Why Does He Keep Losing His F*&king Gun?! Alan Wake Remastered

Early morning mist clings to the streetlights, sun still hiding behind the horizon. Sipping a cup of convenience store coffee that’s better than it should be and listening to love songs as I text my man, I feel at peace. That’s been a rare commodity these days. But one question circles in the back of my brain, threatening my quiet moment: Why the f*&k does Alan Wake keep losing his f*&king gun?!

***A few mild Alan Wake Remastered spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned!***

I know it’s been a while my fellow gamers. Meh…some circle of life stuff’s been going down and it knocked me off balance for a bit. And while I haven’t been writing or hanging out on social media, I have been gaming like a fiend. Last month I burned through four story-game titles: Lost Judgment, Far Cry 6, Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes, and a replay of God of War on hard. Yeah, I’m masochist, but we knew that.

For some reason, the inspiration fairy didn’t hit me with any of those games. Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed each of them, but it took Alan Wake and his f*&kwittery to move me to write. And the question remains: why can’t he seem to hang onto a motherf*&king weapon? One would think, other than survival, that would be objective #1. And one has a much better chance of surviving if one isn’t constantly having to scrounge for new armaments.

Yes, yes, yes, I know it’s part of the challenge, that and Alan is slow, stamina impaired, and in no way a bada$$. Which only strengthens my case for holding on to a pump-action shotgun for dear life! Needless to say, the combat in Alan Wake Remastered wasn’t the smoothest or most satisfying. In fact “frustrating as all hell” would be the phrase I’d use. The story, on the other hand, is a quirky, creepy masterpiece. It also gives the player some pretty accurate insight into what it’s like to write a story.

Early on the game pays homage to Stephen King and rightfully so. The premise of the story smacks of The Dark Side, but not so much that it’s predictable. In fact the devs borrowed from a lot of horror greats, such as HP Lovecraft and Clive Barker and then made the story their own. And the iconic last line of the game will stick with you forever, as you pull your hair out wondering WTF it means. “It’s not a lake, it’s an ocean.” I read the devs explanation of it and I still don’t really get the point, though that’s part of its charm.

Speaking of the cryptic ending, let’s talk about the DLC. Okay, I understand that DLC is invariably more difficult than the main game. This makes perfect sense in games such as The Witcher 3 and Horizon: Zero Dawn. By the end of those games, you’re character is a total freaking bada$$. You need beefier, more deadly enemies to keep you engaged.

Alan Wake does not have that kind of progression. Why then are the enemies in The Signal and The Writer more copious and more difficult to kill? I mean, Alan still can’t hang on to a weapon to save his motherf*&king life. Literally. I got so irritated with it last night I shut off the game lest I chuck my controller at the TV. Don’t think Charles would much appreciate that. But seriously, Alan had no more health, speed, or common freaking sense than he did in the main game so why…why…WHY?!

Alan Wake will leave you with more questions than answers and sometimes that’s okay. The writer in me loves that the story isn’t tied up in a neat bow at the end. The gamer in me did enjoy the unique challenge of weakening my foes with a flashlight. Yep, you read that right, a flashlight. But the realist in me says if Mr. Wake loses his godd@mn gun one more time, I’m through with him. Okay and I might be tempted to dive into the shmup Charles is playing. I guarantee you his character in Hired Gun ain’t constantly misplacing their arsenal. And Mama needs a brand new distraction.

#GamersUnite

Photo credit: Circle chirpty.com

When I started writing again after years of stress and loss, I knew I’d have to use social media to communicate my project to the wider world. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. As I’ve stated before, I’m painfully shy. Some of that is natural introversion. Some of it’s learned through pain, heartbreak, and betrayal. Engaging with other people can be scary.

I started posting on Twitter again after years of never opening the app and I didn’t know what to expect. First, most of my followers from my former life are authors of romance and erotica. Would anyone give a $h!t about a middle-aged woman blogging about her passion for gaming? Well, I didn’t start this journey for readers. While truly grateful for everyone who takes the time to read my ramblings, this is my vision. It’s my story. So I put on my grown-up gamergirl pants (well, leggings) and decided to start engaging with other gamers on Twitter.

What I discovered surprised me. Most of the gamers I’ve engaged with on Twitter are the nicest, coolest people I’ve ever met. Yes, there’s the occasional person who just wants to hit on me. And there are others who just want to promote their projects and that’s it. But the vast majority are intelligent and funny and kind and genuinely interested in sharing the joy of gaming.

There are different factions. Some staunch retro gamers. Those that only play on the cutting edge. Some strictly Nintendo. Some XBox devotees and those of us married to the PlayStation. Not the mention the PC players.

There are vast differences in ages, anywhere from teens to those of us who are a *little* more seasoned. You got sweats and casuals. Ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, geographic region…the list of differences goes on and on. But here’s the really awesome part: none of the issues that divide the general pop seem to apply. A gamer is a gamer. All are welcome.

Now there are certain rules: no yucking someone else’s yum and never ever suggest From Software add difficulty levels…kidding, kidding. There really is only one rule: respect for your fellow gamer. The virtual world is large enough to for us all to find our own bliss. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the real world worked that way?

So, I’d like to thank my gamer tweeps for helping this grown-up gamergirl find a place where she feels she fits in. When I returned to Twitter I had somewhere around 1400 followers, a month and a half later I’ve got about 2000. That’s 100 new friends a week. No, it’s not about the numbers, never that. It’s about feeling welcome. It’s been far too long since I’ve felt at home. #GamersUnite. Y’all know how we do 😉

Same Old Song

Image credit: Google search

Gotta give a shout out to Unwantedlife.me for inspiring this post. Unwantedlife’s comment on my Memorial Day post stated:

…I use[d] to be an avid gamer until the PS4 came out. The PS4 killed my love of gaming with games that were carbon copies of the previous generation, just with slightly better graphics

Unwantedlife.me

Excellent point. And unfortunately, the PS5 is no different. Currently, there are few games designed solely for the new gen consoles, unless you count Cyberpunk 2077. Ohhh, low blow. I’m sorry CD Projekt Red, you know I still love ya.

As I play my way through Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, I wonder: Is re-releasing older games on next gen consoles only about the Benjamins? Re-master, remakes, and re-releases, to quote MGK, let’s talk about it.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, for me, is proving a good ROI. That is, of course, just personal opinion, but this is Cindy’s world so that’s allowed. I feel I am getting $60 worth of entertainment out of the titles. Yay! That’s not always the case, even with seminal games such as Final Fantasy VII Remake. Hated it!

But what about the folks who have already played the originals? Say, they purchased the Mass Effect games when they first released. Games were slightly cheaper then, but still that’s about $150 invested. To turn around almost fifteen years later and ask for another $60. Hmmm…yeah I see it. I see the outrage of gamers everywhere. The industry sends us lots of messages that state: we couldn’t give a f@#k less about y’all.

Allow me to play devil’s advocate for just a second, though. Complaining that game devs and distributors don’t care about us is tantamount to complaining that our drug dealer isn’t concerned with our well-being. Well, duh.

So, let’s examine the industry partyline on remakes and remasters. First, they are driven by nostalgia and fan demand. Re-releases also introduce older classics to a new audience. They have the added effect of bolstering interest in newer titles in the same franchise. Plus, these past hits are almost guaranteed to hit again. Kinda like a sure bet. I’d add a citation here, but I had to check in with my gamers friends to confirm this list. When studios talk about their makeover titles, they mostly speak about the added value and not so much the reasoning behind the project. Added value, that’s a classic sales technique which bolsters the “all about the Benjamins” side of this debate.

Again, Imma play devil’s advocate. Yes, I understand the gaming industry is a money making machine, but I am grateful for the opportunity to play the amaze-balls (sorry, I’m over caffeinated) Mass Effect trilogy in its new incarnation. Let’s see, when game one was released November 20, 2007. I had a three year old and was smack in the middle of my corporate wh0r3 days working 60+ hours per week. Yeah, no effing way I was getting anywhere near a console.

Mass Effect 2 released January 26, 2010. We did have an XBox 360 by then, but my son was seven and I had lots of PTA, housewife stuff to do so I missed that one. Mass Effect 3 in 2012, same story. Those were heavy Minecraft and Skylanders days and I don’t regret a minute spent playing with my boy. Man, don’t even get me started on Stealth Elf. She was my go-to girl. But all that time spent caring for my family meant little to no time to play grown-up titles.

Now, that my son is a year away from being an adult and he’s not about to game with Mom, I got the time. It is cool to revisit the games I missed cuz, you know…life and stuff. I’m sure the same applies to the younger generation who were too young to wield a controller back then.

What gives the Mass Effect games that “it” factor is the perfect trifecta. The mystery and pageantry of the story combined with kicka$$ RPG, shoot ’em up gameplay, plus the recurring characters you really care about, yeah…that’s the good stuff right there.

That being said, aside from Yakuza Kiwami, most of the updated re-releases I’ve played aren’t all that. They’re like that older celebrity who from a distance looks gorgeous but when you get closer you can tell they been heavily “refreshed”. This brings me to a crucial difference: remaster vs. remake.

A remaster is like touching up an old painting. The colors are brighter; the shading and lighting effects and reflections are more realistic. Of course, everything is in HD. Gameplay is smoother, bugs and glitches fixed. And these days devs also add HDR and 4K compatibility (techradar). But for the most part it really is the same old song.

In a remake, the game is rebuilt from ground up. There might even be changes to characters or even storylines. The studio and devs get to express their artistic interpretation of an old favorite (techradar). In my opinion, a remake gives gamers a lot more bang for their buck. Unless it’s Final Fantasy VII the Remake, then I say don’t bother. That’s right, emo-boy Cloud Strife, I’m looking at you. Just kidding, I know the game speaks to a lot of people, I’m simply not one of them. I’m not their target audience…product of its time…yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.

Sorry, that’s my last outburst, I promise.

Okay, here’s the problem I have with all these re-releases: there are precious few quality game releases each year. When I rekindled my love affair with gaming about a year and a half ago, I was shocked at the molasses-in-January rate at which new titles are released, especially triple AAA games. There is no other industry on the planet that can put out a trailer three to five years in advance of the product. Say what? That’s right, we’re expected to drool for years. And we do!

There are also lots of fluff releases and studios blatantly ripping off successful games. When you burn through a new game every two to four days, that’s a nasty habit to support. Sometimes the supply of quality games just isn’t there.

Image credit: https://www.italymagazine.com/dual-language/story-behind-michelangelos-david

In a decidedly instant gratification society, this seems a poor business model. I would guess the flood of remasters is the gaming industry’s way of keeping money rolling in while they chip away at their Michelangelo’s David. Still, wouldn’t those masterpieces move along a teensy bit faster if resources and staffing allocated to do-overs were poured into new projects? Just saying.

When it comes down to it, gaming studios only gonna do what we, as gamers, allow. We keep buying the re-releases so they will continue to pump them out. Then again, what the f@#k else are we gonna play in between truly playworthy new releases? Definitely a double-edged sword.

Time to hear from you guys: Do you think re-released titles are worth playing or do you think it is just about the money?

Please like, follow, hit me up on social media, it all helps. And if you’re a fellow bloggers, please feel free to drop a link in your comments. I love to read almost as much as gaming. All comments and follows returned.

Sites cited:

https://www-techradar-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.techradar.com/amp/news/game-remakes-vs-remasters-whats-the-differencehttps://www-techradar-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.techradar.com/amp/news/game-remakes-vs-remasters-whats-the-difference