I’ve commented previously on Alone in the Dark, and my view has pretty much been this: interesting idea, unique gameplay, wrapped in a shell of horrible writing, voice acting, and gameplay contrivances. There’s a lot of wasted potential, and a game that seems to be capitalizing on that potential is Alan Wake.
Alan Wake has some similarities to AitD, most notably in the “episodic” nature of the game. In the latter, that included “Previously on” segments at the beginning of chapters, as well as the ability to skip whole portions of the game at will (excluding skipping ahead to the last chapter). Alan Wake also includes “Previously on” segments at the beginning of its “episodes,” but seems to (thankfully) lack the skipping ability. Now, when it came to AitD, the “previously on” stuff was ridiculous and over the top. I haven’t yet seen it for Alan Wake, but I hope they aren’t so bad.
The difference, mainly, comes in the presentation. Where AitD fails, Alan Wake seems to succeed. It presents itself as a “tv show” of sorts, but is fully committed to that moniker – every episode is supposed to have it’s own peaks and valleys and generally ends on a cliffhanger. Most interestingly, the show features in-game voiceovers by the titular character, adding to the narrative. This commitment, in my mind, makes it much better than Alone in the Dark. You can watch some videos here, which gives some insight into how the game will play.
As a fan of both TV and video games, I’m looking forward to seeing how the game turns out. Word on the street is that it plays much better than AitD, which is reassuring; there’s always a chance the game will be terrible, though. Either way, I’ll make sure to blog about it – I put in my preorder yesterday.