Alan Wake – The Signal
- Xbox 360
The Signal is the first downloadable addition to the story of Alan Wake. If you bought the game brand new, this doesn’t cost you a thing, which is always a plus, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a free add-on. The story continues exactly where the main game left off, and acts as the next Episode in the series, while adding some newer game-play mechanics and more challenging arenas for combat.
The story of The Signal is very straightforward and explores the characters of Alan Wake and Thomas Zane, a character mentioned throughout the main title. It doesn’t, however, move towards a new end as much as other Episodes during the game. As with the rest of the game, the cliff-hanger ending works well, leaving plenty of room for additions like this in the future.
A game-play element that appeared in the last few minutes of the main game has been really fleshed out in this add-on. The words that appear in front of Alan can be turned into whatever the word is. Whether this is tools to help you, like a Flare gun, or an enemy, entirely depends on the word. This is used effectively in one section in a basement full of furnaces, which “blast” open and can be used to dispatch enemies very easily.
The combat itself is a lot more challenging than all previous Episodes in the main game. Every encounter up to the final battle is genuinely hard, but never feels unfair. It throws all it can at the player, and tests all of their skills obtained playing through the initial story. Even on normal it’s certainly no walk in the park, and it feels very fair in doing so. The final battle itself isn’t too hard, but does feel like the right amount of challenge for the end of the Episode, leaving you wanting that little bit extra.
Coffee you collected throughout the game doesn’t return for this Episode and the same goes for the Manuscript pages and other collectables. In their place are ticking alarm clocks and cardboard cut outs of other characters as if they had been the famous author. It is a really interesting insight into their characters and the mind of Alan Wake. They are a lot easier to find, as the Episode is one of the shortest in the game, as well as the ticking clocks being quite loud. They are still fun to find, and it definitely feels worth while.
The Signal is a short, challenging and interesting addition to the story of Alan Wake, but leaves a little to be desired in the area of story development. If obtained through purchase of the main game new, it’s a fantastic value. If you need to purchase it, it’s still worth it, as it provides you with just enough more to keep you going and interested. It’s intriguing and defiantly makes you want to find out the continuing adventures of Alan Wake, as weird as they are.