Ever since Alan Wake 2 was revealed during Sony’s PlayStation showcase event last month, I’ve been eagerly awaiting to see where the troubled writer’s next story will take us. With a confirmed October 17th release date for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC, the question now is if the 13-year wait for this highly requested sequel will be worth it.
After seeing more of this upcoming title during Summer Game Fest last weekend, I feel very confident in answering that question with a resounding YES! Alan Wake 2 isn’t just the sequel we’ve been asking for but it’s also the perfect culmination of every project that Remedy has worked on up to this point. Here are more of my thoughts on the experience and why you should be excited if you’re a fan of this franchise.
Alan Wake 2 could be best described as a psychological horror thriller and Remedy’s first foray into the world of survival horror. The story revolves around highly decorated FBI agent Saga Anderson and best-selling author Alan Wake, two playable protagonists that will have to work together to escape the supernatural evils haunting their world.
Saga Anderson (played by Melanie Liburd) has a reputation for solving impossible cases and decides to investigate a string of ritualistic murders in Bright Falls after one of her colleagues goes missing. Alan Wake (played by llkka Villi) has been trapped in a nightmare reality called The Dark Place for 13 years and is hoping to write a story that will finally set him free.
The demo takes place during Saga’s second mission after she experiences a supernatural event. Saga and her companion Alex Casey (played by Sam Lake) return to Cauldron Lake in search of clues about the murder of their fellow colleague Robert Nightingale. Prior to this, the pair does an autopsy on Nightingale and discovers items on him referring to something called The Overlap. Then suddenly, Nightingale comes back to life and escapes. His disappearance becomes the catalyst for their trip.
At this point in the demo, we were introduced to Saga’s mental construct ability within her head called The Mind Place. In this state, she is able to observe her case board and start to piece every clue together. This is without a doubt Saga’s greatest strength and the decision to depict this ability is both phenomenal and believable as I’m sure many real-life detectives have to think similarly when solving their own cases.
As she continues to explore her surroundings, Saga then comes across a manuscript that leads her to a mysterious Witches Hut engulfed in darkness. After restoring light to the Hut, it becomes a Break Room where progress can be saved and players will be able to switch between characters and reality. Eventually, Saga finds another important item that reveals details about the ritualistic killings and unlocks The Overlap which allows her to enter.
The Demo then concludes with Saga taking down corrupted cult members referred to as the Taken. Nightingale also emerges as a corrupted being and is dispatched as well. These enemy types are essentially the same as the Taken members that players had to defeat in the previous game so there is some familiarity. Finally, the last sequence features Saga finding a very shell-shocked Wake nearby and questioning where he has been for the last 13 years.
While this demo was short, it left me very impressed and eager to see what happens next. The survival horror elements were most prominent while exploring hostile areas where there were quick flashes of disturbing imagery on the screen to generate jump-scare reactions. Given the subject matter of the game, it felt very much appropriate and I’m curious to see what other things will be implemented into the game to match this terrifying vibe.
Another thing worth mentioning is that this entire demo was running on a PlayStation 5 console and looked absolutely spectacular. The smooth gun combat reminded me of Control and Quantum Break but with the incorporation of light which was used in the previous entry. The whole experience felt like this Remedy at their absolute best and fans have a lot of greatness to look forward to later this year.
Alan Wake 2 launches worldwide on October 17th, 2023 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via the Epic Games store. Are any of you planning on picking up the game? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.