Alan Wake - impressions

You'll never be in control of Alan Wake's beautiful, expansive world. You won't bestride its mountains with a rocket launcher, knowing you can blow away its bad guys. In fact, you won't be seeking confrontation at all because you're not even sure how your enemies can be killed...

Alan's a writer. His girlfriend disappeared, eerily reflecting the events of his bestseller. He develops insomnia. He goes to a private sleep clinic in remote Bright Falls, set in mountainous Washington State. Finding sleep, at last, his dreams are vivid and disturbing. When he wakes he finds words in his notebooks... in his own handwriting. The events those words describe begin to come true.

The division between hallucination and reality becomes blurred. Twin Peaks is an obvious reference, not least for its cut-with-a-knife atmosphere; orchestral swells accompany the dramatic scenery and mysterious events. In one scene, Alan stops to pick up a hitchhiker. Further along, there's a body in the road. Stopping and getting out to check the body, Alan's car is suddenly slammed into by a truck; he blacks out.

Coming to, it's dark. His car, the truck and the hitchhiker are gone, and he has a gun in his hand. A shadowy being appears in the darkness and Alan legs it to the only sign of habitation - a shack on a hillside. As the being closes in, the streetlights explode and Alan can only use his torch to keep the strange monster at bay. Upon reaching the shack... well, that's where the cruel Remedy boys, previously known of course for the Max Payne games, ended the demonstration.