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A Game Review of Alan Wake 2



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Thirteen years is a long time to wait for something, and anticipation is not always a good thing. Crackdown 3, Mass Effect: Andromeda and Perfect Dark Zero were all victims of a long, delayed release date, in which the fans either had too-high expectations or had simply forgotten about the franchise by the time it came out.

The warning signs were there for Alan Wake 2. With fans having to wait 13 years after the release of the much-loved first game in the series – and with numerous delays pushing the release date back even further – everyone was hit-and-miss on whether it would be a success.

Would Alan Wake take the world by storm once again? Or would he spring from behind the curtain only to find the auditorium had emptied several years back?

Alan Wake 2 was Worth the Wait

Thankfully, quality will always win out in the end. And Alan Wake 2 is certainly that. Set across three Pacific Northwest locations – Bright Falls, the fishing city of Watery, and Cauldron Lake – players are immediately thrown back into the action, traversing different environments and fighting brutal enemies to stay alive in a survival-horror masterclass.

The initial concern was that Alan Wake 2 would not have grown up since the first Alan Wake. Developed by Remedy Entertainment, there have been plenty of cases in which studios have taken a mammoth amount of time to create a game, only to find they had created a game for ten years ago – ahem, Bethesda, we’re looking at you.

But vice versa, there are plenty of thematically similar games – games with similar gameplay, objectives, and aesthetics – that can still find themselves distinguished from each other by distinct features – such as Alan Wake 2’s heavier focus on combat, looting, and unlockable weapons. Alan Wake 2 immediately finds that sweet spot. As that infamous James Franco meme will tell you: it’s the same, but different.

The Space to Think

In many ways, Alan Wake 2 should be a jumbled mess. It has more plot strands than its predecessor and plenty of important information that the gamer has to analyse and remember. But it’s the slow, brooding nature of the game that makes this sort of acceptable.

We counted it, and players have to wait a whole two hours before they even engage in any combat. These two hours are filled with tension, storytelling, and character development, but they’re also designed to give the player time to absorb what is happening – before they start fighting for their lives against Fade Outs and Splitters!

Unlike certain other developers – ahem, Bethesda again – Remedy Entertainment do not take their players for granted. In Alan Wake 2, every moment counts and no second is wasted, so that by the time the action starts, the player is aware of what is at stake and has all the keys to be successful.

This is aided massively by the metaphysical ‘mind place’, which tracks every piece of evidence, every profile and every manuscript page in one easily accessible space. If the player is ever confused, all they have to do is tap a button, stop the action, and get their head together.

Alan Wake 2: A Mix of Everything

That’s not to say it’s all brain work, either. Alan Wake 2 gives you an incentive to pay attention by rewarding you with extraordinary gameplay, brilliant beasts, and a treasure box of unlockables.

This turns the game into so much more than a survival-horror game – although that would have been enough! Instead, it is a seamless mix of horror, survival, suspense, detection, and action, sometimes all in one go. It’s hard to say whether Alan Wake 3 will hit the same heights – or even if we’ll get an Alan Wake 3 before 2036 – but for now, players have plenty to chew over with Alan Wake 2. And plenty to chew them, too.

That was it. Hope you enjoyed it. Keep gaming 😉

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