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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Strong message of love, finding a way to confront your own weaknesses, become someone better in the process. Character fighting forces of darkness isn't done out of selfish desire but rather to solve mystery of what's happening, save love of his life.
Positive Role Models
Alan Wake is a creative, talented writer who started small, worked his way to success. At start, Wake constantly getting into trouble, treating others poorly. But over course of game, Wake forced to face consequences of his past behavior, ultimately become a better person in end.
Ease of Play
Straightforward action, but a learning curve for cinematic, slow-motion dodge timing.
Violence & Scariness
Players fight all manner of possessed people, items with a combination of light sources (flashlights, flares, and the like), firearms. Player mainly shooting realistic guns at humanoid creatures. That being said, amount of blood is minimal, as defeated enemies usually burn away in flash of light, ash.
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Some swear words scattered through, including "s--t," "asshole," "bitch," "damn," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
First installment in a new franchise, which has included a pseudo sequel, prequel video series. Makes frequent use of product placement, including Verizon, Energizer.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some characters shown drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, with some characters obviously inebriated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alan Wake is a supernatural-themed action-adventure game. Players will face human characters possessed by dark forces and fight them off with a combination of light sources and various firearms. Although the enemies disintegrate after being defeated, parents should still understand that players will be shooting realistic weapons at humanlike creatures. The game's characters make occasional use of profanity, with some also shown smoking and drinking. Product placement is integrated throughout the game, advertising things such as Energizer batteries and Verizon Wireless services.
Is It Any Good?
If you're going to cast a writer as the main character in a video game, you'd better make sure that the story is at least as compelling as anything he might create; thankfully, this adventure crafts an engaging plot that keeps the player on the edge of his seat. One of the more unique ways Alan Wake grabs hold of the player's attention is in its episodic construction. Each chapter is presented as if it's an episode of a TV show, complete with chapter credits and "Previously On" opening highlights. This narrative framing gives the player a constant sense of accomplishment after completing each chapter, while also dropping regular cliffhanger bread crumbs that keep the player eager to discover what happens next.
Ironically, the best things about the game also works against it, and, because the rest of the game is so thematically good, it's an extremely jarring experience when it falters. For example, there are two collectibles that players search for in the game: manuscript pages and coffee thermoses. The first actually makes sense in the context of the game's story, and each page gives insight not only into Alan Wake's past but also a glimpse into future events in the plot. Those coffee thermoses, though, serve no purpose whatsoever, other than to give completists something to look for. But this pulls the player out of the narrative completely. And since the story is a straightforward narrative, once it's over, it's over. Much like a really good book or a great movie, once you see it through to the end, you'll probably only go back from time to time to relive the experience, even though the surprises have lost their edge.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.