I wish I could see what other people see in Alan Wake. It seems like a great, fun, charming thing but to me the game was always just kind of a mess. I lost count of how many times you would enter a new combat area, watch through a cutscene where the enemies spawned in, then as soon as you’re in control again surprise! We spawned two enemies behind you that we didn’t show.
It also didn’t help that I came to the game late with all the DLC and the follow-up American Nightmare. American Nightmare plays so much better, everything about it from movement down to sound effects is improved and feels perfect. At the same time though, at the same time though, American Nightmare perfectly highlights my problem with Alan Wake as a story and a character.
After you repeat the loop enough in American Nightmare, Alan has a conversation with one of the characters where he spells out that actually, all of this is happening because the stories he writes become true. The woman confronts him about the fact that he’s writing people to death for the sake of a good story, and Alan’s response is “well does it really matter if they don’t know I’m doing it? Of course it matters Alan. You took the most interesting moral problem of the entire concept and just waved it off, which is kind of a bummer.