Review: Alan Wake (PC)
The action-packed psychological thriller, Alan Wake, has finally made its way onto PC, after years of bumpy development. Previously an Xbox360 exclusive, the game launched to widespread critical acclaim, but the damage of the PC version's cancellation had already been done regarding its fan-base. Now, the game is finally out on the platform it seemingly was always meant to be on, and it's now time to see whether it was worth the lengthy wait, or if it's just a second-rate port in the end.
- Worth The Time?Yes, definitely
- Things LovedAction packed, good cinematics, memorable cut scenes, compelling story, great controls, pretty effects, fantastic and problem-free performance on PC, the slightly better graphics, both DLC packs included, the ease in which you're able to play, quick loading times, good PC optimisation
- Things HatedBad lip syncing is still present, Alan Wake's lack of stamina — the guy can barely run 10 meters without needing to catch his breath, which can turn tension into frustration, the small delay for the retail version
- RecommendationIf you're like me and never got the chance to play Alan Wake on Xbox360, then you couldn't ask for a more perfect opportunity than this. It was definitely one of the coolest Xbox360 games, and it's even better on PC.
- Name: Review: Alan Wake (PC)
- Genre: Third Person Shooter, Psychological Thriller
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, Xbox360 (May 2010)
- Developer: Remedy Entertainment, Nitro Games (PC Assisstance)
- Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, Remedy Entertainment, Nordic Games (PC)
- Price: $29.99 (Steam), TBC (Retail)
- Reviewed On: PC
Alan Wake was released exclusively on Xbox360 back in May of 2010, and it was a great game to say the least. For me, it was actually one of the few games on Xbox360 that made me green with envy. Now, the sad part is that Remedy always wanted a PC version, and it was actually on the cards until Microsoft decided to cancel it. However, despite that, the developers still wanted to release a PC version, and so Remedy continued to press Microsoft for the green light, eventually getting it around the middle of 2011 only. Apparently, the green light was given not just because of Remedy’s pestering, but also because of its good standing with Microsoft, and the time allocation, in that the PC version was meant to be available ahead of American Nightmare. Long story short, Remedy got back to work, and instead of picking up from the scrapped PC version, it actually worked from the Xbox360 code and proceeded to add in some new features in order to utilise some of the more powerful elements on modern hardware. Finally, the game was officially announced last December, and here we are.
Now, we’ve already reviewed the game back on Xbox360, so it would be pointless to do so again. If you’re hearing about the game for the first time, then it would be best to revisit the original review. But if you’re only interested in hearing how the PC version turned out, then that’s exactly what I’ll be on about. Firstly, the PC version comes packed with both DLC packs, namely The Signal and The Writer, which is cool. But the thing to take note of is that as of now, the game is only available through Steam, with a retail release planned for March 2, which is quite a bummer. However, on a happier note, the PC version of Alan Wake seems to be performing quite well, which Remedy revealing that it has recovered from its development and marketing costs for it within the first two days of it being on sale.
As a PC gamer, the first thing you’d probably find yourself wondering about is whether or not the installation process is a hassle. Well, I had absolutely no problems with it in that regard, and there’s certainly no annoying DRM to worry about. Secondly, and most importantly, PC gamers would find themselves then thinking about whether or not the game is a proper effort or a lazy port, and the implications of that. Quite happily I am able to say that the game’s journey to PC has been handled fantastically. Not only has the game been optimised really well, but everything you usually want and expect to get in a PC game is here, such as fully customisable graphics and control settings. On that note, there isn’t a huge upgrade in the game’s graphics, but there’s a noticeably small improvement. It’s also extremely comfortable to play, and it controls excellently on PC, and feels right at home.
It was easy for me to love this game and have a great time, and not just because it’s the first time I played it properly from start to finish rather than in bits and pieces. The reason is because it’s just a great experience to have. For one, I encountered absolutely no bugs, glitches, framerate drops, crashes or technical problems of any kind. It was responsive, smooth and awesome the whole way through. Well, aside from the bad lip syncing issues that are still here. Secondly, one of the best parts for me was that there were barely any loading times, and whenever they came up they were extremely short. I did play it on a pretty powerful gaming rig, mind you, but as I said before it’s been optimised really well so it’s unlikely you’ll face any problems as it’s not too taxing on hardware either.
Alan Wake is not the longest game by any means, as it only has six chapters presented episodically. However, each of them are quite long, and the game flows really well through them. It will take you about ten hours to complete the game entirely, give or take a few, and with the two added DLC packs you’ll probably get an extra hour’s worth or so out of the game, and that’s a pretty sweet deal considering the current price. It might be a good idea to pick it up now while there’s still some time to kill before March’s releases, or failing that you can always look forward to getting it one day as a retail purchase. It’s definitely worth the time, and its fluid pacing makes it a great game to spend a weekend with. It’s solidly entertaining, and has a engrossing story to boot, which will keep you hooked.
Alan Wake on PC is a great experience to have. It may not have made any major advancements from the Xbox360 version, but in the end it’s more or less exactly what we wanted. Remedy did a fine job bringing it to the platform, and it feels right at home. Try not to miss out on this game, if you can help it.