Alan Wake: The Signal Review
: Alan Wake: The Signal (Special Feature One)
: Microsoft Games Studio
: Free (if you bought Alan Wake
new), 560 Microsoft Points ($7) if not
: Loren 'AgtFox' Halek
What's Hot: Continuation of the story from the main game; lots of action sections; the overall story becomes even more insane; some old and new memories are remembered
What's Not: This episode is only 60-90 minutes long; overwhelming enemy numbers are common; makes you question whether this was originally part of the overall game or not
This episode, or Special Feature One as the game names it, coming out on Tuesday, July 27th opens with the usual “Previously on Alan Wake” opening showing you some of the scenes from the full game as well as the ending of it. As “The Signal” starts, Alan wakes up not knowing exactly where he is, but is being summoned by the mysterious diver/possible writer Thomas Zane. Only reason I put that information here and the only real story spoiling I will do in the review is because it is in the synopsis for the episode from XBL Marketplace:
“In ‘The Signal,’ Alan finds himself facing a threat unlike anything he has encountered before - and yet, the nightmarish mysteries feel intimately familiar for our favorite writer. Ravaged by dark forces and longing for his wife, Alan is lost and in danger of losing his mind. His only hope for survival lies with the mysterious Diver, Thomas Zane.”
You will visit locations both old and new in this roughly 60-90 minute long episode. There are a good number of cutscenes and a good amount of voice work done by the characters. Basically this DLC is played the same as the full Alan Wake
game, it just has more action and some spots where you just have to run away because of the overwhelming number of enemies. That is unless you are masochistic, then you can try to take them all out.
“The Signal” the title is named for relates to the GPS signal you get for Zane’s location via the Verizon phone you receive early on in the episode. You spend the rest of the time continuing on toward the spot that seems so far off. You’ll soon find yourself with increasing flashlight types and a full load of weapons to take on the huge numbers of enemies as you get closer and closer to the end. There is also a new collectible (which there are 10 of) and achievements to be received.
One of the more interesting things here is that there are a lot more named targets (like “Flashlight”, “Flare”, etc. that you need to shine a light on to release them) as well as some helpful words as well. Along with this there are ones marked “Memories” where you will remember things both from the main game as well as things that we haven’t seen before. The last fight in this episode is also interesting and the ending certainly sets the stage for the next DLC and makes things even more confusing, but you’ll see that once you get through this content.
Overall it was enjoyable to go back into the Alan Wake
world and continue on from where it ended. It certainly brings up the question whether this and the upcoming episode were originally in the full game or not. Luckily for most of us it will only cost us $7 extra to see up through the next release. This one’s free and certainly makes you pine for more. I wish it could have been longer or could have answered more questions than leave several things still up in the air, but for what it is it certainly succeeds.
: 4 out of 5 CoGs
Loren says, “More of what made Alan Wake
a fantastic game is present here. The feature starts right after the end of the main game and moves you farther down the story and closer to an answer of exactly what is happening to Alan in Bright Falls. Alan is more outnumbered here than ever before and you’ll have to use your wits to escape some tough situations.”