Lots of video-game covers have a bold M on their lower left corner, but none have felt as mature as Alan Wake does. Its unsettled titular character carries adult concerns a stalled career, a troubled marriage into a psychological thriller set in a town taken over by a shadowy occult force. Alan Wake's biggest triumph lies in turning metaphor into game play. Yes, you fight the possessed townspeople of Bright Falls with the typical pistols and shotguns, but only after shining light on them to burn the darkness off. Its mix of meta-awareness and Hitchcockian suspense make Alan Wake a unique and fun experiment and one of the best games of the year.
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