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YMMV / Alan Wake

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  • Creator's Favorite: Remedy has stated that they like Agent Nightingale's character (despite him generally being The Scrappy), and would like to explore his mysterious backstory further.
  • Cult Classic: According to Sam Lake himself. Its initial sales weren't the greatest (it had the bad luck of being released next to Red Dead Redemption), but they were steady, and its fanbase adores it for its story and dark atmosphere.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Barry, for his constant pop culture references from Zork to Mordor and for taking a couple of levels in badass from Episode 4 onwards. He's also liked because he gives Alan some Pet the Dog Moments. Once Alan starts snarking back and forth with Barry you realize, hey, Alan's not just a mopey jerkass. He's got a sense of humour!
  • Game-Breaker: The crossbow in American Nightmare is flat-out superior to every weapon in the game. The flare gun and flashbangs have been nerfed and have limited ammo, while the crossbow can be restocked at any ammo box. It ignores darkness shields, unlike anything that fires bullets. It can kill every normal Taken in one hit, and crowmen Taken in two. For the King Hillbilly Taken and Splitters, the flare gun and the magnum, respectively, will easily deal with them, and the crossbow will still nullify the former's darkness shield in one hit.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The Dark Crows, which are about as close to the trope namer as possible without actually being mammals. Also those damned Bear Traps in certain parts of the woods.
    • The Super Speed Taken and the lesser Fragile Speedster Taken. Neither are terribly threatening as long as you're attentive, but their speed means you can lose track of them in the Multi-Mook Melee, and that tends to be a deadly mistake.
    • In "The Signal" it becomes Goddamned Books.
    • In American Nightmare, the Goddamned Bats are literal Demonic Spiders.
      • Although you no longer have to fight crows, which is nice. They do appear in the game, but they take a human form to fight you, and only turn into a flock of crows as an evasive manoeuvre.
    • Grenadiers constantly heft grenades at you to slowly wear you down and keep as much distance between you and them as they can. It's not too bad during the story mode, but they will screw up you scoring streak during the arcade mode.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Rusty used to be human, but now he's just black coffee wrapped in skin."
    • For a combination of hilarity and harshness bestowed by hindsight, the recent revelation that Verizon routinely turns over all of its records to the National Security Agency makes it an ironically fitting sponsor for a game in which paranoia and everyone knowing everyone else's business are major themes.
    • The ending of American Nightmare becomes this after finding a certain Easter Egg in ''Control: Alan never made it out of The Dark Place. The ending was just an illusion to mess with his head.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The episodes ending with a musical track just makes the game's Twin Peaks nods even stronger, seeing as how that's how every episode of The Return ends.
    • At the beginning of 'The Clicker', Sheriff Breaker gives Barry a list of people to call and deliver a code phrase to, including her father Frank and Pat Maine, prompting Barry to excitedly ask if they're all part of some secret society. Turns out Barry was closer to the mark than even Sarah realized, as incident reports in Control reveal that Frank Breaker is a retired FBC agent, and ended up alerting the Bureau to the situation.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Hundreds of townsfolk from the surrounding landscape are Taken and gunned down over the course of the story. However, in "The Signal" Alan states that he wrote a "happy ending" for the town, and we know that the dead can be resurrected if you know what you're doing when writing a story; the ending implies that Alan brought everyone who was Taken in Bright Falls back to life.
    • Debunked in The Alan Wake Files. Clay Steward saw three funerals his first day in Bright Falls, and he heard there were numerous deaths and disappearances leading up to Deerfest.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Alan Wake himself. Considering the situation he was in.
    • Agent Nightingale Can be seen as this if you've read his backstory in The Alan Wake Files bundled with the limited edition of the game.
      • And carried on with the Novel which goes into even more detail; He and his partner were two By The Book Cops, until the latter's death at the hands of the Dark Presence
  • Memetic Mutation: He's Alan Wake. He's written books, y'know.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Maine's late night radio broadcasts really help take the edge off of fighting shadow monsters alone in the woods.
  • Narm Charm: As strong an element of Lake's writing as ever. His occasionally stilted and unnatural dialogue (possibly deliberate, in this case), often propped up with gratuitous film references right in the fore-text, is still very sincere in its desire to entertain and has won him many new fans.
    • Judging by some interviews, Lake is a native Finnish speaker (as is the company) with a really heavy accent so English may not be his first language resulting in some translation issues.
    • Barry wrapped in Christmas lights. He looks utterly ridiculous (something Alan himself lampshades), but because it's also an effective defense against the Dark Presence, it comes across as rather badass.
    • The live action scenes in American Nightmare, especially Mr. Scratch's messages to Alan. It's got the usual dorkiness of low-budget video game live action, but he's just so over the top it's hard not enjoy it.
  • Nausea Fuel: In one of Mr. Scratch's recordings in American Nightmare, he slashes the throat of one of Alan's female fans while gently massaging her head. The gurgling noise she makes as she dies is very disturbing.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Having a deranged hybrid of the Heartless and the Ganados flail at you wildly with a rusty sickle is unnerving right up until he kindly informs you, "Omega-3 fatty acids are GOOD for your health!".
    • But then swings back to Nightmare Fuel when you realize that the random phrases are all that's left of the original person.
    • But then another shouts "It's rabbit season!" to which you reply, "No it's duck season!" and blow his beak off with a hunting rifle.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Pulled straight from the pages of In the Mouth of Madness, anyone within Bright Falls might exist only as a character in Alan Wake's manuscript and can be killed off for the sake of its plot. Or worse, be touched by the Dark Presence and forced to do its bidding.
    • See that harmless tire right there? The Dark Presence might take it over and have it attack you. Oh, look, is that a bulldozer?...
    • At one point during Episode 2, if you go into a certain cabin, a Taken walks by one of the windows, before disappearing. Nothing happens, but it's still Paranoia Fuel to the max.
    • After finishing Episode 1, fighting off the Taken in the middle of the night, you're probably still tense and maybe a bit afraid of the dark. Episode 2 starts in a flashback at Alan's apartment. Alan's looking at cover mock-ups done by Alice - when the lights suddenly go out.
    • Near the entrance of a logging camp, there's a large machine with a claw for carrying logs. Stepping near it causes the claw to open and close menacingly while an Elite Taken starts yelling in his constantly shifting voice. While the machine doesn't do anything else, the Elite Taken is nowhere to be seen.
    • After Alan ends up in the Sheriff's Station, he walks out into the lobby, and the lights flicker. It's just Cynthia Weaver, local Talkative Loon, checking the bulbs.
  • The Scrappy: Agent Nightingale is seen by quite a few for being an especially obnoxious and Trigger Happy Inspector Javert, though Remedy may have special plans for him in a possible sequel.
  • Signature Scene: The Children of the Elder God sequence is considered one of the most memorable parts of the game.
  • Special Effects Failure: There are a few points where you can see the taken spawn from the aether before they attack you. Might've been done intentionally though, to add to their otherworldliness.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Remedy could not have made a better adaptation of In the Mouth of Madness if they'd tried.
  • That One Level: The battle after you find the radio that plays "War". It's a very cramped warehouse full of the large Taken that take forever to light up and have a tendency to bum rush you. It's also full of smaller, faster guys who can sneak up behind you very easily. Oh, and did I mention that you have recently lost all of your stuff and only get three flares to go along with your revolver? If you're lucky, you'll find a shotgun just before the radio, but it doesn't help that much.
    • That is, until you realize you can simply run past/dodge them all to the checkpoint outside, but you'd be forgoing the items inside. Although you can simply go back in, lure them outside, kill one, stand under the checkpoint to make them all despawn, then repeat until they're all dead, but that takes a while.
    • The Bear Traps are typically a minor annoyance. Getting caught in them doesn't do much damage, but you have to button mash your way out of them plus they spawn a Taken next to you that you have to deal with after. A No-Gear Level covered in bear traps, however? Brutal. Get caught in one, you have no way of fighting the Taken that spawns, so you run away, leading you to get caught in more bear traps since you aren't moving slowly and carefully, which summons more Taken.
  • Uncanny Valley: Multiple reviewers have made note of the somewhat "off" character models in the game, particularly Alice Wake. The poor lip-syncing, particularly in the first few cutscenes, doesn't help matters either.


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