Saturday, June 5, 2010

Alan Wake gameplay is short, Bullsh*t


A week ago I took the liberty of purchasing Alan Wake over Red Dead Redemption, getting lots of annoying comments that I should have rented the game and bought Red Dead instead. The main complaints being that Alan Wake has a shorter, 5-7 hours of gameplay and no multiplayer. Fair enough warning, but I trusted my gut.

It's officially been a week, and except for today and Wednesday I have not gone a day without playing Alan Wake. I played it on Normal but went out of my way to grab manuscript pages and coffee thermos for certain achievements. I have put a total of eight and a half hours straight into the game, roughly ten hours likely as I am on the final chapter. The point i'm trying to make is that when it comes to video games, quantity over quality seems to be the leeway for most gamers nowadays. That isn't new to me but it's certainly been a big point in selling a game, having multiplayer that is.

Alan Wake at times was supposed to be designed as a sandbox game like Red Dead, but ended up being more focused on its story. The sad part is people who review the games beforehand rush through the games, obviously. The reviewers had to hurry and finish the game in order to review it, hoping to get the most attention as frontier testers of the game. Alan Wake is not the first game in the last year to be criticized as short, Ghostbusters, Modern Warfare 2 and Left 4 Dead also were commented on this aspect. yet the game was pulling 9.1/10 on IGN.

I have not played Red Dead Redemption and don't plan to, I am purposefully avoiding the game for a simple reason. Alan Wake made me realize why I don't usually like sandbox games, there is no importance or reward to what you do in sandbox games except for achievements if you get lucky in your random exploring. Alan Wake's manuscript collecting makes you search all the areas available to you, even as limited as the areas are. The game doesn't just have a great story, the manuscripts tell you what's ahead, what's happening in the aftermath of your actions and novelizes your experience.

That alone added about an hour of reading the manuscripts, and i'm curious as to how many reviewers just ran past the taken AND the manuscripts. It's very easy to do sometimes, but I had fun taking them all down and finding the goodies. Unlike most games, the goodies stand out in special ways Remedy must have put in to enrich the experience.

Regardless, if you are avoiding the choice of buying Alan Wake because of replayability or how short the story seemed to be. Get it. The episodic format cut scenes, the manuscripts, all add to the gameplay length and if you pass on these, then I don't know why you would ever want to play the game in the first place.

I'll be doing a video review after I finish the last chapter which i'm on, but for now I wanna tear down that complaint about it being too short. There is plenty of aspects to "lengthen" the levels if you care to hear, and with the story being the soul of this game; missing it IS making this game too expensive if you don't care. What's the point of buying a game if you don't get all the fun you can out of it?

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