The Real Beginning of Remedy’s New World…
Every time we hear about the return of an old title, many questions arise, the most important of which is whether the return lives up to the expectations and enhances your love for the series, or is the complete opposite. The truth is, with Alan Wake 2, the return was even better than I had imagined.
After 13 years of absence, unexpectedly, the Remedy team presented us with the second installment of the Alan Wake game, their first new project on current-generation platforms since the release of Control in 2019.
Remedy has made a strong mark in this generation, proving that it can compete with other companies by offering positive innovations and features in its games that make you feel like you’re playing this type of game for the first time. Without further ado, welcome to the Alan Wake 2 review.
The Beginning of the Journey
The story begins with a scene of FBI agent Saga Anderson and her colleague Agent Casey embarking on a journey to the town of Bright Falls. Their goal in this journey is to investigate a strange murder that occurred there, preceded by other brutal and mysterious murders by an unknown group. But what is the connection between this crime and the character Alan Wake? And what secrets does the town hide? This is what you will discover on your journey with Agent Saga Anderson.
The story contains lively action scenes that immerse you in a different world within the game, much like what we saw in Control, but with more extended events that were better left short.
Gameplay in Alan Wake 2 has been significantly improved compared to the first, which is natural considering that the first game was released 13 years ago. In the second part, the team added two playable characters, Saga Anderson and Alan Wake. The difference between the characters in terms of movement and weapons was not significant, but the introduction of different atmospheres and special abilities for each character made the difference.
For example, Saga is a detective who uses the Mind Place ability, a special place where she isolates herself and thinks while connecting the case’s threads to reach a solution. To be honest, this aspect of the character was not fully utilized in a way that makes you feel like you’re genuinely analyzing the case; it consists of simple questions and clear answers.
Saga also uses Mind Place to upgrade weapons by collecting Manuscript Fragments found in the game world, which you need to search for. In Mind Place, there is also a part called Profiling that places you in the shoes of characters and helps you obtain some answers.
On the other hand, Alan Wake has the ability to rewrite texts to solve some puzzles. Rewriting places requires you to select a specific scenario from several scenarios through the Storyboard in a location unique to Alan called the Writer’s Room, unlike Saga’s Mind Place concept.
Among Alan’s other abilities is the use of light to navigate between locations, solve puzzles, and explore side areas in the game world. These abilities make excellent use of the features of the new generation of gaming. What I truly liked about the game’s gameplay is that it relies on the player’s effort, along with unexpected assistance and hints. It won’t hold your hand through every step, guiding you to your goal, and you have to find your way on your own.
Immersive Clues and Clear Objectives
In the game, clues are provided through the use of the map and signs in the world, and tasks are clear, showing you where you need to go. However, what helps immerse you during gameplay is that the game offers a genuinely dark and scary atmosphere, not just aesthetics but a genuinely dark and foreboding ambiance, especially in Alan Wake’s personal experience. Using the flashlight as the sole means of seeing in the dark is not a gimmick or fake horror; the game is genuinely terrifying and creates a sense of absence from players for a long time.
The horror formula in the game is classic, composed of several elements, including the flashlight, darkness, sound effects like rain on the trees, the sound of movement through the grass, and the pre-combat suspenseful music, all combined with the personal character’s breathing that makes you feel like you are the one in the situation.
Enjoyable Combat Mechanics
You will find yourself scared throughout the game due to the surrounding atmosphere and the sudden appearance of enemies without warning. By the way, the diversity of enemies in the game is much better than in the first part, and we’ll let you discover that for yourself. The combat with enemies was very enjoyable for several reasons, including their fast movements and powerful strikes. The more enemies there are, the more challenging the encounter becomes. This aspect applies to Saga, while for Alan, it’s different and less intense. Encounters in Alan’s world were not as high-quality as those in Saga’s world, as they were repetitive and focused on the fear of the shadow. However, I understood that the team wanted to diversify between the characters, even in the encounters and their intensity.
Direction and Artistic Approach
The artistic direction in Alan Wake 2 was fantastic in every sense of the word. The idea of having two worlds in the game gives you a different feeling for each world. For example, the town of Bright Falls stands out as a quiet town with very few inhabitants, and this is evident from the moment you meet the town’s residents. The town is essentially a love letter to the Twin Peaks series, with clear similarities between Twin Peaks and the town of Bright Falls, which was not a coincidence.
The other world is Alan’s world, which is closer to psychological horror themes. In every corner of this world, you will see the work of the author, Wake, such as messages dedicated to Alan himself, like “You’ve lost her,” and many more sentences.
In short, the idea of these two worlds makes it feel as though you are playing two different games with different characters, each with their unique way of dealing with the surrounding circumstances and their unique atmospheres that suit each of them.
Technical Performance and Graphics
The game’s graphics were truly among the best we’ve seen this year. The focus was primarily on the atmosphere, level design, and character models, with the exception of some minor details, such as the hair, which could have been more realistic. Many technical features were implemented excellently, with no significant issues.
Regarding technical performance, I played the game on the Quality mode at a smooth 30 frames per second on a PS5, and I didn’t notice any technical problems or frame rate drops, except for some distant visuals, which is expected and happens in most games, even in this generation.
Just listen to the above music clip, and you’ll know that the game offers the best experience among many similar titles. The music was specially designed to fit all aspects of the game, and I must admit that I have become a fan of the Remedy team that created this masterpiece with a small team and limited resources.
Alan Wake 2 is the true beginning of Remedy’s new world and direction as a developer. This means that the game Control, released in 2019, and its expansions, are strongly tied to Alan Wake II. To understand the latter, you must be familiar with the events of Control at least.
-A compelling story that continues what was mysterious in the first part released 13 years ago.
-Excellent player guidance for tasks and puzzle solutions that do not spoil the experience.
-A distinctive gameplay style, well-distributed and diversified between two main characters.
-Diversity in events, ranging from dark and terrifying to psychological horror.
-The presence of a jump scare element is a feature missed by the gaming community.
-Stunning graphics with strong details.
-Beautiful artistic direction and consistent technical performance.
-Sound and music that match the horror atmosphere and every element of the game.
-Unnecessarily prolonged introduction to the game’s story, which may become tiresome initially.
-Frequent overuse of character abilities to progress in the game can be quite annoying.
-The investigations in the game were traditional and lacked innovation to some extent.
Alan Wake 2 may be one of the best games this year, succeeding in providing a unique experience compared to many other titles in the same category. It’s an extremely satisfying sequel for anyone who has been waiting for it. I won’t have difficulty saying that it’s the best project from the Remedy team I’ve ever experienced, whether in terms of meticulous direction, intense action sequences, moments of horror, or suspense.