Alan Wake has become a video game cult classic since its initial release in 2010. The game has now been re-released for current systems in the form of Alan Wake Remastered, more than a decade later.
Alan Wake Remastered combines the original game with its two DLC additions, as well as some much-needed performance and visual enhancements.
This isn’t a complete remake. The game plays exactly as it did before, and even the enhanced visuals can’t disguise the fact that Alan Wake was first launched on the Xbox 360.
Great games, on the other hand, stand the test of time, and Alan Wake is no exception. The opportunity to replay — or discover for the first time — one of the best games of its generation is enticing. Continue reading for our complete Alan Wake Remastered review.
Alan Wake Remastered is a third-person action game with a hint of survival horror. You’re cast as the titular hero on a quest to find out where your wife has gone missing. You’ll face a variety of townspeople along the route, all of whom have been corrupted by a sinister eldritch spirit.
You must fight the darkness that has infected the people of the secluded mountain hamlet of Bright Fall, Washington, by using a one-two combination of your gun and lights. In other words, you use your torch to weaken an enemy’s defenses so that you may fill them with lead.
This was an original combat system in 2010, and it continues to be incredibly satisfying in 2021. It never gets old halting a huge foe in their tracks with a tremendous blast of light, firing a few headshots, and watching your attacker vanish into a shower of dazzling particles.
Additional items such as flares and flashbangs are also used, giving your arsenal some much-needed variety. In order to avoid some of the game’s more brutal battles, knowing when to burn a flare or unpin a powerful flashbang is important.
Alan Wake Remastered, when it comes to hard combat sections, even on normal, puts up a fight. It’s not a particularly challenging game, but you’ll need to keep your wits about you. Enemies are ruthless and enjoy spawning behind you for added horror.
Thankfully, the game never becomes too frustrating thanks to well-placed checkpoints. There are a couple of fighting situations in the game’s last third that are a little too long. The main campaign, on the other hand, is only eight hours long, so there’s never a chance for boredom to set in.
One aspect of the game that can irritate you from time to time is how frequently it removes all of your items. Frequently, you’ll complete a sector, see a cutscene, and then proceed to the next phase without any ammo or equipment. This helps to keep the tension high because you’re never powerful, but it might be annoying to lose all of your greatest tools after holding on to them for so long.
The delightful third-person gunplay is supplemented with a number of fairly simple puzzles, as well as some driving sequences that, even in 2010, were difficult to operate. They haven’t behaved well with the passage of time. Fortunately, these moments are brief and do not detract from the otherwise excellent pacing.
The original Alan Wake’s story was its true strength, and it remains so in this remastered edition. The game seems like a loving homage to Stephen King’s works, with a healthy helping of Twin Peaks thrown in for good measure.
The basic mystery of famed writer Alan Wake’s visit to Bright Falls to escape his terrible writer’s block — only to be pulled into a scary adventure after his wife goes — is intriguing.
The game is divided into five chapters, each of which is framed like a television show. They begin with a summary of what happened before on Alan Wake and end with a thrilling cliffhanger and title card. It’s all very reminiscent of TV shows like Lost, which are perfect for binge-watching.
This format was new when the game was first released, but the growth of online streaming has made it even more powerful since then. Playing Alan Wake Remastered is similar to binge-watching a popular Netflix series. When one episode concludes, you’ll be anxious to start the next one right away.
Alan Wake got much criticism in 2010 for its disappointing final moments, however, the remaster addresses this issue by including the game’s two DLC chapters “The Signal” and “The Writer.” These short episodes extend the main story while also introducing some fun gameplay twists. Make sure you don’t forget about them.
The story remains open-ended, but the two extensions go a long way toward making Alan Wake Remastered feel like a finished product rather than a story that ends abruptly.
Visuals and Sound
Alan Wake Remastered is the best-looking and performing version of the game currently, with 4K resolution and 60 frames per second on PS5. The framerate improvement makes combat feel smoother, and the idyllic yet dangerous hamlet of Bright Falls has never looked better.
Because this is a remaster rather than a remake of an 11-year-old game, it does appear to be a little dated in parts. Alan Wake Remastered, on the other hand, is far from ugly, and its cohesive visual design has aged nicely. You won’t be tricked into thinking you’re playing a current release, though.
The animations are the presentation’s biggest flaw. Wake moves with the grace of a reversing tank, and he jumps with the same grace. Because of his inability to jump over small fences and medium-sized boulders, navigating the game’s typically dark environments can be more difficult than necessary.
The game’s sound design, on the other hand, has fared well with time. The soundtrack is really appropriate, with folk melodies and dark strings setting the tone, and the voice acting from almost the whole ensemble is excellent.
Alan Wake Remastered gives newbies and experienced alike the chance to play one of the best games of the Xbox 360 period in its most complete form. In addition, this re-release marks the game’s first appearance on PlayStation consoles, introducing Alan Wake to a whole new audience.
While developer Remedy Entertainment has since gone on to create more polished action games in the manner of Quantum Break and Control, Alan Wake remains one of the studio’s best efforts in terms of narrative, atmosphere, and memorable characters.
Alan Wake Remastered is an easy recommendation for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of using a household flashlight to take down terrifying monsters, and even those who have already played the game should consider returning. Bright Falls is surely worth a return visit.