Verno wrote on Jan 4, 2011, 13:33:
I'd have to disagree with you on some of those points. People buy "dumbed down" titles on both console and PC platforms in droves so I have no idea what you're talking about there. Alan Wake wasn't great but it's worth a run for the narrative alone which wasn't Shakespeare but also well above "fan fiction" despite the usual Remedy campiness. People would buy it, if anything it would be the perfect venue for it. It's exactly the kind of title people don't want to take a chance on at $60 but could turn over easily for $20 or under on DD stores.
Could it have been a lot more? Sure. I wish it had stayed a PC exclusive as you can see potential there for a lot more. In the end though MGS/Remedy did what they did and that's all she wrote. Either way, it's really an aside from the actual topic.
"Dumbed down" and "poorly made" are not the same thing. Dumbed-down is taking lean out of a first-person shooter; it's removing a feature previously accepted as standard. Some of us even prefer it's absence. A dumbed-down game can still be a well-made game. Alan Wake is simply not well-made; every aspect of it is a hack job. The environments, the combat, and the replay value are at a level no one should accept from an A-list title. The game being a better bargain at $20 is hardly a point in its favor, if it's not bad, why wasn't it worth full price at release? It's it's not great but not bad, why isn't it worth, say, $45 instead of the bargain-bin price?
As for the plot, if you've actually read
a Stephen King book it's like something Stephen King would've wrote thirty years ago only to not publish and glance at every once in awhile to remember how he's grown as a writer. Camp isn't even it's problem, there's not even a lot of camp to it. The characters are all archetypes so blatantly and with so little depth it's like they're ripped out of an archetype handbook (the disbelieving best friend, he mysterious woman shrouded in black, the doctor who wants to abuse the supernatural, the embarrassingly enthusiastic fangirl who is so poorly written and acted she's embarrassing to watch,
let alone embarrassing for the protagonist,) and as for the plot itself, dear god, where to start? Every part of it is completely predictable and half the time progresses because the characters are holding the Idiot Ball. Suddenly the fangirl sounds like a robot with the evil-looking woman standing nearby, and Alan completely misses the fact that she's acting completely different when he goes to her for information. The game treats it like a surprise when his drink turns out to be drugged and he wakes up shocked
that it's happened, but suddenly realizes that the fangirl was possessed now? I'm supposed to be surprised by this and I'm supposed to believe he's
surprised? He's a horror/thriller writer but he's so genre blind that even after he accepts something supernatural is going on, he can't see anything
wrong in that scene?
I'm all for suspension of disbelief, and I'm more willing to let things slide in the name of suspension of disbelief than most people I know, but the entire plot and cast
is like this. Even the ending is just a blatant sequel hang that comes out of left field because, oh hai guys, buy the DLC to see what happens next! It's fine if you enjoy it, that's your opinion/taste, but what's not opinion is the quality of it. It's bad writing
and it's a poorly put together gaming experience. It should be no surprise it underperformed; the sales it did make were based on hype and on people who are perfectly willing to excuse its problems while honestly enjoying it despite said problems, but when something is legitimately poorly made by professional standards, liking it means giving it a pass, and less people were willing to do that.
NOT THE BEES! NOT THE BEES THEY'RE IN MY EYES