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Gaming Reviews

Alan Wake: The Signal

[Two and a half stars]
Rs 400

Sep 10, 2010

Two months after the superlative Alan Wake, Microsoft rewards those of us who bought the game brand new with some downloadable content that is should have been worth a gander. For the rest of you who bought Alan Wake used, the price of admission for The Signal stands at 560 MS Points (approximately Rs 400).

The Signal starts where the main game left off, complete with the mandatory “Previously on Alan Wake” TV drama style presentation we’ve come to love and expect from each episode. This episode takes place in the mind of our tormented protagonist.  Needless to say it would not be wise to start The Signal without finishing off the main game as it’s replete of spoilers pertaining to it.

While the first game had its fair share of exploration and a few puzzles, The Signal is pure action and insanity with cramped quarters combat, some new gameplay mechanics that allow you to use your flashlight to literally bring words to life and a host of new collectibles make this 90-minute romp worth the while. Oh, and everyone’s favourite literary agent and small town hating city slicker, Barry Wheeler makes an appearance keeping in line with the game’s reputation for awesome characters.

In terms of story, the main game had a stellar plot comparable to the X-Files or Twin Peaks, The Signal makes late night WWE seem like Lost. If you’re expecting any story progression post-Alan Wake you will be sorely disappointed.

Apart from this, those of you looking for something visually fresh, you might want to lower your expectations. Much of the graphics and visuals from the original game have been reused with a few twists keeping with the game’s nightmarish setting. The audio is as good as ever with some great voice acting and production values that are on par with most TV productions. However there is one solitary grouse, given the sheer variety and quality of Alan Wake‘s soundtrack is that there’s only been one additional track included.

So, while The Signal is a neat little add-on to what is one of the finer single player experiences of the year, you can’t help but feel a little short-changed. It feels more like a filler episode than a progression of the superlative storyline of the main game. It’s only worth a download if you’re aching for more survival horror action or your fix of Alan Wake. Given that there’s more downloadable content in the works (the next episode entitled ”˜The Writer’) you might just want to wait. Recommended with reservations.

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