Review: Alan Wake 2

Some official key art from Alan Wake 2.
Some official key art from Alan Wake 2.

First game of the year and first game review of the year! Starting off with a release from late last year: Alan Wake 2 developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Epic Games Publishing.

I started this game on January 1st, 2024 and finished it on January 13th, 2024 with a total in-game playtime of 23 hours and 14 minutes. Game was purchased from the Epic Games Store and played on PC.

Let’s get into it!

Before I get into the review I should mention that I’ve not played the first Alan Wake game. I have however played Quantum Break and Control. I don’t remember much about Quantum Break but I do remember it being weird. Control, I remember more about and I remember loving the game with some reservations (mainly the combat). Control was also weird as fuck but back when I played it I didn’t really appreciate the specific Remedy brand of weirdness in it.

Where to even begin? Right so, the aesthetics of this game are fucking perfect. Everything from the FMV scenes, the use of lighting, the art direction, the cinematography. It’s all so damn well put together. I just loved the Pacific Northwest vibes in the game. This game is Remedy at the heights of its particular brand of game development. Control’s aesthetic was good but this is perfect. I can’t find a fault with it on that front.

References? Oh boy has the game got references to previous Remedy games! I squealed in delight when the first reference to Control appeared. Same for the Quantum Break references. I am sure I missed some references to the first Alan Wake game. The interconnectedness of the Remedyverse is something I am really appreciating with this game.

Narrative? Oh man, this game is a total mindfuck. Just when I thought I was beginning to understand what was going on the game threw me into another loop that shifted my understanding of the game. The narrative of this game are like the shifting sands of a desert, changing around you but ever mesmerizing. Its hard to talk about the narrative without spoiling it but I’ll just say that the ending has left me asking a bunch of questions.

Music? The game has a fantastic soundtrack, the Old Gods of Asgard make a comeback and there are some absolute banger songs in the game that match the game’s narrative moments perfectly. I need a copy of the OST of this game with all the songs in it. I might even buy a physical copy of it. Make it happen Remedy!

Anger’s Remorse is my most favourite song from this game! I am listening to it on repeat as I write this review.

Okay time for some criticisms. Like with Control, the big weakness of this game is the combat. The enemy variety is quite low and the combat mechanically is itself quite simple and uninteresting. This is especially true for the Alan sections where I found myself really getting a bit annoyed at having to do bits of boring combat in between the interesting narrative bits.

Going into the game I had heard that the combat was going to be like that so I chose to play the game on the “Story” difficulty. This made combat a lot less tedious and let me enjoy the parts of the game I came to enjoy (the narrative mindfuckery). I do wish that Remedy would either make the combat more interesting or get rid of it entirely. Make a so-called walking simulator Remedy, I know you can do it!

Overall, I enjoyed the game! The narrative was interesting all the way through and kept me wanting to play more of the game even when I knew I had to go to bed. The game is a love letter to various artistic mediums – film-making, theater, photography, writing. This game is art that loves art and I am very much into that. Well done and kudos to everyone who worked on this game.

Fantastic video game to start off 2024, here’s hoping all the other ones are just as good or better!