This DLC has arguably the weakest ties to horror, but what’s there is inspired by one of my all-time favorite horror games, System Shock 2, and it’s thoroughly disturbing. I won’t spoil anything for you, instead, all I’ll say is you’re sent on a mission to investigate a research station that mysteriously goes silent (historically, not a good sign) and upon your arrival you witness some horrible, horrible things.
Awful acts are sometimes committed in the name of science.
Valve has done a decent job of supporting their insanely successful Left 4 Dead games over the years through updates and DLC. Some of it has been great, like The Sacrifice and The Passing, while others, like Cold Stream and Crash Course, haven’t been quite as memorable.
The Sacrifice is hands down my favorite of the bunch, because it did something I never thought I’d see: it killed off one of the four survivors. It also happened to be my favorite survivor, Bill, who I always played. That made the whole thing bittersweet for me. That finale is about as epic and unforgettable as anything other in this series, but I’m more fond of the ending because it introduces the first tough decision I’ve ever had to make in these games. If you’re alone, Bill sacrifices himself, but if you’re with other players, you get to choose who goes.
Alan Wake saw two stellar expansions — The Writer and The Signal — but it’s my humble opinion,as is everything else in this article, that the former is just a wee bit stronger. It successfully concludes Wake’s first adventure, tying up the story in a really satisfying way. That’s a rare thing for video games with stories as intricate as Alan Wake and I think Remedy did a fine job with it.
I’m also a fan of what you actually do in this episode. The Writer doesn’t throw you into one enemy filled arena after the next. Instead, it relies on its narrative, a few cinematics and a hefty dose of spectacle and creative set pieces to give us an ending that’s worthy of a game as beloved as Alan Wake. Now, all we have to do is patiently wait for that sequel…
We can be patient, right?