I completed Alan Wake and the 2 DLC packs yesterday. In the end, my initial issues with the gameplay were negated mostly through my decision to ignore all the collectables off the beaten path (@feenwager was completely right in this regard) as well as Remedy’s use of more focused environments (i.e less open space for random enemies to appear all around me just for the sake of frustrating me). While an number of set spaces did rely on that mechanic (hello Rock Stage) and did drive me nuts as times (although the Rock Stage actually made that one set piece memorable regardless), Remedy didn’t stick to that so much as to make me put the game down.
My reaction to the game’s ending and subsequent DLC falls much in the same way as @bluesforbuddha described when he first played the game, namely (and I am paraphrasing here so please feel free to correct me if I mis-characterize – I am going mostly on memory): WTF Remedy and screw you for making me pay extra to get the ending I actually wanted and expected! I had avoided spoilers on this game somehow (or at least forgetting them by now), so I didn’t know exactly what to expect here – I just had some vague ideas based on discussion by the Squad. Even if I didn’t have to deal with the initial delay between the release of the game and its DLC packs, the fact that I needed to pony up more cash to see the story through further is horseshit in the highest order…. especially considering that the final DLC pack “The Writer” was actually my favorite episode in the game. I loved the “Ferris Wheel of the Mind” portion of it and the idea that most players won’t actually ever see that part of the experience is ridiculous to me.
All in all, Alan Wake did a lot of things well… the atmosphere, the ridiculously beautiful setting in the Pacific Northwest (note to developers: more of THIS please), the episodic nature of the game which allows for each section of the game to have a nice build-up with a denouement and a cliff-hanger ending to entice you to continue, etc… Will I ever play this game again? No, simply because I have no desire to slog through the woods finding all the collectables as I pull my hair out but I am happy I got through it.
Moving on now, as a palate cleanser, I rented Bulletstorm and so far, it is exactly what I needed after Alan Wake: just some stupid, dumb fun. While there are moments that make me shake my head in shame and be thankful that no one is around to observe my playthrough, it’s still enjoyable and will most certainly worth the 8$ I spent renting it for a week.
@bluesforbuddha I was ready to dig back into the ‘Splosion Man experience with Ms. ‘Spolsion Man but after seeing the GB quick look and reading that, I’m not so sure anymore…. think I may wait until it hits a sale price before I give it a shot.