2008's Alone in the Dark can be summarized in two words: poor execution. The game was a technical mess, wrapped within a ridiculous story, but its ambition and attempt at innovation are impossible to deny. In fact, Alan Wake – which released last week to mostly positive reviews – shares many of the same ideas and concepts.
The one very distinguishable difference? Alan Wake is actually good, while Alone in the Dark is clearly not. Here's how two surprisingly similar games ended up so far apart in quality.
Alan Wake closes each chapter by cutting to an Alan Wake logo and playing credits-style music. When you start the next chapter, either immediately or days later, you are greeted with a "Previously on Alan Wake," and are given a very informative flashback cutscene telling you what happened in the previous chapter. Alone in the Dark literally shows credits at the end of every chapter, but they are thankfully skippable. Whenever you return to the game, you are given a similar "Previously on Alone in the Dark" flashback sequence.
The only reason Alone in the Dark gets the edge here is because it is also presented like a DVD, enabling you to rewind or fast-forward to any section of the game at any time. If you are frustrated by a chapter, skip it. If you want to jump to the end and get the game over with (which many undoubtedly did), you can! And if you want to experience it all in order, that option certainly exists as well. Alan Wake does offer the ability to revisit any episode upon completion, but Alone in the Dark's "play anything at any time" approach is definitely cooler.
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