Remedy is at it again, bringing in the first of two down-loadable expansions for this psychological thrill fest, Alan Wake: The Signal. Flashlight in hand, Alan Wake returns right were he left off in the original story. Confused and losing his mind, Alan Wake finds himself in an increasingly twisted and dangerous Bright Falls.
Game Features and Summary
In the first game, Alan Wake used his flashlight as a sort of weapon or shield again harm, making creatures vulnerable so they could be destroyed. Now his most useful and reliable tool has been turned against him if he is not careful with it.
Certain objects explode if touched by the light, and others come to life to beat him senseless. This surprising new element changes the game, but mostly by making it harder. There seem to be far more dark areas, and the game likes to tease by popping out lights just as Alan is about to reach them. This adds a bit to the tenseness of the gameplay but also serves to make for a more difficult but enjoyable experience.
Gameplay and Control
Other than the new game mechanics and general tweaks, the game controls are nearly identical to the original game. Motion on the screen is fluid and fast, and character response is quick and expected.
The graphics are quite good. Detailed environments and enemies show off the power of the Xbox. The contrast between the light and dark areas of the game along with the overall creepiness of the areas will keep most gamers sitting on the edge of their chairs with their controllers firmly in their hands for the duration.
Spooky sound effects are dead-on, adding a new level to the gaming experience. Hearing enemies before you even see them will have players spinning around in a panic searching for the next threat. The voice work is superb as in the original game, bringing life to the interesting cast of characters.
Final Score and Last Impressions
This deeply disturbing game retains much of the same characteristics that gave the original so much appeal. Staying alive against possessed inanimate objects and deadly creatures is rarely so much fun. Also appealing is the price tag: $0, at least for people who buy the first game. Other who wish to download the expansion will pay all of a whopping $7. There are about 2 hours of playtime here, and a few burning questions get answered, the rest to be (hopefully) uncovered in the next episode.
Final Score: 8