Way back in May 2010, Remedy Entertainment introduced a new franchise. It was a self titled game regarding their new character Alan Wake. It launched on Xbox 360 before arriving on PC a couple of years later. 2021 saw this title remastered and by 2022 every platform could enjoy the story Remedy told us all those years ago. Now fast forward to the present day and we see our iconic writer return in the long-awaited sequel. Fans at long last got the Alan Wake 2 release they were dearly looking for.
Though the sequel may seem a little different at first. So let’s break down the things we were told prior to launch. We know we have two characters this time. As well as our writer we have the introduction of a new playable character called Saga Anderson.
What Remedy says about the game on the official website is that Alan Wake went missing after the events of the original game. Whilst on holiday with his wife at Bright Falls, a dark supernatural force brought his works of fiction to life. He managed to send this force back under a nearby lake where it came from. However, this came at a cost. He “wrote an ending to his horror story and with that freed his wife from the darkness under the lake but became trapped there himself”. Consequently, he’s fighting to keep his sanity and write a story to allow him to come home.
What It’s Like To Play Alan Wake 2
It only took a few hours of playing the game to get a general feel of the game. Another thing to highlight before looking deeper into the game as a whole is the genre shift. The original game was an action-adventure game at heart. Though with the sequel the game shifts to survival horror. The question is, does this work?
There has been a slight change to the gameplay due to the genre shift. For one the game is mostly similar to the original in regards to flash light for example. Combat is now very similar to the likes of the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 4. Both characters are similar to the play though Saga has a mind palace which differs slightly from Alan’s writer’s board equivalent. He can use that to slightly change the environment where Saga pieces clues together and can profile people of interest. Both methods also contribute to the story. They also add to the gameplay experience. The inventory system is well designed and with the games show boxes in save rooms we can store items. It’s another aspect inspired by Resident Evil 2. An example of the game in action can be seen below.
If we look at Remedy previously they have pushed the hardware in regards to graphical fidelity. The original Alan Wake looks good today if we look at the recent remaster. The game we saw follow was Quantum Break and that game at the time I thought looked absolutely incredible. Control was another impressive title and the upgrade with Ray Tracing was even more so. We focus on the return of Alan Wake we see the Northlight engine is pushing hardware further still.
Quantum Break added a TV show to complement the game. Here the live-action footage is incorporated into the actual game itself to a stunning effect. When deployed it really adds to the atmosphere and added to the quality tremendously. The lighting and ray-traced effects are high quality as are the environments and character models
The soundtrack is the first thing we notice with a well-polished soundtrack by a band designed for the franchise and also Control. Old Gods Of Asgard. They are in reality a real-life band called Poets of the Fall. Voice capture and the use of musical pieces to dictate game events are again high quality. One aspect of the audio which is at the time of writing an occasional bug on Xbox Series XS is it can vanish. Usually, a restart of the game solves the problem.
Previous games by Remedy have all provided an excellent story. So it’ll be no surprise that Alan Wake 2 is no different at all. We have the story from the view of Alan Wake and from the world of the new playable character. That as we’ve told you is FBI agent Saga Anderson. However the way these link and connect together really enriches the narrative. It’s been designed so fans of the original will feel familiar with events and newcomers aren’t required to play the original. Though it’s one game I do recommend playing.
Overall it’s a game I was really impressed with. It’s shown an example of how a survival horror should be done. It’s for me easily one of the highlights of the year. It came easily in our list of best horrors for 2023.