Following The Signal

Posted: August 12, 2010 in Gaming
Tags: , , , ,

Alan Wake’s first DLC date had been hanging over our head ever since the game’s release. Once defeating the game there was really no clue about the DLC’s story except that it had to deal with Alan after the events. I was keeping up the speculations on the game in general but, for the most part, there was little to go on for the DLC and possible sequel except for Alan’s final line: Its not a lake, its an ocean. While I would be more than happy to divulge every little nuance about this game and the DLC, I’m also of the opinion that this game has to be played to get the full effect, so why don’t we just focus on game play and execution.

The Signal follows the basic idea of the game: you use your flashlight to strip away the shadow from the Taken before you’re able to take them down with your gun of choice. The flares, flaregun, and flash-bangs are still around as well, providing you with much needed comfort when you get into tight situations. The one major difference, though, is in the way you come across these items. You are still able to find them strewn around on the ground but the game has done away with those saving graces seen as the red security boxes. Instead you make use of an aspect seen in the last episode of Alan Wake: words. You find the word ‘tools‘ or ‘recharge’ floating around, shine your flashlight on it and you get ammo and batteries. You’ll also come across ‘fireworks‘ and things similar, providing you with similar help to your trusty flares.

Using the flashlight in this way was actually a stroke of genius, in my opinion. I found myself keeping my flashlight high in hopes of spotting a word or two that could lend me a hand. Then again, you find out that seeing some of these words in large quantities can be a bit nerve wracking. Coming into an opening and seeing the area dotted with words like ‘fireworks‘ and ‘bang‘ caused me to pause and wonder where the Taken would be coming from, since it was obvious there was the possibility of a big fight. The best moment, though, is coming across a bridge and seeing a field of words saying nothing more than ‘enemy.’ After my momentary freak out I figured out how to get by, but that moment just made The Signal worth my time.

After beating this I searched out other fans to get the general reception and was a little shocked. A lot of fans were disappointed, claiming that this was more fighting than story. I have to greatly disagree but I can see where they are coming from. If you take The Signal by itself it appears to lack any form of story. All you do is run around kill some things and try and find cardboard cutouts and clocks. After that, there really isn’t anything. On the other hand, if you play this remembering that it is continuing the main story then it makes sense. Alan Wake is still battling the Darkness and is trying to find a way out. Thinking about it that way, like I said earlier, only raises more questions and answers very little, which makes for an intriguing game.

The Signal is a must for someone who has played Alan Wake, but you need to have played the game to its end to really grasp everything that the DLC is trying to put across. It is worth 560 Microsoft points, which is roughly $7, but its worth it.

Rating: 9/10  (it was a little short, lol)

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