After playing for more than 10 hours, this game exceeded all my expectations. Everything about this game was just perfect. I was so invested in this gem, and it had me raising my eyebrows a couple of times, and this rarely happened for the last couple of years.
I have been a super fan of Alan Wake games, and mainly the plot twists and storyline. The combat mechanics are solid, but what got me hooked was the story.
Story and Narrative
As soon as you finish the intro, you will immediately get that hunch that the story will be good. I have been waiting for this game for a long time knowing for a fact that Remedy Entertainment will deliver, and they surely did. The first installment of the game was a masterpiece; blending psychological horror elements with action.
The sequel exceeded all expectations as it continues the story of the writer Alan Wake who’s a bestselling author who is trapped in his world, in his creation and imagination. Alan tries to get out of the Dark Place, which feeds on the stories he wrote. Along the way, Alan Wake meets some friendly faces and nasty ones.
The game is divided between Saga Anderson, a detective who tries to uncover the cult of the tree and their gruesome rituals which led to numerous crimes and to also understand her place in Alan’s story, and Alan Wake who’s trying to get out of this world using the story he wrote. They both are trying to figure out how to stop his evil twin, Mr Scratch, and his cult, or maybe, Alan’s cult?
The storyline is filled with a lot of cliffhangers, plot twists, and references to many well-known shows like Twin Peaks, and games like Silent Hill. Remedy Entertainment did a good job crafting something unique that is full of symbolism and metaphors while keeping true to its original.
The game managed to create unique gameplay mechanics blending multiple mechanics from other games into one. From the inventory menu of Resident Evil, The character movements and combat mechanics of The Evil Within, to the atmosphere and sheer amount of dread and mystery in Silent Hill.
If you’re a fan of exploring, investigating, and solving puzzles with some occasional combat, then this game is for you. I would have preferred adding more action, but it might lead to breaking the atmosphere and the intended narrative-driven experience.
However, the combat system is solid and relies heavily on utilizing light which is your primary weapon to use against the lurking shadows by focusing light on them to destroy their shields before hitting them with some bullets, or use it as a safe zone so they don’t detect you when you stand in a Safe Haven and have a brief moment of relief.
I would suggest always looking for the weak points to shoot at the shadows after breaking their shields. That way, you are dealing critical damage without wasting bullets. If you can’t find that glowing orange orb, then aim at the head.
After seeing the trailer for the first time, I asked myself “Is Alan Wake 2 open world?” – Well, no! Alan Wake 2 is not an open-world game. It is a level-based game. It is designed to keep the player invested and engaged in the story and atmosphere of the game.
Alan Wake 2 makes it clear that this is a survival horror game by limiting the amount of batteries scattered around the map. I have noticed that the game always tries to balance things out by making sure that you don’t have too many batteries in your inventory.
Another game mechanic that is very well crafted is using the Angle Lamp to create new pathways, reveal hidden secrets, and enable Alan to alter the environment. For Saga, she can use the Mop Bucket Spill that reflects the Dark Place. This can be used in Break Rooms.
Graphics and Visuals
Alan Wake 2 is, without a doubt, a visually stunning game. The blend of top-tier graphics and atmosphere resulted in a captivating environment that sets it apart from its predecessor and even other games in the same category. This was achieved thanks to the power of Northlight Engine which is used in games like Control 2 and Crossfire X.
If you’re able to max out everything on PC and play above 60 fps, you will be amazed by how beautiful this game is. It is a graphically demanding game, and the atmosphere and setting of Alan Wake 2 are very impressive.
You might ask “How scary is Alan Wake 2?”. Well, the intro did its job by projecting an eerie feeling from the beginning that reminds me of Outlast. The game drops you in the forest of Bright Falls, a quiet town that is surrounded by horrific acts of the cult of the tree. I wouldn’t call playing as a scared naked old man and getting flashed by some jumpscares here and there a pleasing experience, but it was a very interesting one.
Speaking of jumpscares, they are known to be a cheap way to scare players, but this game managed to introduce a new way of handling that by showing psychological fragments of how the writer, Alan, was feeling or some visions of the cult or other characters. So basically, you will gather information while getting startled by visually and artistically captivating psychological imagery.
Character Design and Voice Acting
The game features 2 primary characters; Alan Wake, a writer who has been trapped in his own created world, and Saga Anderson, an FBI agent who is trying to solve the murder cases in Bright Falls. Alan Wake 2 main characters added a lot to the immersion due to the realistic facial animations and movements in addition to the narrative experience.
If you remember Quantum Break, then you will remember the distinctive and memorable voice of Matthew Porretta who also participated in Control and now, he’s bringing his talent to the new Alan Wake game delivering a convincing performance and conveying a wide range of emotions with the help of capturing facial motion details that added a realistic and believable vibe to it.
The secondary protagonist, Saga Anderson, brought a lot of dynamics to the story, especially, when investigating other characters in the game. The facial and body animations remind me of L.A. Noire and how the reactions to Anderson’s questions invoked another layer of mystery and authenticity to the game.
Other characters’ performances did not disappoint either! I was eager to talk to NPCs and learn more about what’s happening since everyone and everything feels connected.
The voice cast for Alan Wake 2 is impressive, featuring actors from diverse backgrounds and genres, combining that with motion capture technology to create memorable and lifelike characters.
So, is Alan Wake 2 worth playing?
Is Alan Wake 2 worth playing? Alan Wake 2 is a must-play this year. In my opinion, this is the best single-player game released this year. I am enjoying every bit of this game and want to learn more about the Dark Place and the evil twin of Alan Wake. I highly recommend this game and give it a 10/10.
Since I haven’t finished the game yet, I will keep updating this post, but my opinion will hardly change about this game.