Alan Wake: The Writer Review
Alan Wake's Special Episodes story arc comes to a close and it's worth witnessing.
Despite being released back in May, the story of writer Alan Wake still isn't finished yet. With the six episode game and the first epilogue chapter released, it's about time the final part of the story was finally revealed to the world. Fortunately, it's well worth the wait. If you haven't finished the main game, spoilers may follow.
The new episode picks up shortly after The Signal left off. The Writer wraps up the story behind The Signal perfectly and in the process gives the original ending further perspective setting the stage for further exploration. While the first part of the finale felt restrained and limited, with just a few really cool memorable moments, this second half is where developers Remedy really let themselves go. 'The Writer' is chock full of jaw-dropping moments and set-pieces that will leave your head spinning even as you watch it
One moment you're leaping across word-rocks that hang over an endless chasm, the next you're running around inside a spinning cabin, trying to find the way out. Before long you're leaping across debris being spun around by a nightmarish tornado, then you find yourself sprinting through memorable locations from the first game that have all been placed inside an enormous Ferris wheel. Even the final desperate scramble to safety and the end boss battle are hugely exciting and incredible in their intensity. From the moment you start, this feels like a true evolution of the Alan Wake idea - far more so than 'The Signal' could even hint at.
The level design is simply brilliant, managing to combine the open world feel of the game with the terrible emptiness of the Dark Place. Your goal is a lighthouse on a vast and unending horizon, but you can always turn around and see the winking lights from the lodge you started the chapter off in. It's a simple idea and a powerful one that means you'll always know where your goal is.
The episode will last you at least 1 hour 30 minutes which is generally the length of an Alan Wake episode excluding a few cases. New unlockables in the form of 10 "Night Springs: The Videogame" are present and scattered throughout the episode. In the original game, Night Springs was the name given to a fictional TV show akin to the Twilight Zone. When you are near a collectible, a "swoosh" sound similar to the Xbox 360's start up noise can be heard informing you of its presence. Manuscript pages make somewhat of a return but not in the same form as the original game.
In game advertising is essentially non-existent, no branded items or "easter eggs" for those familiar with certain advertising slogans exists in the episode. It's difficult to determine whether this change was due to fan feedback or as a result of the setting as either can apply.
That small disappointment aside, it's wonderful to have the story of Alan Wake finished at long last. With any luck, we won't have to wait five more years for the sequel. Better than 'The Signal' and a fitting end to Wake's first chapter, 'The Writer' is damn-near essential for anyone who has followed the writer's epic struggle up to this point.
A quality cinematic experience as one would expect from Alan Wake from beginning to end.
As stunning as the actual game, with the added bonus of insane level design and incredible ideas.
Largely the same excluding voice overs, certain sound effects, and the end game music. Audio that was remixed for story purposes added an interesting touch to the game.
A fitting end to one of the most engrossing stories of all time.