Poor old Alan Wake. Like many of us, he just wants a break from the day job. A chance to unwind in calmer surroundings and be rude to peasants at the local café. A release from the stress and intensity of not having done any work for several years.
But those dreams are soon trampled and forgotten when - following a routine trip into the garden to look for collectable thermos flasks - he returns to his holiday cabin to find his wife gone, with nothing but echoing screams to suggest her whereabouts.
Before long things go from bad to worse, and Alan is forced to hunt for wifey in the never-ending dark, while piecing together events in his suddenly spotty memory using scraps of discarded manuscript. And collecting thermos flasks.
Alan Wake is undoubtedly this week's big release, and as Ellie covered in our Alan Wake review, it's a solid, enjoyable action-adventure despite its limitations. As well as the standard version, tomorrow you can spend £130 on a limited edition that has a book in it and some other rubbish.
Lost Planet 2 could well have been this week's big game, fresh from its worldwide launch on 11th May, but has flunked somewhat, with Kristan particularly incensed by its decision to absorb lots of western FPS multiplayer ideas in such a shoddy (albeit beautiful) manner.
Yours truly had a similar reaction to 3D Dot Game Heroes - a formulaic Zelda rip-off wearing a funky 3D pixel-art mask. Taking on Zelda is bold, although not impossible, but 3D Dot is a superficial approximation.
Elsewhere in the shops this week, Skate 3 builds on the successes of Skates 1 and 2. Like the withering Tony Hawk series, it's screamingly corporate these days - congratulating you not for successfully completing a trick, but for how many boards you sold in the process - but as John Teti explained in our review, the game underneath blooms despite the ordeal.
Next week should be interesting too, with Prince of Persia, Red Dead Redemption and Split/Second: Velocity all vying for your attention. Look out for reviews of those three on Monday and Tuesday.
This week in shops:
- 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
- Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
- Lost Planet 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
- Skate 3 (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Tropico 3: Absolute Power (PC)
This week online:
- AiRace (DSiWare)
- Bit.Trip Runner (WiiWare)
- Brain Drain (DSiWare)
- Catan (PSN)
- Chronos Twins (DSiWare)
- Fire Panic (DSiWare)
- Ghoul Patrol (Wii Virtual Console - SNES)
- Rocket Knight (PSN, Xbox Live Arcade)
- Sudoku Challenge! (DSiWare)
- Things On Wheels (Xbox Live Arcade)