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September 04, 2013

Alan Wake Areas of Concern


I wrote a novel once, barely surviving. This video game will help you understand why.....


Intro:




In an episodic format resembling a mini-series, Alan Wake tells the story of the titular character visiting a town named "Bright Falls", where an unfinished novel of his comes to life unexpectedly.

Following the disappearance of his wife (among other things), Alan Wake delves into the town, discovering a dark secret involving another writer which sets him on the path to find out what happened.

Time is running out, (Of course) and so Alan has to be quick on his feet, or else he might be crushed by an all too familiar block: Writer's Block.

Okay, I'm kidding. I just don't really know what the heck the story is about. It spins out of control after the first act.

Release Date: May 2010.

Developer: Remedy Entertainment.

Publisher: Microsoft.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Windows.

Genre: Action Horror.

Areas of Concern:


Violence:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive
 
General Violence:

--Lots of frantic, but clearly fantasy-esque violence is depicted: Shadow people attack your character with axes. They can slice him, with the screen flashing red for a moment.

You can take out enemies by using a light, making them fizzle, and then you can shoot them, eventually causing them to dissolve into nothingness.

-Explosives and flashbangs can be used, sending them flying and dissolving.

--Crows are shown to attack your character; they scream and the screen flashes red as they attack you. They can also be dissolved by light.

--Inanimate objects are infected by the darkness and are flung at you: Light destroys them, and they fizzle into nothingness.

Storyline Violence:

--The game opens with a man being hit by a car: He is flung towards the screen.

--A man is chopped off-screen with an ax: We see the ax swing towards him, a loud crack is heard and we see the man's shocked expression. The attacker then chops the man again off-screen. 

-Later on, we see a man pulling an ax out of a body with a crunch being heard. The scene is brief and vague enough to not be graphic.

--We hear loud noises and gunshots. A long blood trail leads up to a cabin, where you find an injured character lying in a pool of blood. You can also find pages of a fictional manuscript which describes his leg being bent the wrong way, and feeling his ribs crack and stab into his stomach.

-We later hear a man screaming in pain for an extended period of time and a dog whimpering, implying they were both killed. 

--A man puts a weapon inside of a woman's chest, (there's a hole in her chest which we see straight through.) and light beams out of her eyes and mouth as she dissolves into nothingness. 

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--A woman is shown without her pants, underwear being shown, but she still has her shirt on. She is shown in this state of undress a couple of times during the game.

--A woman jokes about being able to perform miracles. Her husband scoffs at the idea, to which she replies: "Well, you sure seemed to think so last night......" 

--We read about a man going insane and running naked through a field.

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Ban-worthy

Uses of S**t, A*sh**e, B**t**d, P**s, C**p, H**l, and D**n.

--God's name is used in vain. 

Spiritual Content: 

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--In the game, light is shown to restore your health and provide a safe haven from enemies.


"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." John 1:5

--The whole game is about an author's unwritten novel coming to life. Throughout the storyline, you encounter enemies taken over by a "Dark Presence", and you can defeat them by shining light at them and freeing the "taken" from it's protection.

--Two brothers are mentioned to have been part of a heavy metal band and adopted names resembling Viking Gods. (Tor and Odin.)

--At one point, a man has an out-of-body experience in a dream.

--A man talks about how Native Americans believed a lake to be a passage to the underworld. He adds that he is the "God-fearing" type and doesn't believe in "that sorta thing". 

--List of symbols:

-Hearts. (Sexual symbol.)

-A man makes the "Satanic Salute".

-Dragons. (Representative of Satan in the book of Revelation. Also a false god. 

PS: Satan existed before Chinese culture ever appeared on Earth, so this could have been one of his manifestations.)

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--A man references getting drunk. We later see two men drunkenly slurring their speech, holding alcohol bottles.

-A man stammers drunkenly in a prison cell, begging to get the lights turned on his cell.

--A man asks another man if he is "high" or has been drinking, a police officer talks about a man being drunk or "hopped up" on something, and a few manuscript pages you collect reference people drinking and a man "taking comfort in a bottle".


Scary Stuff:

--We see an eye staring at you from several TV screens in a cabin as it repetitively says "Die. Die. Die. Die. Die!" and we hear a maniacal laugh. 

--The whole game is very tense, with a dark atmosphere: You experience the protagonist's novel coming to life and having to live through it. Dozens of menacing humanoid creatures attack you and there are lots of loud screeching noises.

--The game has one heck of a jump scare, which occurs at several points during the game. Since I can't go into it without spoilers, just take note that you'll be scared senseless about an hour into the game; it involves loud screeching noises and a sudden appearance of a creepy figure.

Morality:

Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

Nothing to complain about here. Alan Wake only fights people corrupted by the Dark Presence and is shown to care deeply for his wife. 


Themes:

-Darkness Corrupts, Light Heals: Throughout the game, this theme is very prevalent. While obviously not promoting Biblical truths, some may find this to be a positive parallel.

-Fear of the Dark: A character in the game is shown to be afraid of the dark, common amongst children and prevalent in some adults. (I know of a guy in his mid-twenties who sleeps with the lights on due to being afraid of the dark.

Or rather, as I suspect, what usually manifests itself in the dark.)


Thoughts & Impressions:


You know, for a game about a writer, they should have payed a lot more attention to, well, writing.

Alan Wake is the rare kind of story that will make you stop and think, but not really for the right reasons. Whilst the story is compelling, it suffers from being overly complicated, and nowhere does that manifest more than in the final "Episode" of the game.

The whole game is a bit confuzzling at first, and you don't really get any solid answers. Just like the TV show LOST, the answers you do get are replaced by even more questions.

(Okay, if you want to get technical, the second half of the series provided far more satisfactory answers, but that's beside the point!)

I'm not gonna lie, the game is very entertaining and features a solid story. It's just a pity that the climax was lost in the tangled story threads. 

Seriously though, it's hard not to be sucked in by this epic yarn. The story seems good enough to carry the game, and works well enough to be a TV show in it's own merit.

The AudioVisual quality of the game is strong, with appropriate attention to detail in the lighting department and environments.

The graphical quality notably dims when it comes to facial animations. Seriously, what's up with your face?

All in all, Alan Wake looks like it's a worthy game for the Mature Christian. Proceed with lots of caution.


Alan Wake's supernatural themes do not resemble the occult in any major way, so this will not result in a Not Recommended. There are some serious scares and intense sequences, so that makes this game unsuitable for people under the age of 16.

Verdict: 16+


For Spiritual References and Intense Content.


Outro:

Another one bites the dust.

Shout out to my blog reader "George" for requesting this Areas of Concern. Hope you are pleased with the result. :)

Until next time! 

-Images courtesy of GameSpot.

Writer Bio:


Kyle van Rensburg is the Editor-in-Chief of Kyle's Christian Video Game Reviews. (KVR Gaming) He likes cookies.

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