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Would I like this Alan Wake? I mean, I know the stories are not related but, in terms of gameplay and narrative, is it anything like the Paynes? Thanks in advance.
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Short version: It is a good game, but it is completely different in almost every regard from Max Payne. It is like saying "I liked Codex Alera, will I also like The Dresden Files?"

In terms of narrative: The story is very good and very well told. But, it is a different genre. Think of Max Payne as a good modern noir story, whereas Alan Wake is a psychological thriller.

In terms of gameplay: This is Alan Wake's biggest weakness. I wouldn't call it bad, but you basically learn everything there is to know about combat from your first flare. It gets very tense at times, but the combat is really just another facet of the atmosphere.

This is a game you play for story, not gameplay.

That being said, a set piece around the midpoint of the game has you fighting off waves of enemies on a concert stage as a really fun song plays in the background, your plucky sidekick makes fun remarks, and you use fireworks as weapons. That alone made all the gameplay worthwhile :p
From what I've read (haven't played my copy yet, probably won't until tomorrow), it has some of that self-realization humor present in the first Max Payne (like the Valkyr dream).

Basically, different kind of game and combat, but definitely seems to have that Remedy stamp upon it. I'll edit this tomorrow when I play, Max Payne is fresh in my mind from a recent playthrough.

EDIT (as promised): Just finished the first episode. The shooting mechanics are not bad, not quite as awesome as Max Payne. The mood and setting, however, is pretty awesome. The game mixes a really creepy atmosphere with a humorous cast of characters and dialog. Some of the sound effects (doors, for example) seem to be lifted directly from Max Payne. The music is great, too.

Overall, for my first impression, I think that the Remedy trademark is definitely there. And the shooting is solid, if not as majestic as the bullet-time madness of Max Payne. The game does atmosphere and exposition really well, so if you can appreciate the way in which Max Payne handled crime noir, you will appreciate the way in which Alan Wake handles suspenseful thrills.
Post edited May 09, 2012 by EC-
If you want a game that is saturated with mood and atmosphere while also providing a solid narrative on top of some shooting mechanics, then yes.

Do not fool yourself, though: this game is a third-person shooter. That core shooting mechanic is alright, but it's nowhere near as continually compelling as what Max Payne did.

You are going into this game for the world that Remedy created, the detail they offer it, the characters and their story.
Gundato: This is a game you play for story, not gameplay.
And yet more than half the game is padding. This game is hideously repetitive and boring. I have to admit I enjoyed the story and found the way it was told to be quite original, the way you read the story as it is happening and before it happens. I had almost no fun with the gameplay at all however. It has no meaningful puzzles and as I said the combat is really boring and monotonous. Quite challenging at times but almost all of the encounters are the exact same and they recycle the same boss fights many times.

The only time I had any fun was when I ran out of ammo and batteries early on in the game and had to run away from one of the bad guys, because running away is basically useless and so that part was really tense. That never happened again however because the game is ridiculously liberal with ammo for a "horror" game and I never ran out after that. Toward the end I actually skipped many of the encounters and actually skipped a boss fight. A game should never make you want to skip over integral parts of it. I also got tired of the teleporting key card squad zombies and predictable scares after a while. This game really needed to be more based around story and much less around combat.
Post edited May 18, 2012 by Bridge
To weigh in, having just completed the last of the special episodes. Even if it's rather late compared to the original post.

I didn't realise this was the same guys who made Max Payne, so after initial impressions on episode 1 I thought it felt as if someone were trying to make a Silent Hill like story in a game which for some reason felt a lot like Max Payne storytelling wise. Then I found out why it felt a bit like that afterwards.

The story is definately what you'd play this game for. The mechanics are okay, they serve their purpose, at least if you have a controller. Just like Max Payne, you'll be fighting a lot of enemies which strictly speaking didn't need to be there, though Max had a better premise for them to be there.

My biggest gripe would have to be that the game seems to hit it's head around Episode 3 and forget that it's not trying to be Doom 3. It's a bad sign when you realise the first thing you should do when something jumps out in front of you, is to turn around because of the thing most likely behind you who is much closer. Whittling enemies' "shield of darkness" away with your flashlight can be considered tedious, but when you've got multiple enemies it also increases tension because you leave yourself open to attack.

In all a rather good experience if you like "horror"/"thriller" stuff, very well told.
Though if you have a low tolerance for repetetive fights and some rather cheap placement of enemies you might want to skip it.