When Alan Wake arrived on the Xbox 360 in 2010, many praised the new intellectual property from Remedy Entertainment, creator of Max Payne. For years, the game was hailed as an exponent of horror in gaming, but it suffered from the evil that it was “a game that everyone loves, but few have actually played.”
Its remaster, released for practically all current consoles, gave more people the opportunity to learn about the story of writer Alan Wake, but something was still missing.
With the launch of Alan Wake 2it is practically impossible to ignore Remedy’s character, mainly because he establishes himself in the developer’s shared universe in one that easily competes for game of the year — in a year already full of excellent titles.
Previously on Alan Wake…
Alan Wake It was an interesting game focused on the title character, an author who decides to eliminate the hero from his books and travels with his wife to a small town clearly inspired by Twin Peaks. Arriving there, Alan ends up involved in a mystery plot, which mixes the supernatural, parallel realities and special powers.
At the end of the first game, Alan ends up trapped in this dark reality, with powers capable of rewriting reality, something that dark forces desire for themselves.
Taking advantage of the period between the two games, Alan Wake 2 begins exactly 13 years after the first chapter, showing that the author has in fact been missing for all this time. However, this is not how the game starts.
The first minutes of Alan Wake 2 serve as one of the best introductions to a horror game in recent times, creating a dirty, heavy and truly intriguing atmosphere.
In just a few minutes, you can understand exactly what the tone of the game will be, its violence and how everything around it helps to build this narrative. But you don’t start by controlling Alan Wake.
Afterwards, due to the author’s disappearance, you take control of Saga Anderson, an FBI agent who arrives in the city of Bright Falls to investigate a murder possibly carried out by a sect. It doesn’t take long for the supernatural to take over the plot and Saga and Alan’s stories begin to intersect.
Horror and metalanguage
Right at the beginning, Remedy plays a lot with its own history as a studio. Author Alan Wake is quite famous for a series of crime books that revolve around hardline agent Alex Casey, who is basically Max Payne. The character created by Remedy is now owned by Rockstar Games, so this was the way created to keep his idea alive.
But the deal goes so much further that Alex Casey is played by Sam Lake, a writer at Remedy who lent his frown to Max in the first games of the series. If that wasn’t enough, James McCaffrey, Payne’s voice actor, lends his voice to Alex Casey.
This play with metalanguage suits the game and its plot, which mixes the lines of what is real and what is fictional, on top of a story of murder and the possible end of the world at the hands of dark beings.
A very interesting way in which this is also used is how the investigations and clues are approached by Saga and, eventually, Alan. Saga builds his own “mind palace” where he gathers all possible clues to try to make sense of what he is encountering.
Little by little, you will connect photos, character information and facts to be able to put together a narrative and try to solve the cases you end up facing during the game. This gets even better when we take on the role of Alan Wake, who uses a story construction framework, something quite common for writers.
By gathering facts that could happen, Alan can simply rewrite the story using elements he finds along the way. Often, to be able to advance in a certain scene, it is necessary to enter that mode, modify some elements and see how reality is shaped differently, allowing you to advance.
It’s something very interesting and it was used brilliantly in the game, as it matches its style and the way the mind of an investigator and an author could work in that situation.
Dirty and crunchy combat
As expected, Alan Wake 2 brings a considerable evolution in its combat, still acting a lot with the combination of flashlights, used to end the darkness and weaken those possessed, with firearms. The more than a decade between the two games brought significant improvements, remembering that Remedy had already launched an action game recently in the form of Control and was responsible for one of the best action games of the early 2000s, which was Max Payne.
Em Alan Wake 2, the lack of resources and the setting, generally quite dark, mean that the combat is always very intense. This is because the resources found are scarce, so every bullet or battery for your flashlight must be used very well.
More than once, during boss fights, the wrong use of ammunition became the cause of the death of the character used. And, even when you are careful and manage to have enough resources to feel safe in combat, more than one enemy at a time appears and everything becomes quite complicated.
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Beautiful game, but it’s heavy
Alan Wake 2 is certainly one of the most beautiful and graphically impressive games of 2023. In our tests, using the PlayStation 5, the game did not present many problems in performance mode, bringing beautiful graphics and a high frame rate to much of the experience.
In its fidelity mode, it is possible to notice much more refined textures, however, for the first time, I had the experience of hearing the console make more noise in more complex scenes. Considering that, throughout the Reviews of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2even in moments of action, the console remained silent, I was a little impressed by this fact.
If you are interested in playing Alan Wake 2 on PC, know that the experience can be much better, however, you will need to have a considerably strong machine to be able to enjoy the game well.
A bright future for the RCU
Remedy’s Connected Universe, the RCU in its English acronym, seems to have gained even more momentum with Alan Wake 2. After Control have in fact started this universe of games by the developer, embracing Alan Wake and game elements that are not owned by the company, such as Max Payne and even Quantum Breakeverything is much more fun to follow.
Details are left loose so that fans can connect the plots, which can now be explored in different ways. Who liked Control you will really enjoy the mentions that the game receives in Alan Wake 2mainly because I understand that the story will no longer be stuck in direct sequences.
Just like in theaters, with Marvel, Remedy now has a living universe to explore and, if Alan Wake 2 It’s a sample of what it can do, the future of the company will be very fun.
Alan Wake 2 is available for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.