and satisfying, and different from other shooters that actually feel more repetitive because all you do in those is jog forward and tap/hold the shoot button.

        And what would you have rearranged? Some of it is chaotic and disorienting because, as a thriller, it’s meant to be hard to figure out. Just something to keep in mind.

    • AJ_Wings says:

      Naughty Dog have a really good chemistry with their voice actors and I can argue that they carry the story forward by themselves, their stories are absolute garbage though. I don’t know about Valve since they’ve never made an exposition-heavy, mind-screwy kind of game like Remedy does and they prefer their stories to be simplistic but well-written. Bioware… LOL.

      • Thomas says:

        Yeah this is my problem, is there anyone who can do games like this? I think it shows how young the medium still is, that there are gaping holes we haven’t explored and haven’t established techniques and general tricks for yet.

        If the Lara Croft people don’t screw up, it looks like they might have the same kind of skill set. Maybe the Silent Hill 2 team ( I haven’t played the game, but it sounds like the right mix of narrative and exploration) except they got disbanded half a decade ago. (According to Wikipedia just now that team was composed of the people who’d screwed up on other Konami projects who Konami wanted to get rid of :D Funny how the world works)

  15. Dante says:

    I’m even starting to tire of this game, its making me feel run down.

  16. Alex the Too Old says:

    Was this episode title a deliberate Smashing Pumpkins reference? Or REM? Or perhaps to that one MST3K episode with the giant grasshoppers?

    (Or I suppose it could have been something in the actual episode, I’m about 10 episodes behind in my watching)

  17. el_b says:

    speaking of evil dead, isn’t that beige sedan ash’s car from those films? From the first time I saw it I was expecting Way more references to those films.

    I think that the taken combat taunts could have been improved by having them actually begging you for help or screaming nihilistic insanity about how it’s all meaningless to show they’ve surrendered to the darkness.

    • James says:

      like that time that women got raped by a tree, that film was weird, like really weird.

      at the ruts should have said “Cave Johnson, we’re done here”, cus this combat is so bad Apature could use it to test the amount of people you can kill with bad video game combat.

      i mean its enough to drive a man to the brink, and its jsut soooo Tireing.

      BEEES

  18. Spammy says:

    THAT TUNNEL.

    Screw that tunnel. I gave up on Alan Wake for about five days after dying over and over in that tunnel, watching dudes run out from behind that one dump truck like a clown car was parked behind there. It wasn’t a rage quit so much as an “Are you kidding me?!” quit. If I hadn’t heard the hosts talking about how cool the end of Alan Wake was I would have just dropped it right there. Josh on the Evil Physics Object bridge was me in that tunnel, and we both came to the same solution.

    That’s how the developers should have known that their attempt at survival horror wasn’t working. I’m not running from the monsters because I’m scared of them or have limited resources or anything like that… I’m running because I’m tired of this game’s combat.

    • Eric says:

      The tunnel is bad, but to be honest the bridge was way worse for me. I died like ten times trying to cross it.

      • Vic says:

        The tunnel and bridge were challenging, but nothing to quit over. Sometimes you have to rethink your strategy in video games, and that “sometimes” is usually when you find yourself dying over and over again after repeatedly trying the same thing (e.g., running straight into a cluster of poltergeists as Josh did and then wondering why you’re getting hit by them from all angles).

        This is one of the reasons I liked Episode 6 the best. The combat was absolutely thrilling again. Well… I had fun with it pretty much the whole game through, but this time I knew I was 100% on my own. They did a marvelous job with the atmosphere throughout this episode.

  19. ps238principal says:

    Re: The billboard.

    It should read: “Verizon welcomes you to the mountains, and this is the only place you’ll get a signal.”

    Also, it’d be hilarious if shining your flashlight on ads made them explode.

  20. RTBones says:

    Light camping gear aside, they could have had one of the Taken use, “Can you hear me now?” as a combat taunt.

    • Vic says:

      That would be a good combat taunt if…

      A. The lines the Taken were using actually were meant to be combat taunts
      and B. They wanted to be cute in the last episode, which I don’t think they did.

  21. X2Eliah says:

    Sooo, on the point of the pretty landscape graphics..
    Do you think Skyrim would have looked better or worse with this engine (Leaving aside gameplay/character issues)? I’d personally say no, as here it seem everything is very desaturated and sepia-ish, but.. Idk. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad?

    • Eric says:

      While sometimes a game’s engine defines its art style, a sepia filter is hardly something tied to the engine. Skyrim does just as much post-processing and colour grading (I heard you like blue).

    • Alex says:

      Skyrim would have looked better if it had some variety to its environments. Of course, Alan Wake’s forests at night got old pretty fast as well.

      This is why games rely so heavily on the “fire world, ice world” line of thinking. There’s only so much snowy tundra you can show me before I just get sick of it.

      • Ringwraith says:

        …have you played Skyrim?
        It’s more than just snow, as it’s caked in snow for only about a quarter to maybe somewhere under a third of the map.
        You can easily just avoid the snow entirely if you don’t like it, there’s enough stuff to do.

  22. Eric says:

    I didn’t really mind this endgame sequence. It was overlong, yes, but the gameplay itself was actually more fun than some of the previous parts of the game. The tension with the tornado (not in this video) was actually pretty good and I felt like I really had to run for my life. They could have cut this all in half but I still enjoyed it, it just wasn’t really any better or worse than the rest of the game.

    I guess that’s actually sort of the problem – it’s a retread of all the previous game concepts without really introducing anything new. A final ultimate weapon or something would have been a good way to spice things up and probably would have made the ending go by much quicker.

    • Sagretti says:

      That makes me wonder why they didn’t make “The Clicker” a final ultimate mega weapon of doom. It wouldn’t even have to do much, just take out all the Taken surrounding you, with a long enough cooldown that you have to use it sparingly.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        You know what, that would’ve been awesome. Have that and a flashlight be your only weapon for a few minutes of fighting where you can just use a button to summon a great light to kill your enemies.

        The worst part is that they do something like that in the DLC. In “The Writer”, once sane Alan has accepted how much of a jerk he was and how much he wants to change for Alice, the crazed half of him throws all the Taken he can at sane Alan. All Alan has to do is use the flashlight to open the line of sight between the Taken and the lighthouse light, and that kills all of them. It symbolizes how he’s regaining control of his mind. It was actually a very well done sequence imo.

      • Vic says:

        “That makes me wonder why they didn’t make ‘The Clicker’ a final ultimate mega weapon of doom. It wouldn’t even have to do much, just take out all the Taken surrounding you, with a long enough cooldown that you have to use it sparingly.”

        Pssh. What made that last episode so great was that you WEREN’T quite so sure you were a badass in this realm. Making Alan a certifiable badass would’ve destroyed the intensity. At least that’s how I would describe episode 6: intense!

        But I would like something like that in American Nightmare’s Arcade Mode. “Fight Til Dawn” goes beyond intense into INSANE!!

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ugh,this chapter…Really,I have to repeat again:Why do designers think that just putting more of the same in the end makes it epic and climactic?Its not,its just annoying!

    Anyway,Ive been playing the darkness 2 recently,and that is a game that does “is this real or not” so much better than alan wake.There are these few levels in a loony bin where you see characters from the game as patients and staff,and they never outright tell you which is the illusion and which is the real thing.Ok,one guy tells you,but he is nuts in both worlds.

    Off topic addendum:I saw iron sky yesterday,and it was wunderbar.

    • Hitch says:

      The pitfall of not making the climax more of the same is a DX:HR type situation where the boss fights don’t fit in with the rest of the game. You learn one skill set for 95% of the game, then get to the climax and none of that matters any more. You have to do something completely different and it doesn’t feel like it belongs in the game you’ve been playing.

      I’m not saying it can’t be done right. But it takes a lot of skill to balance just how different the climax can be.

      • Thomas says:

        DX:HR had climaxes that weren’t boss fights though, and they did the last one right. I even think that the bad boss fights would have been saveable with a relatively small amount of tweaking.

        Just a scene with umpteen enemies but an unlimited supply of flashbangs? Or the above suggested clicker thing.

        I mean the skills the player has acquired are 1. Pointing at things and clicking. 2. Pointing and clicking things at the same time.

        DX:HR had a huge amount of different skills the player should have acquired, whereas this skill set is basically the same skill set used in most games with most boss fights ever.

        Here even a very standard boss fight would have worked big guy, timing attacks whatever, or better yet, nothing at all. They don’t need to throw this stuff at you, if it’s not going to ramp up the tension, why do it? I mean they had you get out of the car multiple times just to get in a car a few metres away. What’s the point of that?

    • Vic says:

      “Ugh,this chapter…Really,I have to repeat again:Why do designers think that just putting more of the same in the end makes it epic and climactic?Its not,its just annoying!”

      That’s odd. I never once felt that Episode 6 was just “more of the same”. It seemed much more intense, and I knew I was going to have to do it all on my own this time.

      I think it’s safe to say, though, that if you don’t like the combat or the atmosphere in this game, you will absolutely hate the last episode.

      “Anyway,Ive been playing the darkness 2 recently,and that is a game that does ‘is this real or not’ so much better than alan wake.There are these few levels in a loony bin where you see characters from the game as patients and staff,and they never outright tell you which is the illusion and which is the real thing.Ok,one guy tells you,but he is nuts in both worlds.”

      Obviously, Alan Wake wasn’t trying an “Is this real or not?”, or they wouldn’t have told us outright that Hartman was lying. The point is the journey, not questioning Alan’s sanity. It’s more that you know it’s all real, so you know you’re trapped like a rat to endure it.

  24. Tvtim says:

    I’m just gonna say it and not care how stupid it makes me look/sound: I thought that his wife at 6 minutes into the video was a cardboard cut-out of Alan. I don’t know why, but I thought it was Alan’s cut-out holding his latest book…it was a very WTF? moment until it started moving and I realized who it was.

    • Thomas says:

      We all know that’s what Alan thinks about when he looks at her anyway :D

    • Hitch says:

      I know it’s not supposed to be a “scary” or horror game, but they have tried a number of times to include unsettling images. None have worked as well as when I was watching the video and the camera turned to her standing perfectly still in the kitchen waiting for her cue and I thought, “Gah! Where did that come from!”

      • ps238principal says:

        Followed by the gratuitous bum-shot of her leaning over into the fridge with Alan’s face in the background.

        I’m sure they thought they were being titillating, but I only thought “huh, now I can’t tell which ass is which.”

      • LunaticFringe says:

        What *insert jump scare of the Dark Presence* attempts *insert shot of Alice being dragged down into the lake* at unsettling *insert jump scare again* images *insert shot of Barry topless just to confuse the hell out of the audience* are you talking about?

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,on the subject of donations,did anyone donate duke nukem to Rutskarn?

  26. Irridium says:

    Bit off topic, but I noticed that the episode where you did Elevator Source isn’t on the main Spoiler Warning page. Would be great if it was added. An episode that great deserves to be there.

  27. Merkel says:

    What really bothers me about this episode is how Alan is unshaven on the talk show, but they changed the character model to make him seem clean-shaven when walking around the apartment. Then we find out that he stayed out partying all night with Barry, and passed out shortly after getting home. So does this imply that part of Alan and Barry’s hanging out ritual is shaving each other? Did Alan’s wife shave him in his sleep? The mind boggles at the possibilities.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Let’s say it all together now, “Alan Wake is a bad writer”. Because that totally solves any incongruities whatsoever, right?

      Also, I bet it’s just a fake beard drawn with a sharpie pen to make him seem more “rugged” when he’s out in public.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        What “incongruities”?

        I see no evidence that Alan is a bad writer. If you’re talking about the manuscripts, do bear in mind that these were more written by the dark presence than Alan due to all the revisions (mentioned in the game). We have to take it as a given that Alan is a good writer, considering his fame for being exactly that. The game ‘Alan Wake’ is written by the guys telling Alan’s story, which would be the guys at Remedy.

        Not that I consider any of it poorly written, really. Could’ve had some better voice actors in a few parts, but the writing was quite good, IMO.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      “What really bothers me about this episode is how Alan is unshaven on the talk show, but they changed the character model to make him seem clean-shaven when walking around the apartment. Then we find out that he stayed out partying all night with Barry, and passed out shortly after getting home. So does this imply that part of Alan and Barry’s hanging out ritual is shaving each other? Did Alan’s wife shave him in his sleep? The mind boggles at the possibilities.”

      Not really. Wouldn’t it be perfectly reasonable to assume he shaved before going out to do all the partying? Perhaps he chose not to shave for the talk show because that’s sort of the “in” thing for male celebrities in general right about now. Or, they typically record these shows in the morning, right? Perhaps he was running late and just said “Screw it” on the shaving (a scatterbrained mess; doesn’t that fit into his character?) But sometime between finishing the show (likely before or around noon), he came home and had plenty of time to shower and shave before it was time to pah-tay, which for celebrities usually means meeting new contacts for networking, etc.

  28. Lord Nyax says:

    I don’t know if someone has mentioned it before, but it’s driving me crazy.

    The Pacific northwest is chock full of hydroelectric dams.

    I live in the woods. In rural Lewis county to be specific, an area fairly similar to Bright Springs. Roughly. And I can tell you that withen a 20 minute drive of my house there are no less than three hydroelectric dams. They’re everywhere. There are 47 of them in the entire state. According to the Department of the Interior in 2002 about 80% of all electrical power in Washington came from hydroelectric dams. So….stop saying there aren’t any!

    Tornados? No tornados! Huge steel bridges? Not many! But dams make sense, given the setting.

  29. The Truth says:

    I actually LIKE the whole “Previously on Alan Wake” thing. Goes with the rest of the presentation, which is obviously going for a TV series sort of feel. Very cool.

    0:35 – You’re told everything about Alan and Alice that you need to know in the beginning of the game. This scene in the apartment is just a reminder of it all, before it gives you the huge block of combat I’m already expecting you guys to be whining the whole way through :P

    Oh, but you’re not supposed to be caring about Alan. You’re supposed to be caring about ALICE, that’s what the entire game is about.

    1:40 – What’s wrong with them making references to their own game? Particularly after making a LOT more references to other artists from writers to video game developers to directors, etc.? If your goal is to convince us Remedy is self-centered, you gotta try harder than that.

    1:58 – Remember what I said in the last episode about collectibles needing no other explanation besides “They’re there for you to collect if you want”? Same for the QR codes! You shouldn’t be asking for story explanations for crap like this.

    6:34 – “Where are his sunglasses? Did you just take off your sunglasses? I didn’t see him take off his sunglasses, did he eat them?” He took them off at precisely 6:25 in the video.

    Stop trying so hard.

    7:00 – That scene wasn’t at the very beginning of the game because it wasn’t necessary to establish that Alice is in trouble and she’s someone you should care about saving. And in general, it wasn’t essential to the plot.

    8:00 – “Why is he powering?” Lol, okay this is definitely a dumb one, sorry. Did any of you notice Cynthia in the background that very next second, opening the door? Geez.

    8:30 – How are the advertisements “obnoxious”? Seems like something you would see in real life to me. Billboards with actual advertisements on them. And you mean to say this one wasn’t as GOOD as the TV in the lodge, because the TV in the lodge was pure genius.

    9:10 – In just a few moments, you get to make the realization that the dark presence has some truly considerable power now, even during the day. That truck being there is explicable, just with an explanation that is also eventual. Wait for it ;)

    10:40 – The story ALWAYS obeys its own rules.

    11:20 – Well the conclusion a THINKING person would’ve drawn is that the darkness has now become extremely powerful, because Alan has been following the story which gives it its power (a dynamic that is introduced, repeatedly, in those narrations, manuscripts, and videos you guys just talked over the whole game through).

    Nice idea about the day to night tunnel. Yeah, I would’ve liked that better too.

    13:00 ish – So, your concept of the perfect final episode is just driving there in daylight and fighting the tornado? Never mind that whole “dark presence wants to stop Wake” idea, because why would the villain want to harm the protagonist? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    13:30 – There most certainly WAS reason to stop there! There’s a good deal of ammo and weapons you missed, and some collectibles too. You guys do that sort of thing a lot, actually.

    14:35 – “This sequence, this whole sequence! Why do you do this to yourselves, game designers, this is just so unnecessary.”

    Well that was certainly insightful criticism.

    15:00 – I love it! “This isn’t combat, really, just stuff getting in your way slowing you down”. And then you died. Maybe that’s because you were actually supposed to be fighting? :P :P

    17:25 – “You know what the Pacific Northwest is known for, is really big ass bridges!”

    Not that a video game would need to match real life in terms of man-made structures, but they do have quite a few. The Yaquina Bay Bridge in Oregon is much larger than the one in Alan Wake.

    Keep reaching.

    “Yeah, seriously. And it’s to complement their hydroelectric dams!”

    Okay, STOP reaching. This is just embarrassing. There are plenty of hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest, as there are coal mines, as there are SILVER mines, as there are tornadoes, as there are lakes. Just. Give. Up with this angle because it’s pure BS.

    Best attempt: “No volcanoes!”
    Reasonable response: “Why do you assume Cauldron Lake is merely a caldera, what with all the supernatural beings and weird things going on around it and in it? It’s much more likely a gate to the underworld or center of the Earth where there most certainly will be fire.”

    BTW, the bridge seems so long because you keep dying and having to re-do fractions of it. Just sayin’.

    I’ll concede to the repeated car models being less than what we’d have preferred. But since this isn’t a game where the focus is on the driving, car collecting, etc. I’ll let it pass as a “flaw”.

    21:00 – I’d sure like to know where you got the idea “Modern camping equipment is lightweight” was meant to be a combat taunt. Or was it just a convenient BS claim to set up your criticism of it AS a combat taunt? And how on earth is it NOT something a camper would say? You beeble are weerb.

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