Alan Wake PC Review: A Port That Gets It Right
There’s been talk of a PC version of Alan Wake for almost as long as there’s been an Alan Wake. Originally, developer Remedy was working on a PC version around the same time as the one that eventually made its way to the Xbox 360; but that project was scrapped, and more than a year has passed with only Xbox players having the opportunity to enjoy Remedy’s psychological thriller.
That is, until today. And while Remedy didn’t end up making a PC Alan Wake from the ground up, it did the next best thing: it took an already solid Xbox title and gave it just about every single upgrade and feature a PC player could ask for. The rest of the game development community should take note, because Alan Wake is a dissertation on how to make a damn fine PC port.
Alan Wake: PC (reviewed), Xbox 360
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Remedy Entertainment, Nordic Games Publishing
Released: Feb. 16, 2012
First off, we can skip much of the talk about Alan Wake as a game here, because this is the same game that hit Xbox 360 back in 2010. Our Mark Burnham gave Alan Wake a very respectable 91/100 in his review, and because it’s a port, all his points remain valid. Some of the writing in Wake is a bit cheesy, and on my less-than-top-of-the-line system, I saw a few of the old issues my Xbox had with trying to render the game’s graphics and light/darkness engine.
But I’m pretty confident in my assessment that it was my rig holding Alan Wake back and not the game itself weakening my experience, and even with the very slight issues I experienced, Remedy’s PC effort is visually beautiful. The differences in resolution between the two versions is pretty stark — in fact, Remedy released some screenshots detailing that fact — and when you can seriously start maxing out the settings on Alan Wake with the hardware capable of handling it, it looks pretty spectacular.
Remedy also does a great job of acknowledging that there are PC players out there with a lot of power behind their systems and provides them everything they need. Graphics can be tweaked up pretty high just in general, with the ability to scale up and down features like shadows, V-sync and anti-aliasing, and Alan Wake supports AMD Eyefinity 3-D 3-screen mode and NVIDIA’s NVISION2 Sterescopic 3-D. If you’re into adding dimensions and screen real estate to your game, you’ve got plenty of options in the PC version of Alan Wake, and nothing like these features ever made it into the Xbox version. Remedy even threw in the ability to adjust the field of view for Alan Wake because of popular demand by fans.
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