Alan Wake is certainly not a terrible title, but it is repetitive and fairly underwhelming—doubly so for a game that's been in development for more than five years. I give credit to the developers for some beautiful environments and a combat style that's sensible and engaging, but it's weak in most other areas. I also have to say that for a game that's been so heavily touted for its story, I found the plot to be poorly-structured and unsatisfying.
Although it's currently still under review embargo, Microsoft's PR reps have said that talking about and previewing the first episode of Alan Wake (360) is fair game. So, although certain elements of it have been labeled "hush-hush", I can still spill a little...
Seems like we've been hearing about Alan Wake for years now…oh, it's because we have. Doesn't matter to me, though—when games look this good, you almost don't mind the wait if it means they're getting it right.
The title (developed by Remedy Entertainment—the guys who gave us the Max Payne games) made an appearance at E3 yesterday, and it looks incredible. Alan Wake is being billed as more of a "psychological thriller" than a survival horror title, but it looks to feature enough creepy visuals to keep even the most discerning genre fans looking over their shoulder as they clutch their 360 controllers with sweaty fists.
In a different world, Max Payne would be a solid contender for the worst videogame to film adaptation in movie history—taking its place right alongside Super Mario Bros. and Mortal Kombat II as the main exhibits in the case that Hollywood simply doesn't understand gaming. However, as long as the Antichrist (known more commonly by his human name, Uwe Boll) continues to churn out films like Alone in the Dark, Max Payne will just have to be content with the title of "not very good" as opposed to "out and out awful".
Payne, starring an angry and mopey Mark Wahlberg as the title character, is a film that I really wanted to like. It's beautifully shot (it's got a gorgeous neo-noir color palette working in it), it has some decent action scenes (although I think the games did a better job of integrating the John Woo influence), and it feels like the people involved cared about the end product to at least some degree. This makes it all the more disappointing that the end result is a film that feels a bit like Constantinepart 2 (which was another film I wanted to love because I've dug the Hellblazer comics for years).
Looking at Max Payne, Im going to have to agree with nearly every point James made in his review, especially his view that the game falls short of being an "amazing, breakthrough" title. Is Bullet Time cool? Hell yes. Is it enough to carry an entire game? Hell no.
Game Description:Max Payne is a stylish, urban, revenge-driven action game based in New York City's grimy underground. A groundbreaking rendering engine allows for heart-stopping, photorealistic visuals and breathtaking movie-quality effects as Max Payne fights his way to uncover the truth. The game combines elements from Hollywood action thrillers with the latest in video game technology to deliver a highly original gameplay experience.
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