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Alan Wake, releasing soon on the Xbox 360, looks to bring survival horror back to gaming by combining a dark, twisted narrative with fast paced combat against surmountable odds. The story and imagery in Alan Wake is been described as being reminiscent of Twin Peaks or a Stephen King novel. Alan, a professional writer, has taken a vacation in a small town to clear his head of writer’s block. From there, strange things happen in the town; residents become possessed by darkness and Alan’s wife is kidnapped. Over the course of a few days, Alan must find out who, or what, has kidnapped his wife and why while he fights for his life against unspeakable horrors.

To help make the story believable is the voice acting; while none of the voice actors are immediately recognizable as famous names, they all perform their job excellently. Hearing the fear and uncertainty in Alan’s voice helps instill fear in you; you realize Alan is not as prepared for the horrors that await him as your typical action hero might be.

The story elements tie into the plot as well; to damage his enemies, Alan must use his flashlight, or any other available source of light, to destroy the darkness surrounding them. Only then can Alan defeat his enemies by using a large assortment of guns such as a pistol and a shotgun. However, many times there will be far more enemies than Alan can deal with, at which point he must run for the nearest available light source: Alan’s only salvation from the darkness.

Any fans of the survival horror genre should definitely shine a light on Alan Wake.

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