Ok, that title was a lie, Clive Barkers Undying is on the same boat as Alan Wake, but they are cruising far, far beyond any other title I can think of. I'd love to hear from you if you can think of a game that was hampered by the tech it was using as bad as Alan Wake.
Alan Wake was a 2010 title for the Xbox 360. Being 30 something and a Remedy fan, I thought it was about time to finally play the game, seeing as I love Control, am getting a RTX graphics card and the new Control DLC is about Alan Wake.
Holy shit does this game show it's age. The controls are fine, but some of the stuff in it have not aged well. The way you can just walk off some ledges is atrocious to anyone who has played, say Uncharted or Tomb Raider. The problem for me is that the game is so incredibly ambitious. It tries to do so many things at the same time. There are some absolutely ground breaking things in this 10 year old game that I've never seen before. Like, say the one cutscene type of thing where the player controls the camera following the main character in the past and observes themselves doing stuff. That was just pure genius. The exploration on what is real, what is actually going on, what is written and the whole mess with reality is very interesting. They just did not have the tools at the time to give all justice.
While Remedy did push the envelope with this game, it is pretty clear that the tech of that time just wasn't ready for this kind of storytelling. I can tell why it wasn't met with more praise. It tries very hard to do stuff that wasn't possible at the time. I feel like if this was a launch title for the next gen consoles, it would be considered a timeless masterpiece. Kudos for Remedy for trying, I'm pretty sure this game has had a lot of influence on many games that followed it. I just feel like they tried just a bit too hard and made prog rock with poor instruments instead of a top ten hit single with proper guitars and such.
Another thing I'm lowkey mad about, is that playing this game now kinda ruined Control for me. I really, really liked Control. It is a fantastic game in almost every aspect. But come on Remedy, you had the capability of doing Alan Wake in you? And you still only managed to do Control? Ok, fine, that's not a fair comparison. Alan Wake had all the Microsoft money behind it and Control was about 30 mil production. But still, I'm kinda miffed.
Clive Barkers Undying was mentioned and I would love to see a sequel, I don't think I've played any other game like that in recent memory. It also had a bunch of ground breaking narrative devices that were ultimately let down by the tech the devs were constrained to. I think it's a shame that many of the high profile writers like Barker and King (anyone remember Kings F13 that was a piece of garbage?) were drawn to the videogames industry in the nineties and saw their writing getting destroyed by bad games and thus got out of the gaming industry. Abarat is one of my all time favorite fantasy novels and it would be a perfect setting for a game. I just don't think that Barker is very interested in getting burned again.
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