The worst nightmares are those that seem to be scenes repeating again and again. You become aware you’re stuck in this dream and it won’t let you wake up, instead the words spoken repeat, the actions repeat; again and again until you wish you’d wake up or die. Alan Wake is stuck in a nightmare at the moment too and they’ve nailed this repetitive torture down to perfection.
The Writer is the second piece of download content for Alan Wake. It continues the story though in a way that means nothing exactly important will happen; filler through and through minus an ending which hints at where Alan Wake 2 could go from here. The story presented is actually ok though as Alan tries to break out of this bad dream of his imagination working against him. His mind seems to have got a little more vivid this time with floating islands, fairy light lit bridges and rotating rooms.
The new set pieces are what make this piece of dlc one of the better episodes in Alan Wake. The assets of environment are all still reused (don’t expect any new things to see, just old pieces scattered about in new ways) and the game doesn’t introduce any new weapons, enemies or moves but the way you run through these areas are a little more fun and even test the mind for about two seconds longer than before. The rooms which rotate are good fun as you try to find the exit as everything moves around and the whole surreal aspect of floating islands and making rocks disappear by flashing your torch at the words is great, especially when you are surrounded by about five enemies and having them defeated by the huge lighthouse light spreading across the forest. Last time the use of the floating words felt like a tedious gimmick as they were everywhere but they are used in more creative and interesting ways this time.
The problem with the piece of dlc is the fact the core game is just not that good. The enemies are boring thanks to the combat having very little variation and it all becomes a repeating nightmare. Shine torch (press y when it runs out), shoot (frustrating slow reload times cause lots of frustration as the enemy begins to hack you up), release flare (still get whacked a few times) when things get hectic, repeat. Seeing another wave of enemies to defeat is headache inducing rather than a fun challenge awaiting the player and while the set pieces show some new tricks on the engine, everything else is stuck on the same boring record. Hopefully the sequel will create some variation and a change from the woodland scenery. A good piece of download content however and fans should love it, just be prepared for the same old; with added rotating rooms.