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Alan Wake Day#4: “Who Wrote This Crap Anyway?”

So the title of this post in a quote from a character in the game, and it basically sums up my feelings. The story is making less and less sense, and whatever limited power it manages to not squander with stupid writing, it loses with the ridiculous spoilers. The combat is still ok, but the game is getting repetitive in all of the losing my equipment and having to regain it stuff. Things seem to be tying up, which I can only describe as a blessing. Spoilers within.

We pick up at the hospital again. Dr. Hartman’s shtick is that he encourages artists to create. It seems fishy. He’s leading me around the hospital to “remind” me where I am. We  get into an elevator, and he tells me alice drowned and that I’m creating a fantasy where everything revolves around me as a way to deal with it. Alan’s voice-over says Alan thinks Hartman’s lying but he’s going along with it to avoid another shot. We go outside and there are nice storm sounds as we look out on Cauldron Lake. We head back inside and Hartman describes himself as a hunter. There are truly dumb insane people in this hospital, just bad writing and performance. Some guy named Emerson claims he’s a nightmare and oh ho ho he makes video games and Hartman makes fun of games as childish. How ironic! This is a game and they are making fun of games! Oh, Remedy, your cleverness knows no bounds.  We also meet the Anderson brothers who are old metal musicians and crazy people. We cut to a CS with power going out.  Hartman leaves Alan with the brothers, but he wants Alan to write. The Anderson brothers are stupid characters and ugly models.  They call me Zane and give me a manuscript page they have.  It mentions an Emil I haven’t heard of before.

I have control back and run upstairs. A TV comes on to show Alan talking about writing. His editor is using him to make a story, and he’s still in the cabin writing. I get a couple of thermoses (and a thermos achievement!) and then with no other choice, I head back to my room. There’s a CS of Alan at typewriter. There’s a flash of Alan typing in a dream but he doesn’t type for real.  His hands are shaking. There’s a commotion downstairs and the goon at the door leaves.  I get control and walk downstairs. The Andersons have knocked out a nurse. I get keys from her and  go to Hartman’s office to get my manuscript pages. Along the way, I play a tape of Alice I find in a side room. She’s describing Alan as angry and frustrated to Hartman. It’s the same words she used in the phone call in the mine.  She wanted to bring Alan here to help him. A stupid manuscript page in this room reveals that Hartman was in with the kidnappers. Man, these things spoil like CRAZY.

I find Barry locked in a room. Barry reveals that he was at the cops and bluffed his way out —  Hartman was obviously lying now.  Boy, that plot lasted all of two seconds. There’s a CS as they enter Hartman’s office. Alan gets all the manuscript pages and then Hartman comes in. Wake pulls a gun on him and demands the truth.  Wake tells  Barry to get the car and Barry leaves. Hartman reveals that he wants Wake to write something amazing with him so that it will come true.  Darkness comes into the room.  Wake runs out and locks the door.  Darkness takes Hartman, and Wake walks away with an uncanny (in the gross, not the scary way) smile.

I get control back and there’s darkness that hurts me all around the office. I have to mash A to unlock door out of the office, and that leads me to the main room with lots of flying furniture. I have to go turn the  upstairs generator on to use light to bring them down. The first time, I can’t find way out and die when the light fails.  Oh I had to run through a door right away. I do it, and get a flare. I use the flare to burn away darkness over a door and head out into another room. I turn on the TV there on to watch a commercial. I run through the hall to a blocked door, but a dark chandelier breaks the door open. I’m then trapped in the next room until the next door broken by the chandelier. That’s lame that I had to wait for a set-piece to save me. I  run outside to Barry. He’s behind a locked fence, and I have to run out through a hedge maze to meet him. He gives me flashlight before I go.

I get hit by a few flying things and then zap dark gate to get out to the maze. I run to a light and then continue through the maze. I take some fights and get out of the maze. As I leave,  I kill Hartman (an easy, easy boss) while birds attack me. Hartman dead, I go down stairs. There are a few more fights and I get to a light just in time to save me from a mob. I’m killed in garden once in an ambush, but then I get through it. I go down the path in a little stone room where the camera angle keeps me from seeing (and thus dodging) the flying furniture. I get through that room and another fight to get to the gate where Barry is. The gate is locked and Barry dropped the key.  I have to defend myself from an oncoming Taken mob while he finds it. I hold them off with flares and bullets and get out. In CS,  Barry is driving the truck as he and Alan blast through dark things. They drive to the Anderson Farm even though Barry wants to leave town. We cut to them driving further along. In CS Alan describes himself as crazy.  He knows Alice is alive in the lake, and Bright Falls makes art real.  The Andersons knew it too; that’s why they told Alan to go to the farm. As they drive, rocks hit car and flip it over. Alan ends up down on the rock cliff, having lost his gun. Boy, when has that happened in this game.

I get control back and Alan talks to Barry as I run. He’s at the top of the rocks and can’t reach me.  He uses a flare to get rid of some encroaching Taken. He’s going to meet me at the farm.  I run past a flying object that I use a temporary spotlight to get rid of. There’s more running/dodging flying things and another dark gate/find generator puzzle. Past that gate, I get a flashlight but no weapon.  Taken appear to attack me. I try to start generator I find but can’t get it started while they attack me.  Instead I run to a nearby light to save myself. I continue moving and  see a car heading away from the farm. Alan wonders if it’s Barry, having recklessly lost to the Taken. I keep going forward, and see the car heading to a nearby cabin. A light suddenly appears ahead of me saying it’s trying to deliver pages to the right places to show me how the story goes. When the light disappears, Alan says the diver (Zane, obviously) has been placing pages on my path. I have a  little bit of fighting, where do fine and then suddenly die for seemingly no reason. I don’t know, but the next time I get through it. I  get to the cabin and its light.

Inside the cabin, I see a guy from the jail, and he’s dying. He went to farm to get some moonshine, but then his friend got Taken. “Who wrote this crap anyway?” the convict says, and I say well said, sir, well said. A nearby TV turns on, and the  Alan on the screen wrote himself into the story to take control so the darkness wouldn’t have total control. Well, there’s the plot — hope the game is near the end. I go downstairs, and kill the convict’s Taken friend. I get out a window and take a car. I drive a while, but then have to get out when my way is blocked. As I keep going, a front-end loader comes to life, and camera fucks me again to kill me. I start over again and get past it to a safe light. I run down into a field, and we cut to a CS of Barry on stage surrounded by Taken, but then the stage pyrotechnics go off and save him. I get control back as Alan jokingly reprimands him. There’s a big fight on stage as Taken try to overrun us while Barry gets the stage working. I die twice in this fight but then win. It’s very Brutal Legend in this scene. When I beat the mob, I reload and head to the farm.

I reach the farm. Alan jokes with Barry  about him saving the cut-out. I have to move a big thing out of way to get into a building.  Again with the find-the-control puzzle. I go inside the barn, and turn on the TV to see another Twilight Zone parody. Alan apparently wrote for this show, but not this lame episode. We stuck in this barn, but I activate a generator to use a boat on the ceiling to break a way out. I have to fight my way downstairs and then get outside. I dodge some hanging sparkling wire, and then get into another big fight in a field. I win and catch up with Barry at a light. I go into another building, a silo. I have to open door for Barry to get out of here. I climb up to the top with only one guy to kill. I turn on a power source and take an external elevator back down. A harvester is Taken down there, and have to defeat it and a small pack of Taken. I die once, and I think I have to shoot the harvester in the thrasher to kill it. I’m wrong though –I just need last long enough and flashlight it enough to destroy this. I win and reach the outside of the silo, but I have to find a key to get Barry out.   Barry keeps whining as I find the keys and get him out.

We head to the Anderson house and the lights are out. I have to find fuse box. I do and we light the lights. With the lights on, we find a record (Alan thinks it’s message from the Andersons). It’s a song about Weaver. There’s a CS of them listening to the record.  Barry wants to get drunk since they are going to wait the night. I cut ahead to them drunk. It’s a dumb drunk scene.  Why did they drink the moonshine that obviously fucked up the Andersons? I mean, it was on a manuscript page I found — is Alan just not reading them?  So dumb.  They pass out in the room. Alan wakes (zing!) and looks at the cutout. We flash to Diver’s Isle, and cut to me taking control there. I’m an out-of-body observer (thanks voice over for explaining that!) and I can move around. It’s kind of disconcerting since nothing indicates you are out of body and so you spend a little time trying to find your body. Anyway, I follow Alan to his dive into the lake. I see him then climb out not finding Alice. Jager had her.  Jager tells Alan to go back in the cabin to get Alice and I see Alan go back in the cabin.  Jager tells Alan to go to his study, but then Alice is not there. Jager stupidly taunts Alan and tells Alan he can write to save Alice. There’s a CS of Jager making Alan write and Alan is weirdly zombie-like — isn’t that against the narrative if Alan didn’t choose to write? Jager then notices the out-of-body Alan and confronts him quickly. The voice over explains that Alan wrote a story where Jager became more and more powerful, but then Alan wrote a light into the story to save him before the story finished. The light is Zane and in the CS,  Zane in diver outfit appears in the study and Alan escapes. The house explodes in light as Alan tries to drive away but he’s too weak and crashes.

The current Alan awakes to see Agent Nightingale over him with gun, putting him under arrest. That’s the end of episode four. The musical interlude is a dopey folk song written for the game and I can’t take it. I skip it and that’s the end of the night for me.

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  1. Vic 2.0 says

    “The story is making less and less sense, and whatever limited power it manages to not squander with stupid writing, it loses with the ridiculous spoilers.”

    I wouldn’t call any of the writing “stupid”, though I do see some shortcomings here or there. But I find it odd how you’re harping on the “spoilers” (which don’t really spoil much of anything, truth be told) even though by your admission you’re not understanding the story. I would think that any spoilers worth ranting about would be giving away information that made it all too clear, all too quickly.

    “The combat is still ok, but the game is getting repetitive in all of the losing my equipment and having to regain it stuff.”

    It’s rather obvious that in this type of game you DON’T want the opportunity to hoard ammo, as you want the player to keep feeling vulnerable – not invincible. There are very few gameplay-related flaws in this game, and one is that it gives you too much ammo in many locations. And now you’re saying they should’ve made it WORSE by allowing you to be fully stocked in ammo the whole game through?

    “There are truly dumb insane people in this hospital, just bad writing and performance.”

    Have you ever spent any time around crazy people? I think they nailed it.

    “Some guy named Emerson claims he’s a nightmare and oh ho ho he makes video games and Hartman makes fun of games as childish. How ironic! This is a game and they are making fun of games! Oh, Remedy, your cleverness knows no bounds.”

    Actually, he doesn’t call them “childish”; he calls them “trash”. Childish would be making fun of games for something trivial as this. And it’s ironic that you diss their cleverness while thinking it’s just about self-awareness, and missing the obvious commentary on what KINDS of people make fun of games.

    Emerson also has a monologue going if you talk to him after the cutscene with Odin and Tor that is pretty amazing. Him, and the guy outside.

    “We also meet the Anderson brothers who are old metal musicians and crazy people. We cut to a CS with power going out. Hartman leaves Alan with the brothers, but he wants Alan to write. The Anderson brothers are stupid characters and ugly models.”

    I thought they were entertaining, and I agree the facial animations here – well, throughout the game, really – are pretty bad.

    They call me Zane and give me a manuscript page they have. It mentions an Emil I haven’t heard of before.

    “A stupid manuscript page in this room reveals that Hartman was in with the kidnappers. Man, these things spoil like CRAZY.”

    You are confusing use of a different storytelling device (other than cutscenes) with a spoiler. Like the picture in the hall, it’s telling you who Mott really was here instead of in the upcoming cut scene because there simply won’t be any time to sit and chat about Mott (who is likely dead). Different ≠ bad.

    “Hartman was obviously lying now. Boy, that plot lasted all of two seconds.”

    I’m sorry, are you telling me you bought Hartman’s BS for two whole seconds? This whole scene was not to make you question Wake’s sanity. That’s why Alan says he knew Hartman was lying in the narration right after he made the claim. The point was just to trap you here for the upcoming (and rather thrilling!) escape.

    “Darkness takes Hartman, and Wake walks away with an uncanny (in the gross, not the scary way) smile.”

    Seriously? There’s nothing wrong with the smile. He looks like he’s chuckling at the thought of the guy partly responsible for his wife’s disappearance, dying.

    “I’m then trapped in the next room until the next door broken by the chandelier. That’s lame that I had to wait for a set-piece to save me.”

    There’s nothing lame about it. You have to use your head a bit to figure out that’s what you’re supposed to do. Then you have to be (reasonably) good at getting out of the way at just the right moment so it hits the door and not you. Only reason I can think of to call it “lame” or anything like that is if you struggled with this part and aren’t a very good sport.

    I run outside to Barry. He’s behind a locked fence, and I have to run out through a hedge maze to meet him. He gives me flashlight before I go.

    “As I leave, I kill Hartman (an easy, easy boss) while birds attack me.”

    That was actually Birch, not Hartman, and you’re the first person I’ve heard call this battle easy!

    “I go down the path in a little stone room where the camera angle keeps me from seeing (and thus dodging) the flying furniture.”

    That wasn’t my experience here at all. This “room” has one poltergeist. And it’s a wheelbarrow sitting right in front of the gate you have to go through, so there’s no chance of missing it (unless you’re walking backwards, which, even then you get a nice loud warning as it’s lifting up TO fly atcha). And I never had problems with the camera angle, especially not while outside.

    “As they drive, rocks hit car and flip it over. Alan ends up down on the rock cliff, having lost his gun. Boy, when has that happened in this game.”

    That, has never happened in the game. He has gotten into one car accident before this, but he had no gun to lose in the first place and the accident wasn’t caused by rocks hitting the car. He’s lost his gun and flashlight before, but I’ve already covered how silly it is to criticize a horror/thriller game because it won’t let you hoard ammo.

    “A nearby TV turns on, and the Alan on the screen wrote himself into the story to take control so the darkness wouldn’t have total control. Well, there’s the plot — hope the game is near the end.”

    All that TV tells you is how you ended up being bound to the story. It doesn’t even begin to tell you where you’re going, why, or how it might end – except to say it’s a horror story and so there will be victims. Understanding (part of) what happened in the past does not mean you know what’s going to happen, or even what’s going to be attempted.

    “As I keep going, a front-end loader comes to life, and camera fucks me again to kill me.”

    How did the camera kill you? This enemy doesn’t even move toward you, and you have full control of the camera the whole time.

    I haven’t played Brutal Legend; what did that have in common with this scene (except that you can see/hear a guitar)?

    “I have to move a big thing out of way to get into a building. Again with the find-the-control puzzle.”

    Why do you keep calling them “puzzles”, that’s what I’d like to know. Do you also call chess tournaments boxing matches, so you can blast the first one for not being a very action-packed boxing match?

    “I cut ahead to them drunk. It’s a dumb drunk scene. Why did they drink the moonshine that obviously fucked up the Andersons? I mean, it was on a manuscript page I found — is Alan just not reading them? So dumb.”

    First off, I would like to point out that pretty much EVERY drunk scene is a dumb one. After all, people act very dumb while drunk and that’s no secret. If they annoyed you, GREAT! That’s what I call a believable drunk scene. Second, there are two mentions of the special properties of the moonshine, and both are in missable storytelling devices. One is, as you said, in a manuscript that implies it’s the moonshine that made Odin and Tor go crazy AND IMPLIES IT GAVE THEM SPECIAL POWERS with the line “Their songs have power” following the other seeming side effects of it. The other mention of it is in the after-cutscene dialogue with the Andersons back at the lodge, in which they tell Alan the moonshine is “medicine” that clears your head up and makes you remember stuff. So it would seem that if Alan had learned anything about the special properties of their moonshine (Because for any player who misses BOTH devices, it makes even more sense why he wouldn’t hesitate to get wasted), he had to have heard something good either exclusively or along with the bad. Now recall that the Andersons talk about how being crazy is a requirement for understanding what’s going on IN the cut scene. Even if Alan blamed the moonshine for their craziness, you might interpret his decision to mean that he’d rather go crazy from the moonshine than from not knowing where the hell his wife is… you know… if you’re a romantic 😉

    Otherwise he’s just – as events in the game imply – an alcoholic being irresponsible and dependent on alcohol especially when he is stressed. Works either way. But considering the dominant theme of this episode (Craziness as a virtue), I vote the first theory FTW.

    “Jager stupidly taunts Alan and tells Alan he can write to save Alice.”

    What part of it was stupid?

    “There’s a CS of Jager making Alan write and Alan is weirdly zombie-like — isn’t that against the narrative if Alan didn’t choose to write?”

    I don’t see how. It doesn’t contrast with anything elsewhere. He’s clearly out of his mind in those TV sequences, and of course the amnesia makes sense at this point. And if you meant the NARRATION (of the game or the TV sequences), I would say our monotone voice has been explained as well. He says “Yes… I’ll write” about the same way he says everything else outside of other cutscenes and dialogue. Hmmm… My interpretation is that, we’re getting the narration from the writer of this story. He’s telling you what he’s written down as you’re experiencing it. I told you it gets deep! 😛

    ‘The Poet and the Muse’ is a pretty good tune, but I liked “War” better. Generally speaking, Poets of the Fall are awesome.



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