PC Games Alan Wake II Review

Published on April 16th, 2024 | by S. Masoud Kazemi

Alan Wake II Review (PC) @remedygames @alanwake

Alan Wake II Review (PC) @remedygames @alanwake S. Masoud Kazemi

Summary: Alan Wake II is the reincarnation of art in video games.


Magnum Opus

There is a quote from Glenn Gould that says: “The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” That’s what Alan Wake II is for me; a monumental piece of art with a narrative I’ve never seen anything like it.

The story of Alan Wake II takes place 13 years after the events of the first game. This time players will start the game as Saga Anderson, an FBI agent who must track down a series of ritualistic murders alongside Alex Casey. But, this is only half of the story as we have Alan Wake trapped in the Dark Place trying to escape.

Without a doubt, the story of Alan Wake II is about a monster but what turns into a mythical creature like Hydra that makes the process of tracking down every lead harder, is the meta-narrative of it. Everything in this game is somehow connected to previous Remedy games, a story told inside the story of Alan Wake II, or parallel with it the songs and shows inside the game.

Alan Wake 2 Review

That’s the other part of Alan Wake II’s narrative that I deeply admire. The attention to detail in the environmental narrative and the main plot of the game is on another level. There is a 20-minute short film that players can totally miss. But, it is there, for fanatics like me who want to get every piece of detail and information out in the world as possible.

Alan Wake II is one of the rare AAA games where everything in it is in service of storytelling. The gameplay, environment, graphics, music, and anything that you can find in this game is somehow connected to the story and lore of Remedy Universe.

Speaking of music, Poets of the Fall alongside other amazing artists such as RAKEL has created a musical narrative for Alan Wake II that is extraordinary. Especially, Herald of Darkness. I still have a hard time believing the band managed to create a song that wouldn’t get repetitive, tell a story, and be in sync with the events of the game.

Alan Wake II

As mentioned above, the gameplay of Alan Wake II is in service of telling a more complex and engaging story. But, that doesn’t mean we are dealing with shallow gameplay mechanics. It’s quite the opposite. A big portion of Saga’s gameplay revolves around solving puzzles and piecing together evidence to solve the case, as for Alan we have to create a narrative that would allow us to progress through the game.

The design of Alan Wake II puzzles is some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. The game gives a kind of straightforward hint on how to solve it, but once you try to solve it you realize it’s not that simple. These are the kinds of puzzles that you will be amazed by yourself and the development team once you solve them.

Saga has a Mind Place where she keeps track of every piece of evidence she finds and also uses her ability to find out some truths about other people without talking to them. The same goes for Alan. He has the Writing Room where he puts different plot beats and stories together to shape the path that will lead him to escape from the Dark Place. There is a surreal element to this part of gameplay that if you pay close attention to the story, it all will make sense.

Alan Wake II Review

There are not a lot of combat scenarios in Alan Wake II, but once you get into them, you are in big trouble. Every fight in the game is challenging and lethal if you don’t stay focused. For that reason, the suspense before entering a dangerous place or potential boss fight will make you almost paralyzed. Honestly, I’ve lost track of how many times I paused the game to take a break because I was scared.

For the same reason, exploration in the game is a gamble. You might find resources, Alex Casey launch boxes to upgrade your weapon, or some manuscript pages to understand the story better, but you might face some enemies that will haunt you and probably kill you if you aren’t careful enough.

To praise the photo-realistic visuals of Alan Wake II, all I can say is that I had to look really closely to realize whether some of the cutscenes I was watching were CGI or live-action. The Northlight engine that Remedy used for making this game has not only made it possible to capture the essence of all performances made by actors but also to create some of the most realistic interiors and environments you can see in any game.

Alan Wake II

Not only that has made the game visually stunning, but once again, possible to narrate extra plot beats via environments. The graffiti, movie posters, warnings, and even a single piece of paper contain some sort of narrative and the visuals of the game have made it possible to see and understand them.

Final Words

Alan Wake II is the kind of cinematic, musical, meta-narrative experience that you cannot find anywhere else. Everything in this game is a narrative tool for this monstrous story. We have waited more than a decade to get this game, and the wait was worth it.

About the Author

An admirer of art that doesn't stop talking about films and games.

Back to Top ↑