The story follows best-selling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife's disappearance during a vacation in the small fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington, all while experiencing events from the plot in his latest novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life. In its pacing and structure, Alan Wake is similar to a thriller television series, with episodes that contain plot twists and cliffhangers. Additionally, a six-episode live-action web series called Bright Falls acts as a prequel to the game, and a number of related books also expand upon the Alan Wake story. After an intense two-month period, the team reworked the game to be a more traditional linear game broken into an episodic approach but which better supported the planned narrative structure and capable of reusing much of the open world assets already built. The game received positive reviews from critics, and is often praised for its visuals, sound, narrative, pacing, and atmosphere. Remedy has said that Alan Wake and Control form part of their Remedy connected universe that will serve as a basis for future games. Alan Wake is described by Remedy as "the mind of a psychological thriller" and "the body of a cinematic action game" put together. The main gameplay happens in various areas of Bright Falls – such as the forest, a national park, or a farm – during the night time; these are punctuated by calmer, non-combative sequences set during the day. The player controls the eponymous protagonist Alan Wake. When a Taken is finally destroyed, it disappears. The player is often encouraged to take advantage of environmental light sources and placing, and to use other light-based weapons and accessories, such as flare guns, hand-held flares and flashbangs. When in a car, the player can run down Taken on the road, or boost the vehicle's headlights to destroy them. A major element of gameplay is the optional discovery and collection of manuscript pages from Alan Wake's latest novel—Departure. He and his wife Alice travel to the small mountain town of Bright Falls, Washington for a short vacation on the advice of Alice and Alan's friend and agent Barry Wheeler. Before their arrival, Alan has a nightmare about shadowy figures who try to kill him, before an ethereal figure interrupts the dream and teaches him how to utilize the light to fend off the shadows. Upon arrival in Bright Falls, Alan goes to retrieve the keys and map to their rented cabin from Carl Stucky, the cabin's landlord, but encounters a mysterious old woman, who tells him that Stucky had fallen ill and she was entrusted to give Alan the keys. The woman directs Alan and Alice to a cabin on an island in the middle of Cauldron Lake, a volcanic crater lake.
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