by Christopher Park
previewed on X360
The importance of good lighting (cont.)
Light will be a very important resource for Wake, because it is the main deterrent against the enigmatic and ominous dark presence. The presence has taken over many of the locals of Bright Falls. It has made them extremely hostile towards Wake and anyone left unaffected by the presence, leaving Wake to fight through the night by using the power of light. A pretty obvious and almost melodramatic dichotomy there, but Wake needs light to survive.
Hostiles consumed by the presence are largely invulnerable in the dark. Light will sear them, leaving them open to any sort of attack. Wake will carry around a flashlight and aiming down with it will cause it to become a focused beam that acts as a reticule and a weapon, allowing you to shoot down enemies. Other light sources also become available, like powering generators to create a temporary safe haven, and even flare guns. And, on the occasion, you will have neither a flashlight nor a gun. Just you, the dark, possessed villagers wanting every little piece of you and the atmosphere pressing down on you.
Atmosphere is something Remedy is really hoping to get right. They’ve said that they wanted to capture a very spooky, horror/thriller type of atmosphere and much of that is going to have to come out from the audiovisuals. Graphically, it isn’t the same jaw-dropping splendor it was when it was first revealed, but a lot has happened in the world of graphics in video games since then. Still, the game looks great, capturing vastness of the wilderness. With light playing a central role in the gameplay, the lighting also looks impressive, piercing the prominent darkness when the sun sets.
Audio seems to be coming along well too, with the voice acting sounding well above average and up to the usual standards Remedy has set for themselves ever since they released both Max Payne games. There isn’t too much to be said on the audio other than that everything’s sounding just right. Guns sound punctual, environmental sounds sound authentic and in general Remedy’s always done a good job with the audiovisuals and Alan Wake looks to be no exception.
Will we ever see it on PC?
Currently, the only platform Alan Wake is hitting is the Xbox 360, with the PC version being in some strange limbo state. Remedy has said they would like to get the PC version out, but its release date is a mystery. It’s a bit obvious which platform Microsoft Games Studio, the publisher, wants this game to truly flourish on, but there shouldn’t too much worry on the state of a PC port. Whatever the case may be, Alan Wake is finally coming. Remedy’s sure has taken their time, but it looks like it’s been time well spent.