The Finnish studio Remedy made a lot of games, but not all of them. You can recognize the game from this creator quite easily: they are strange, mysterious, but quite stylish and don’t be afraid to experiment. Sometimes you get a cheap mix of game and action series (Quantum Break), other times you get brutalism (Control). In the memory of the game, next to the legendary Max Payne, the character of the writer Alan Wake and his game psychological thriller from 2010 will be associated with Remedy.
Remedy, after a long struggle for the first Alan Wake character, was succeeded in 2018. Sam Lake, the creative editor of the studio, during the years when Microsoft was fighting for the first Alan Wake, let it be heard several times that he would continue with the second work. Now, 13 years later, the game is over and the game has acquired its dream state of a mystery thriller, which, however, has twisted over the years and developed into a pure horror fight for money.
Although I am aware that the review will be one of the last, especially in the case of the game Alan Wake 2, it is extremely difficult to write a code. The game is also stuffed with various messages, references and concepts not only with the predecessor, but also with the entire world of Remedyverse, which includes Alan Wake and the predecessor Control. Although a lot of games don’t really want to have different messages on the walls, screenshots from books or optional audio recordings, here it’s almost a must if you want it all to make sense.
The basis is, of course, knowledge of the first work. The number two is a continuation of it, and if you want to play it on its own, you will be really confused as hell. Even various recapitulations don’t help much. In the same way, Control from 2019 is also suitable to be studied, his relays appear a lot in the second Alan Wake. It’s not on the code or called Quantum Break, just so you can get a better feeling for the works from Remedy, which is not related to other events.
Although Alan Wake 2 will once again take you to the world of a lost writer, it won’t be the case this time. The game is about intertwining two djov lines. I think first for Alan in the streets of New York, twisted by non-dreams and fantastic images materialized according to the originals written on the typewriter. Second to rookie FBI agent Saga Anderson. If you have seen the movies in Quantum Break, then Remedy introduced her there, she would not resemble her current counterpart at all. But that’s just an aside.
In essence, Anderson’s Saga has a more playable pass like Alan Wake, but the game lets you (after a certain point in the story) wander freely between these characters. So you can see their pbh in any sequence and it will still make sense. I won’t play dumb, both lines have something in common and it’s impossible to say that one is weaker than the other. Personally, I chose the approach where I put the characters in one or two chapters.
While Alan Wake fights for his life in the evil walls of haunted New York and tries to escape from this twisted world, Anderson’s Saga explores the murders and cult activity in the old town of Bright Falls and its surroundings. By the way, the saga has a park, agent Alex Casey, whose image was given by the first editor of Remedy, Sam Lake. Given the changing reference to the appearance of these two agents, it’s no surprise that Sam Lake was this character in Quantum Break.
Nm, the game journalists who are used to listening to Sam Lake with his cheerful voice and noticeable Finnish accent, may have a problem hearing him dubbed by the rough James McCaffrey. You may be remembered as the voice of Max Payne. Otherwise, the main couple from the game also played their role brilliantly, the first thing that stuck out in my head was Alan Wake’s Ilkka Villi.
If you’ve been familiar with Remedy, it probably won’t come as a surprise that some cutscenes are starring in movies. It’s not as punchy as you are in Quantum Break, but there’s still plenty. In many places, the cars coped quite well with the walk from the edges to the rendered lanes, thanks to the game’s advanced graphical details. But more on that in a moment.
What will not be surprising is the gameplay itself. For fans of Control, sorry, for fans of the first part, thank you. Alan Wake 2 is a really good slow game, which in some ways could perhaps even be called a horror walking simulator. Even in moments when a pair of your heroes will be armed to the teeth, don’t sweat with the hordes of enemies, but sleep with fierce battles that will hit you in the gut. The action is not missing, but it doesn’t beat either, and it’s just me, not in the first place.
What is new is the possibility for both heroes to go into the mind’s thumb, or Mind Place, where Saga will connect the individual leads of available traps on the wall, examine the profiles of suspicious people or stick weapons. A little annoying is the fact that you can enter the Mind Place at any time, but the game does not stop outside of it. So you have to be really sure that you are not in danger at the moment.
By the way, the same Mind Place as Saga mi Alan Wake, but with a message to a different el: the written page of the book. Selected motifs can thus become a reality in the game world, and it is so interesting to change the locations of the scenes, which will help you move along the course and uncover some fun chests. Alan always chooses to start teaching on a typewriter and suddenly stand in a very different place. This is really very nicely done.
Again, light plays a big role here, from a lantern, or from various lanterns, flashlights, and static lamps. You have to paralyze the Vtina neptel first with light, so that you can cover them only afterwards. If you played the number one (and you should), then you know it by now. Unfortunately, don’t look for a lot of variability here, and for the use of first variety grants and fireflies, it’s the same all around. Both Alan and Saga can be decorated during the game with the help of brotherly items, which will make the fight easier without any noticeable changes.
Even if it’s not for frantic action, get ready especially for the horror atmosphere, which has thickened compared to the first part. The cars were on fire both in scary moments and scares, as well as in graphic forces. Personally, I’m not a big horror fan, but Alan Wake 2 didn’t upset me in any way. At times, some scary moments, often associated with rapidly flashing images and sharp musical tones, caused a lot of confusion. At the same time, there are also quite good scary passes in places, but I will not reveal them.
Although it is really worth playing the game in the dark and twilight, it is a graphically high-quality title. I didn’t like the revenge, maybe just a little bit of facial expressions here and there for the other characters, but that’s about it. When the sun shines on the game environment, you can’t get enough of the various details, reflections in glasses and puddles. The game world is highly developed and I enjoyed wandering around and exploring everywhere.
In addition to the graphics, I also praise the game’s music. Between each chapter of the game, the game includes individual tracks of the successful soundtrack. Although it is quite a subjective matter, I liked the fact that some songs are repeated in the course of the game and at the same time develop a little over time, which adds to the mysterious air of the game. At the same time, you can spend your time not only listening to game music, but also watching funny commercials from the Koskel brothers, which are so inappropriately scattered on televisions in game environments. It’s a decided change from the actual ads that appeared in the first edition.
I played the copy that the studio gave us for review on PlayStation 5, where there is a choice between Quality and Performance modes. Quality works at a resolution of 2,258 1,270 up to 4K at 30 frames per second. Performance renders the game at 1,505,847 and up to 1440p and aims to reach 60 FPS. I decided on 60 FPS, which really grinds the game, and if the frames dropped slightly here and there, it was nothing terrible. So I rate the optimization on the console as good.
While playing in the first days, before deploying the water update, I noticed a very annoying bug (see first impressions of the game), but the first patch from the first day probably worked and the rest of the game I did not encounter any errors on the first day. Note that we don’t know how it is with errors and performance in the PC version, we only had a PS5 copy available, but judging by the reviews on the PC version, in particular, the optimization turned out well on many platforms.
Alan Wake 2 is an everyday game that has the prerequisites to enjoy it on a daily basis. Not only should you really know the first part and the rest of Remedy’s creations, but you should also be attuned to the typical Finnish humor, which even the horror essence of the game has a word here and there. And it’s up to you to immerse yourself in this rather complicated world of ghosts, pollen, psychological disorders and mysterious phenomena. Only then will Alan Wake 2 stand out, and maybe it will even become your game of the year.
As a game that fulfills all these criteria and I just fell into the complicated universe of the Remedy studio at four aces, I must state that Alan Wake 2 did them well. And that, despite the fact that I’m not a big fan of horror movies, and cheap scares often spoiled my impression of the edges. Alan Wake 2 is otherwise a perfect fit into the collection that Sam Lake has been working on for many years. I know it’s not even close to being finished and it’s getting really dark for a long time.