But even the appearance of light can be unsettling. Remedy have clearly been rifling through their horror catalog to see how all the classics use their mise-en-scene (yeah, we went to film school - it means all that’s framed within the camera) to their advantage. Alan Wake is no different. The day/night cycles can make the exact same landscape look like a completely different scenario depending on the hour, and with the player worn down and really ragged from constant harassment, even the most romantic sunset will have you frantically scrabbling in your inventory pocket in case those sinister leaves fluttering around your feet “start something.” Your 360 is once again engaging in psychological warfare with you - but on a whole new level. It’s a step beyond the “boo” mentality of Doom, and it’s more advanced even than F.E.A.R.’s jarring peaks and endless troughs. In Alan Wake, the Xbox 360, under Remedy’s orders, is letting you - here’s the good bit - scare yourself.
Just like you should never listen to the hype, here you shouldn’t pay heed to Alan Wake’s lack of hype - this is yet another integral foundation in Microsoft’s domineering fortress of exclusives. And from what we’ve seen, it’s a banker.