Generally favorable reviews - based on 100 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 87 out of 100
  2. Negative: 0 out of 100
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  1. Its simplicity is also its greatest strength. The combat is fluid and utterly engaging from the very first moment, leaving Remedy free to build atmosphere, drama and tension through the stunning game-world and its oddball inhabitants. Granted, by the end we were wishing for another dimension to the gameplay, but only in the interest of elevating the experience from very good to legitimate greatness.
  2. While its not the generation defining game the epic development schedule might've hyped, Alan Wake is still a fantastic, 10-hour-plus play-it-on-the-couch linear action game - with brains required or not depending on your preference.
  3. An accomplished experiment in narrative: Alan Wake mixes a TV serial structure with a basic action gameplay, building its offer in entertainment with well crafted characters, twists in the plot (it won't be Stephen King at its best, but for an action-adventure game it delivers) and a cool atmosphere. Maybe not worth all the long time it took to come to us, but still a very enjoyable mix, and not one you should miss.
  4. Alan Wake is an exceptional thriller that was a pleasure to play. That said, if you're a gamer that exclusively values action, you may find the combat to be too repetitive for your liking.
  5. 100
    Ultimately, Alan Wake is driven -- as is any good story -- by the impulse to see what happens next. It offers up a believable world, characters worth caring about, enjoyable combat and a narrative I wanted to follow.
  6. The game weaves a powerful narrative web around a core third-person action model that's largely satisfying even when its lack of variety becomes apparent in the later stages of the game. Even a thousand plaid-wearing axemen aren't enough to slow the driving momentum of these uncanny events, or make the game's foreboding forests one iota less unsettling.
  7. Remedy and Microsoft haven't made a perfect masterpiece, but Alan Wake may well be one of my favourite releases of 2010 – an escapade I'm going to remember for a very long time. It's a stunning action game, a superbly scripted adventure and a technical showcase for the now-ageing Xbox 360 hardware.
  8. The presentation creates a genuine survival/horror ambience that's hard to shake (without the need for excessive gore) and the gameplay shines (no pun intended).
  9. Remedy has created a superb video game that uses one of the best written characters in the medium all year to tie its plot, themes and gameplay together seamlessly. Thrilling, frightening and genuinely compelling, Alan Wake is a nightmare players will not soon to forget.
  10. Despite a bit of repetitiveness in the last half, Alan Wake is a spectacular, memorable experience. If you own an Xbox 360, you'll want to own this.
  11. The Finnish developers have built a believable universe surrounded by a strong narrative, impressive storytelling techniques and enjoyable combat with a unique twist. It has its flaws with repetition, linearity and some poor presentational issues, but this is a world ripe for a sequel to improve upon every single aspect.
  12. Like slipping in and out of a nightmare, Alan Wake is a mixed experience. You'll adore the game's well-written characters and grow obsessed with the deeply intellectual story, but thanks to repetitive action and uninspired levels, reaching the end and solving the mystery can sometimes prove a bit tedious.
  13. Alan Wake is a strange beast - a great story, told clumsily and strewn with odd characters saying vaguely unbelievable things in an earnest way that might or might not be a joke. However, as baffling as it can be, it really does hold its own, keeping you nervous, excited and rolling your eyes indulgently so regularly that it simply won't occur to you to stop playing.
  14. Alan Wake is all about the story. It is told very well and constructed in such an intelligent way, that you want to complete the game in one blow. Even though the gameplay itself good, it’s not nearly on the same level.
  15. Alan Wake is a old game in terms of gameplay. Alan Wake, the character, looks like someone nailed to the floor, such is the difficulty to run, jump or do any other movement.
  16. Alan Wake lacks that little spark of genious that distinguishes a good game from a masterpiece, an H.P. Lovecraft from your average Stephen King.
  17. An intriguing and gripping story steeped in an atmosphere so thick you can cut it with a knife, coupled with a cool gimmick for the action sequences. Excellent while it lasts. Not a lot of replayability, though.
  18. Remedy surpassed itself in the fields of production, storytelling and atmosphere, all of which serve this psychological thriller well.
  19. Alan Wake is definitely art, and is well written enough to keep my wife and I on the edge of our seats from beginning to end. If I can admit something, and give Alan Wake the biggest compliment I can bestow, I’d tell you that I had a nightmare about the game the night after I completed it. No horror game has ever managed that feat or even come close. It may have taken them five years to kick it out of the door, but Remedy has created a masterpiece.
  20. Now, you can chalk it up to the absolute rush of endorphins I've had simply by having this title in hand after a 5 year wait, but I found it very difficult to find fault in this title.
  21. It’s a horror game that doesn’t rely on clunky controls and denying the player supplies to produce tension. It’s an action game with pages of novelized story to read. Yet every element of the game is cohesive and feels right as you play it.
  22. 'Alan Wake' is a stellar experience that will live on in your mind days after the final credits role. The pacing, storytelling, and light based gameplay is astounding, making 'Alan Wake' any fan of narrative driven games shouldn't miss.
  23. More than once Alan Wake reminded us of books, movies, and TV shows that we love and spend hours with every week; it helped merge the video game experience with those other memorable moments. For once a video game was able to show exactly what it means to create something that brings emotion to the gamer; on top of that Alan Wake was just damn fun to play.
  24. Remedy set out to create one of the most intense and gripping story experiences of the year and they delivered on their goals with sublime ease. An utterly compelling cast of characters and the most engaging story we’ve experienced in years means that Alan Wake is a must buy. The best survival-horror thriller we’ve seen for quite some time. It’s more Resident Evil than Resident Evil 5 was! Move over Capcom, Alan Wake’s in town!
  25. If you're looking for a game with a great story, dense with mystery and suspense and capable of keeping you in constant distress for hours, Alan Wake won't disappoint you. It isn't a perfect game mainly due to the somewhat repetitive action sequences, but its core is in the fantastic plot and storytelling. It undoubtedly is a great and unique experience, and as such it's highly suggested.
  26. 91
    Alan Wake is a good game. But as well as a recommendation, I'd suggest you take your time with the first play through, because it's a game you can also only really experience once properly. You will most likely play it more than once - but that first time is the real charm of the thing.
  27. Alan Wake is arguably the best Psychological Action Thriller game on the Xbox 360 to date.
  28. 90
    Remedy's done a great job of mixing elements of written work, television, and videogames to create an experience full of scares, laughs, and thrills that's just as fun to play as it is to watch.
  29. Ultimately, how much you enjoy Alan Wake’s rollercoaster ride depends on how invested you become in its sophisticated yarn. And it’s one hell of a story, capped off by a quiet, breathtaking denouement that makes good on the opening lines of Alan’s initial descent.
  30. All in all, Alan Wake is a brilliant piece of storytelling and one that is going to stand out as an example of single-player gaming done right.
  31. Remedy has done a cracking job with Alan Wake, providing a game that's solid entertainment of the survival horror nature from start to finish. There are some moments where the game does feel a bit 'samey' in terms of design, but with such an engaging and captivating story, you'll feel compelled to drive onwards and see it through to its conclusion.
  32. 90
    Alan Wake doesn't revolutionize the video game medium, but it will definitely get inside gamers' heads.
  33. In short, Alan Wake is exactly what ii says on the box, a “Psychological Action Thriller.” You’ll be grasping at straws for most of the game, trying to figure out what exactly is happening in this quaint little town.
  34. 90
    Alan Wake is an absolute masterpiece of great storytelling engrossed in a deep backstory, accompanied with brilliant complementary gameplay to an amazing degree.
  35. 90
    With the gripping story, the chaotic gameplay and brilliant graphics, it is a game that stands out among the best games on the system.
  36. Anything it could do to irritate the player is quickly made up for with a consistently striking character, intriguing cutscene, or thrilling stand-off against an encroaching force of possessed and gibbering mountain hicks. Alan Wake wears its own anomalous sense of style with pride and that alone earns enough credit to spend on inefficient dodging or unfair ambush attacks.
  37. Despite it's flaws, Alan Wake is not a game you can miss out on.
  38. Alan Wake is an absolutely fantastic title and it was definitely worth the long wait.
  39. If games can’t be called art unless they illicit an emotional response from their audience, then Alan Wake could easily take up a spot in the Louvre.
  40. Alan Wake is finally here, and it's as good as we expected. Rich environments, great story, superb gameplay, many areas to explore, interesting characters... A great game that is not the ambitious project Remedy wanted it to be, but it's glorious anyway.
  41. 90
    Alan Wake is an entertaining game experience, with and engaging narrative and full of nights of terror.
  42. 90
    Remedy did an excellent job creating a brand new kind of action thriller. Alan Wake is an awesome game that grabs you by the throat and makes you scream for more.
  43. It may not be a masterpiece, but Alan Wake is one of the best games we played on Xbox 360 in the last six months. Stephen King fans will love it.
  44. AceGamez
    There are not many reasons not to buy this game – it’s a bit difficult to get used to at the start and the graphics aren’t as high quality as they could have been. Ignore these minor issues and buy this game – you will not be disappointed!
  45. Remedy have proved that they’re not just a one-trick pony, creating a game that’s starkly different to Max Payne but also deeply referential to it. The clever story, great voice work and presentation all work to sweeten an already sweet deal.
  46. Finally, it's here, and I think it was well worth the wait. It's not perfection, but it's a solid effort and an excellent game that 360 owners should be proud to own.
  47. Alan Wake paints a vivid nightmare that you won't soon forget. It's the freshest take on the horror game in a long time, and every moment feels like it was painstakingly scripted. There isn't much fluff here. That said, the game is lacking in the frills that we've come to expect from a triple-A release.
  48. In spite of the inevitable signs the long development times have left on its gameplay structure, Alan Wake is still one of those titles every psychological action-thriller game lover can’t miss out. But it is also an intense story, with a dense atmosphere, that any videogame lover should at least try once.
  49. Creepy atmosphere, fantastic combat, and clever storytelling make Alan Wake's quest thrilling from beginning to end.
  50. If you don’t mind periodically revisiting game design from 1999, Alan Wake is an engaging horror mystery that brings the heart of Stephen King’s style of storytelling to the interactive medium.
  51. After so many years in development, it's kind of a relief to finally play Alan Wake and it was worth the wait.
  52. The game creates an excellent and believable sense of ‘reality', as much as a video game horror story can. You'll suspend your disbelief for the most part, and there are some very cool and spooky moments early in the game that will really put you on edge.
  53. 85
    Alan Wake is not quite the revelatory experience we hoped it would be, but it’s a solid and entertaining game that’s rich in atmosphere, with good combat mechanics and an intriguing story.
  54. 85
    A challenging and genuinely frightening experience...As a survival horror, Alan Wake succeeds admirably, and comes highly recommended. But as a self-proclaimed "psychological action thriller", it falls short of its ambition.
  55. The game’s sense of scale is extraordinary and lovingly detailed. Not a single asset in any of the expansive episodic settings feels misplaced. At night, the mist, the shadows and the trees bleed together to create a game world that is equally beautiful and unsettling.
  56. Alan Wake is an emotionally engaging thriller from start to finish; and it's compelling, different and unique too. An excellent third person shooter in its own right, but not particularly frightening or memorable in any way.
  57. The gameplay isn't the strongest aspect of the game, but the vibe and the story makes Alan Wake a very interesting game.
  58. The new gameplay and the fights against horrifying shadows is very well made, but it‘s too repetitive to play for a longer period. So, the story loses a lot of drive and that‘s pretty unfortunate. Alan Wake has the looks of Max Payne, but without innovation. Nevertheless, if you‘re looking for 12 hours of horror action, Alan Wake is your way to go.
  59. Despite a five year gestation period and some unfortunate gameplay flaws, Alan Wake remains a powerhouse of interactive storytelling and sometimes unbearable tension.
  60. I really enjoyed the moody ambiance, in addition to the addictive gameplay mechanics, which, you'll have to admit is more important than pompous, fancy graphics...My biggest regret is that this didn't turn out to be a longer game, with more characters and a more intricate plot.
  61. There’s certainly a feeling throughout the experience that what the game gives you with one hand, it quickly takes away with the other. Ultimately though, the survival-horror genre is in desperate need of a new poster boy, and Alan Wake just about fills that remit.
  62. It has some pacing issues, loose ends, and can be absurdly linear, but none of these factors can overpower the incredible events that unfold.
  63. Alan Wake may not be the most innovative title in terms of game play, but it does serve up a solid playing experience.
  64. 80
    With a first half that’s glacial at best and patronising at worst, it’s a tough ask to expect audiences to stick with it once those glorious vistas and early scenes of intrigue fade against the over-egged torch-pointing and repetitive mountainside trudges.
  65. The high moments are certainly high, and while it doesn’t have too many “lows” to speak of, the conclusion certainly fails to inspire any sense of satisfaction, making the previous hours of character development, storytelling, and foreshadowing feel weaker.
  66. What Alan Wake is then is an outstanding piece of writing. The replayability will come from your drive to find all the manuscript pages you missed previously - you’ll need to put together each element of the story. You’ll want to just get lost in Alan Wake - and if you decide to pick it up, you’ll find it hard not to.
  67. More light than shadow: Alan Wake is a fairly good game with an excellent mystery story. Unfortunately the gameplay could be a bit more diversified and more shock moments would be great.
  68. Alan Wake takes some risks, and each one helps to make the game feel fresh and rewarding. However, those areas where it doesn't take risks can introduce some tedium into an otherwise engrossing experience.
  69. Alan Wake is a fun jaunt across a variety of stereotypes and offers some new gameplay ideas. Unfortunately it’s just not entirely scary, and I find it hard to see where the five years went in making it. Good, but not stellar.
  70. The great screenplay is overruled by clumsy and repetitious gameplay. The thrill is there, but too many flaws in the core experience make it a solely discreet game.
  71. In this day and age, after games like Bioshock, Mass Effect and Heavy Rain that successfully blended high quality storytelling and solid gameplay mechanics, Alan Wake doesn’t exactly set new boundaries. By comparison, it comes off across as a derivative and dated affair.
  72. In conclusion, Alan Wake delivers with an interesting and sturdy gaming experience, however for me, the whole experience seemed a little dated from the combat engine to certain gaming moments that we've seen it all before.
  73. A brilliantly told story, excellent voice acting, and an atmosphere so unnerving you'll sleep with the lights on for a month. If only it came with a bottle of instant amnesia so that you could play it for the first time more than once.
  74. 80
    Unfortunately, the most fitting literary comparison is that several long stretches of repetitive gameplay will make you feel like you're wandering aimlessly through the woods of an unedited novel.
  75. Whether it cleverly incorporates literary technique or intentionally obfuscates meaning is a mystery, but inventive and effective gameplay mechanics combine with excellent art and sound design to make what is an enjoyable game, regardless of the intellect.
  76. Despite its flaws, it has class in abundance, which fans of any type of genre will surely appreciate.
  77. In telling the story of a frustrated author, Remedy Entertainment has excised its own demons and brought forth a beautiful, eerie, exciting, unique, and intelligent creation from the dark depths of development limbo.
  78. 83
    If anything, Alan Wake reminds me of the first Uncharted. It is a great, but flawed work (hello ugly daylight, quirky animations, and a script that mocks the viewer even more than Lost or Twin Peaks) that lays the foundation for what could be an absolutely amazing follow-up. I just hope it doesn't take another five or six years.
  79. A solid and fun experience that's could use a little more gameplay diversity.
  80. The narration is the centerpiece of a misguided effort to keep players from drawing their own conclusions. That’s a disappointment, given the enormous potential here.
  81. It's no Heavy Rain, but for a game that intended to be loaded with atmosphere and digitize what playing a novel might be like, it delivers on all fronts.
  82. It may have taken over five years, but the delays and development reboot was well worth it as Alan Wake is one of the top exclusives for the 360, and a welcomed new IP several years into the lifecycle of the 360.
  83. 80
    It isn't perfect, but Alan Wake is a superb mystery that has plenty to offer. Gamers willing to put up with the minor inconsistencies will be rewarded with a rich narrative that's definitely worth experiencing.
  84. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Categorically unsure of its place in the world, Alan Wake is absorbing for its duration. Depending on your tastes, this may confuse, but Remedy has created a genuinely intriguing experience. [Issue#59, p.92]
  85. Pelit (Finland)
    If there were a game version of Twin Peaks, it would be Alan Wake. The great Pacific Northwest is a magnificently eerie backdrop for a horror story coming to life. It paces the combat and slower moments well, and it's nice not to have to fight every fight: running away works just as good. The overdone narrator voice gets annoying at times, but luckily Alan's musings lessen towards the end of the game. [May 2010]
  86. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    This is the birth of a special franchise, end even with its teething problems the beginning has been well worth waiting for. [July 2010, p.77]
  87. Games Master UK
    A thrilling tale with solid blasting bits. If only the gameplay developed as well as the plot. [July 2010, p.82]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1213 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Jan 2, 2011
    I'm honestly aghast at all the people who think this game represents the pinnacle of good storytelling in a video game. If this is all writersI'm honestly aghast at all the people who think this game represents the pinnacle of good storytelling in a video game. If this is all writers have to do to impress the gaming world, then future game stories are doomed, and blowhards like Ebert will be right in saying that video games cannot be art. Just because you make a game play out like a movie or some hyper-dramatic television series, does not make it a good story; cinematic drama is not synonymous with a good story. Additionally, Alan Wake is grotesquely overwritten, failing to understand the power of subtlety, while beating the player over the head with cliched ideas of "light versus darkness". Was everyone too dumbfounded by the beautiful trees to notice that the human animation and lip-syncing is amateur for this allegedly high standard production? Environments, while pretty, lack the variety and meaning as they did in true masterpieces like Silent Hill 2 and Shadow of the Colossus. The game's plot-line is a contrived piece of crap. It has a pointless metaphysical idea driving it nowhere (i.e. I'm a writer writing myself out of my own story). It relies too heavily on other writers to build its shoddy sense of depth, which, despite its attempts, fails. If anything, I can call this game comedy for all the times the ridiculous commentary of the enemies made me laugh. I have to quote off a few: "Farmers are the opposite of hunter-gatherers"
    "Omega 3 Fatty Acids are good for your heart"
    "Fishing is both a sport and a hobby"

    Seriously, did anyone else pay attention to how ridiculous the enemies are? No, seriously, did you? You can't go five minutes into the game without troupes of enemies barraging you with corny dialogue. Add to this that Alan Wake himself can never shut up, and continually has to state the obvious (i.e. I had to turn on the generator, he said in a narrative voice), and you have a script that, if used for any other medium (such as a book or film) would be laughed at and regarding as juvenile. Ultimately the game lacks focus. It does not know what it wants or what it takes to get there.
    Full Review »
  2. GunGraveTZA(JackW.)
    May 18, 2010
    This game is truely a masterpiece. It has one of the most exciting and satisfying stories for any video game (and the ending isn't crap This game is truely a masterpiece. It has one of the most exciting and satisfying stories for any video game (and the ending isn't crap nor does it require the DLC, it just doesn't answer some questions clearly, and that's great as it opens up the ending to interpretation and makes it even more interesting), the gameplay is simple yet always fun, and the graphics are really wow for a game that's been in development for 5 years. Truely one of the best games of this generation. Full Review »
  3. Oct 19, 2011
    Alan wake is a very enjoyable game, I hadn't played it but saw that it had good reviews so recently got it on XBL, the game was not that longAlan wake is a very enjoyable game, I hadn't played it but saw that it had good reviews so recently got it on XBL, the game was not that long but it kept my interest, the plot and take on the storyline is a very interesting mixture. One of my favourite parts of the game is once you finish a chapter yoàu get an alan wake logo on screen and a song plays from start to finish it just adds an extra relief and a little while to relax before starting up again. Found the game to be like a mini tv series of which you are the main character, no doubt the intention of the producers and the gameplay, the story and gameplay mesh well together with the creative directing. There are a few niggles, the gameplay does begin to get repetitive by the end and I couldn't bring myself to replay the game, once through was enough. So.... Not perfect but an enjoyable gaming adventure, if you find it on the cheap it's worth picking it up. Full Review »