15th August 2010 - After scoring itself a solid 9 from our reviewer, Alan Wake, one of the years most anticipated games has continued to keep us mystified and engaged with its compelling narrative and dark stylistic gameplay. Now we’ve been given the first slab of Downloadable content for the great horror game, but is this continuation of the Alan Wake story really worth cracking out the game again for some more dark action and some further scares? Read on to find out…
Note: This DLC review may include spoilers of the main game. Do not read on unless you have completed Alan Wake.
What do I get and why do I want it?
With the Signal, players are given a new chapter of the Alan Wake story - or Episode, if you will. Rather than a straight continuation of the main game’s story, The Signal is more or less just another challenge that our Protagonist must face. However, it is set after the games story has been concluded so make sure to beat the game before you play this.
The Signal starts off where the game did, with Alan walking into Bright Fall’s diner. If it seems a little similar at first, that’s because its supposed to- Alan is experiencing a deep sense of Déjà vu, and as you progress through the story you will unravel this mystery and dive deeper into the Darkness than ever before.
You no doubt know that the game is set into its six ‘Episodes’, right? Well The Signal is actually just another one of these episodes. And as such, its actually only as long as one of them. It will take roughly 45 minutes to an hour to complete and has its own set of collectable as the main game did - this time alarm clocks and interesting cut-outs of other Bright Falls residents.
The content may only be as long as one of the normal episodes, if even that. But The Signal, in terms of gameplay and cinematic experience, is on par with the rest. Its actually more unique than most of the real episodes and provides some very different ways of playing, as well as some far cooler and more unnerving backdrops and set pieces, but I cant let you know here without spoiling the surprise of the contents story!
The content also comes packed with 8 new achievements for your hunting pleasure, but there’s nothing different here to get excited about.
How much does it cost?
Not a cent! That’s right, this little slab of excellence wont cost you a dime, that is of course if you purchased the game from a retailer brand new and kept your redemption code! If you didn’t, then I’m sorry to say bad luck. You can still play this baby, but it will set you back 560 Microsoft Points, which is not that much considering its about one 6th of the actual game in size, and that price for the whole game would only come to about 55 bucks worth of MP! So free or not, this is worth the download.
Conclusion - Is it worth it?
Is this free (or in some peoples case very cheap) DLC pack worth it? Absolutely! And not just because of that price tag, either. The Signal is an essential piece of the puzzle of Alan Wake and is surely a must-have for any Wake fans. Some would say its more of the same, and they would be right. But this time, the same thing is as good as can be. It plays the same and has the same old structure of Alan Wake episodes, but The Signal is possibly the best one yet, with some amazing environments and story building moments. It’s the wise-cracking, hard-as-nails Alan we all love, just kicking ass in a darker dark and a deeper sleep.
AAG SCORE: 8/10
+ More of the great Alan Wake story
+ Some great set pieces and environments
+ FREE to everyone who bought the game new!
- Only one episode in the DLC
- Episode is shorter than most of the main games ones
- Leaves you wanting more!
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott