Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

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JaySevenZero
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Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by JaySevenZero »

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“You didn’t like that one? A tough audience.”

Following a protracted period in well-publicised ‘development hell’, Max Payne developer Remedy’s David Lynch/Stephen King/Rod Serling homage Alan Wake was eventually released on Xbox 360 in May 2010 and almost two years later on PC. Leon, Karl and a returning Jay Taylor review this “psychological thriller”, plus we have significant input from other members of the Cane & Rinse team including the much-missed Tony Atkins. Furthermore as usual we hear passionate arguments for and against the title from you, our beloved listeners, in the form of forum posts and Three Word Reviews.

Music used in this show is as follows:

Track 1: The Well-Lit Room by Petri Alanko

Track 2: Up Jumped The Devil by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds


Cane & Rinse 64 was edited by Jay Taylor.


You can subscribe using iTUNES or use our RSS FEED, or you can just simply DOWNLOAD IT HERE instead.

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Scrustle
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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by Scrustle »

I didn't expect there to be a big negative response to this game. I thought it was generally pretty well regarded.

I used to have a friend who was a big Stephen King fan so he really loved it. From what I saw watching him play it it looked pretty interesting and unique.

I never knew the story was such a clusterfuck though. I knew it covered some strange, mysterious stuff, but that sounds completely baffling.

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by DomsBeard »

I'm halfway through the podcast and its got me intrigued story wise. My problem was that I didn't care that about Alan Wake at all but if it goes off at a tangent I fancy another dabble. I think I saw it in Sainsburys for £5 the other day so I might pick it up.

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mikeleddy83
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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by mikeleddy83 »

I always thought the negative views on this game came from the whole console wars scene which was at fever pitch by the time this game released. It's a pleasure to enjoy the harmony of a platform agnostic environment here though I've been known to be a bit of a bellend with my past sony bias but there's no mistaking that I enjoyed Alan Wake! Despite this I'd personally pin it up as a sticking point for why I expected it to be perceived in a negative light by many.

If I remember correctly the comment threads on places like Eurogamer were tragic scenes of why I didn't involve myself in video game communities until recently, just check out this clusterfuck:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/alan-wake-review

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by ratsoalbion »

Indeed.
I certainly don't agree with every rating that Eurogamer hand out but I think Ellie Gibson was spot on with a 7/10 for Alan Wake.
Trouble is of course 7/10 infamously has negative connotations in itself, when actually it's a good score.

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Sean
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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by Sean »

mikeleddy83 wrote:I always thought the negative views on this game came from the whole console wars scene which was at fever pitch by the time this game released.
I remember ragging on it, and, everyone telling me I'd like it if it were on PS3. :|

Great episode, though, guys. Nice balance of viewpoints, and, as much as I dislike the game, I'd still recommend people play it over many other titles. If nothing else, Alan Wake at least manages to garner passionate responses from people on both sides of the argument, and I can always appreciate that.

I almost kinda want to give it another shot.

Almost. ;)

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by Ghost World »

Really enjoyed the show guys, I wish you had talk a little more about a few of the larger gameplay set pieces but I understand that's hard to do when you haven't played the game in a few years.

Karl How the hell did you remember the story in such detail, I spent hours playing Alan Wake and I missed half of that stuff you were talking about!

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by Benjo321 »

Enjoyed the podcast guys, a pretty fair assessment of the game I thought :-)

One thing that came to mind while listening was the length of the episodes, am I the only one that thought they were a little on the long side?
I'm quite a slow and methodical player normally but each chapter seemed to take a minimum of about 90 minutes from what I can remember. Just felt way too long for my tastes and the way I play, almost felt like I was forcing myself to play for 2 hours just to finish at a convenient place in the story.

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by NokkonWud »

I played it a few times and found my notes from my appearance on The Digital Cowboys. Between those it was a case of filling in the gaps, I'm glad it just seemingly came across coherently!
Benjo321 wrote:Enjoyed the podcast guys, a pretty fair assessment of the game I thought :-)

One thing that came to mind while listening was the length of the episodes, am I the only one that thought they were a little on the long side?
I'm quite a slow and methodical player normally but each chapter seemed to take a minimum of about 90 minutes from what I can remember. Just felt way too long for my tastes and the way I play, almost felt like I was forcing myself to play for 2 hours just to finish at a convenient place in the story.
I think that's a fair point, long chapters drive me mad because, like you, I'm methodical. I go nuts looking for collectibles and upgrades in games so long chapters seem even longer and sap any enjoyment out of it I was having. Chapter 7 (I believe) in Dishonored was a perfect example of this for me.
Can't say I had issues with Alan Wake in that regard but understand how someone would.

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by InsrtCoins »

I'm just now catching up with a lot of the podcast's backlog, so please excuse the late response to this, but this is something I'd really like to weigh in on. I am a huge fan of Alan Wake, I think because the story fascinates me. Like the (chronologically) later writing of Coheed and Cambria (for instance), I am very interested in the relationship between author and the created work, and the battle between the two that I'm sure every author is familiar with. I never found myself disliking the character of Alan Wake, most likely because I have a writer's spirit as well (that is not a comment on my writing abilities but rather a set of priorities, desires, and motivations that drive many aspects of my world view into a very narrative-driven path). I suppose I was able to sympathize with his feelings for the divine importance of his work. That never seemed odd to me.

I thought that the combat was very engaging and the setting / aesthetic was phenomenal. I am from the Pacific Northwest of the United States myself, so it was very true to the experience I have had living here (minus the demonic forces). Narratively, the game admittedly falls on its face a number of times, but it always did so in such an interesting way, often sloppily handling really interesting, very heady ideas.

The main thing that surprised me when I listened to the podcast was the overwhelming positive response to the semi-sequel, American Nightmare. I thought the downloadable title was absolutely dreadful. Having played both games on my fairly capable PC, I will compliment the sequel in perfecting the controls and running quite a bit better than the main game (although it was visually less ambitious, so that probably had more to do with it than anything), but the game was an insult to what the original Alan Wake was. While the original game was a very engrossing literary experience, American Nightmare felt, in all of the worst ways, like a video game. Alan himself was made into more of a typical, hard-boiled video game hero. Mr. Scratch was made into a more sinister, Heath Ledger as the Joker villain. The biggest disconnect for me was the supporting cast. While the original game was teeming with believable yet quirky and bizarre townsfolk, the only other people Alan Wake runs into in the sequel are ridiculously attractive women. That and the fact that the sequel was entirely a combat game tarnished the ambitious legacy of the first game by producing a lowest-common-denominator, subpar sequel.

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by ratsoalbion »

We love it when people catch up with our old podcasts and feedback to us, so thanks :)

I'm not sure that I'd call our response to American Nightmare overwhelmingly positive - though you've heard the podcast more recently than I so I'll bow to you on that one!

I can't speak for the others, but I certainly enjoyed what I played of it - but then my favourite part of Alan Wake was always the combat. Perhaps if I'd been as invested in the main game as you were I'd have felt differently. I wouldn't consider American Nightmare any sort of classic, but for a £10 downloadable game (actually gifted to me by a kind listener), I found it to be a fun 'B' movie horror-themed shooter, whereas the main game was a bit po-faced and clunky in places.
Respect your opinion though, and can see where you're coming from fer sure.

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by NokkonWud »

It's great to hear that you're going back to the old shows, it's one of the real things we're happiest about with the show, that old episodes are as fresh as the new ones because we're not bogged down with 'topics of the week', there are so many other podcasts that do that, and do it really well, that we decided to do something different.

I'm probably the biggest fan of the game on the show, my favourite elements of the game were also the combat and the environment, I thought they absolutely nailed it and are two of the best examples, if not the best we've seen in the genre. I'd have preferred a darker horror experience, something along the lines of Silent Hill, with legitimate scares, after so long eerie characters and voices become the norm and somewhat predictable.
I didn't have a problem with what they tried with Alan Wake, I just thought it was a little ham-fisted in how it was handled. There was room there for a really compelling character and, for me, it just missed the mark.

Not sure I'd say we gave American Nightmare a positive response though. It used the great combat, but we all preferred the main game from memory and I hadn't even played it (because I was more intrigued by the more in-depth story from the main game and a shorter, combat based game didn't interest me at all.)

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Re: Alan Wake - Cane & Rinse 64

Post by InsrtCoins »

That's true. At the time of recording, I believe only one of you (if any of you) had played American Nightmare, so the positive reception I was referring to was from the forum correspondences that were read on the show.

I do agree that the combat was a very strong point in Alan Wake, and the sequel did smooth out some of the rough edges on what was already a very good combat system. However, even the combat, which I view as the strongest portion of American Nightmare, felt rather unfulfilled compared to the first game. Alan Wake was a survival horror title at its core, and its combat mechanics were driven by feelings of desperation rather than empowerment. The tension in the gunplay and, ultimately, what I think made it so engaging was having to make those choices as three enemies were rushing at you -- do you finish the first one off or try to break all of their shadows before they pulverize you? While the combat in the sequel was fun, I felt that, especially in brighter, less claustrophobic environments, it did not play to its strongest aspects.

I think I would have enjoyed playing the sequel more if it were not an Alan Wake branded game, which I admit is baggage that I am bringing into the experience myself. It's the same problem with Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Fun games that do what they set out to do well enough, but this is not the sequel that I wanted, and the fact that this exists and a proper sequel doesn't -- one that better fulfills what made the original titles unique and loved -- adds a bit of sting to the process. Ultimately, my biggest problems with American Nightmare come back to the game's tone. As I mentioned above, replacing the interesting and unpredictable (yet grounded and believable) townsfolk from the first game for overly attractive women -- it all felt a bit pandering, considering that the first title was almost exclusionary in how thoughtful it was.

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