Review by TheAm4zingLarry
"Alan Wake gets his first DLC and it's awesome!"
When I heard Remedy Software (guys who made Max Payne) had a new game coming out earlier this year that was enough information for me, I pre-ordered immediately and when I played it I was not disappointed. That game was Alan Wake and if you haven't played it yet then you should, I'll be writing this short review from this point on however with the expectation you have played it because this is after all a review of a DLC. A small expansion pack that requires the original in order to even run.
The Signal is a seventh chapter that takes place sometime after the original ending to Alan Wake, and if it has one major theme than that would be adding clever twists to existing gameplay mechanics in order to create rather new and interesting situations. It also helps that it takes place entirely in a setting we only glimpsed very briefly near the end of the original release, an area that sadly wasn't very flushed out then and was all too brief but which is significantly built upon and used to great effect here.
The Signal definitely deserves praise for taking the combat that had gotten a little stale and predictable by the end of the original release and making it new and interesting again largely through the implementation of new environmental hazards/tools. It also manages to come up with the difficulty that was sorely lacking from the original release much of the time through a greater degree of item scarcity and encounters designed to put Wake at a severe disadvantage so that the player must act very quickly and decisively and fully exploit every resources available. Very good pacing throughout and a far more interesting and difficult boss battle than the original had to boot. That is if you play on the hard or nightmare modes anyway, stay away from normal because it's still probably piss easy
If there are any things to gripe about they may include the length which is about the same as one of the original release's shortest chapters at most, but then again it's priced somewhere around seven dollars and you figure since the original had six chapters and you paid sixty bucks for it new that's actually about right I think. Although since I preordered the special edition I received a code that granted me access without having to pay anything more, if you have the special edition too go pull out the code and punch it in already because there's no way it's not worth a few minutes entering a code. I should probably warn you that there isn't much closure to be had from The Signal, and the story events herein will only raise more questions if anything but keep in mind this is just one chapter in an ongoing saga, a sort of interquel between the original and the eventual sequel and that there is at least one more downloadable episode forthcoming. Personally I'm very excited to play it when it's released.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/28/10
Game Release: Alan Wake: The Signal (US, 07/27/10)
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