Alan Wake

Alan Wake

My wife is in trouble…better walk around in the woods and collect thermoses.

There aren’t many games without level bosses. I can only think of a handful off the top of my head: Machinarium, Portal. But those games reward players throughout the play through. Wondering what GlaDos will say next is one of the things that kept me playing Portal. Solving Machinarium’s puzzles let you move on to the next room, introducing new cute characters, artwork, and music. These games are their own reward and don’t require bosses.

Alan Wake is not one of these games.

A lot of games are not one of those games, and they have bosses. End level bosses are a kind of reward. Remember that first time you saw that lake monster thing in Resident Evil 4? Pretty awesome, right? Or that snake monster thing in…Resident Evil 1? Also awesome, right? Okay, how about something not Resident Evil.

Damn, I can’t think of any.

…Remember when you had to fight that big Ogre-thing in Resident Evil 4? Man that game has awesome bosses. They probably did that because they knew people would get frustrated and mad at the game because there were parts of it that were so difficult that you wanted to throw your Gamecube across the room, but you didn’t because then you’d miss out on the bosses.

But there are no bosses in Alan Wake. Here’s why that’s a problem. Alan Wake has six levels, called episodes. Each episode takes maybe 60-90 minutes to complete. That’s an hour of walking around outside, shining a flashlight at enemies, shooting at them, collecting thermoses…yeah, that’s about it.

The levels aren’t even challenging. There are a few parts where you might give up because you don’t realize you’re supposed to shoot a chain or something, but that’s not a challenge. That’s just a poorly thought-out puzzle.

Alan Wake is the most accessible horror-type game I think I’ve ever played. It’s also the most boring horror-type game I’ve ever played. You walk around and shoot things, watch an occasional cutscene, drive a car, get to the end of the level, and there’s no boss. There’s no reward. There’s no snake monster thing.

— SPOILER —

The closest you get to an end level boss in Alan Wake is shooting a few flares into a tornado. Not very rewarding.


Photo by jblivin used under a creative commons license