Alan Wake DLC: The Signal
|Game Name:||Alan Wake: The Signal|
|Publisher(s):||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Genre(s):||Survival Horror, Psychological Thriller, Action|
|Release Date:||July 27, 2010|
Just when I thought I figured out what was going on in Alan Wake, I had to go and play “The Signal.” I had an hour long conversation with SuperTom exploring the plot and feeling comfortable with my conclusion, and then it all went to hell. “The Signal,” the first of two DLC packs for Alan Wake, carries all the mystery and excitement from the game, but brings a new approach at presenting it. It picks up right where the game left off, with Alan still trying to solve the mystery of the darkness as his world continues to crumble around him. Yet, if he thought he was going to get any closure, he needs to wake up.
I really applaud this DLC for not doing what many others have done, which is regurgitating the same exact gameplay with only a slight change and asking for 800 Microsoft Points. The Signal actually spruces up the gameplay, changes the expectations, and gives it to most people for free. From the beginning you are told that the locations may look similar, but they are not as they seem. This holds true as you break down the bathroom door in the diner instead of being stopped by Barbara Jagger, realizing that your expectations are going to change. From then on you seem to be chased by an angry version of yourself who is trying to kill you through a TV set?
If you beat the game, you realize the realism of Wake’s world is shattered, which allows this DLC to provide a more interesting environment which is constantly changing. It also brought back the “words” which can be used to help or hurt your advancement. Even though I though they were cheesy in the original game, they serve a much greater purpose in this story. There is a part where you must make your way through a minefield of words as you try to reach a bridge which you must make exist. You also face a labyrinth of street lamps that flicker on and off as you are pursued by the “Taken.” These gameplay opportunities were not available in the reality of the game, but now become essential to the DLC.
Some of the major issues still occur in “The Signal” (ex. bad mouth animations, clunky controls), but the plot again drives the game on. If you are stuck questioning whether to use the Microsoft points or not, I say go for it. I enjoyed the chapter, and felt it added more to the game and plot. Though, if you think that at the end of this chapter you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on, well, let’s just say Zane is floating in Wake’s living room at one point. If that makes sense to you, then you are a smarter person than me. Even with all the confusion, I think this is worth seeing through to the conclusion. Here’s hoping for Alan Wake 2.