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Alan Wake 2 review
by zNeverSleep

Honestly, if you're going to sacrifice most of the gameplay to the detriment of the story, make sure the plot is solid somehow.

Alan Wake 2 has an amazing beginning. The graphics and art direction are on point, and that's undeniable. It is slow, but that's okay. With time, you become more and more engaged in the investigation. I really liked how they approached the concept of the mind palace and how it works smoothly. Alan's narrative works quite well too. The OST is also good. Unfortunately, the positives end here.

Look, Act 1 and 2 - with Saga - are not perfect but work really well. There is a lot of boring walking, but the investigation keeps growing. You collect data, think about it with Saga, and curiosity comes naturally. Unfortunately, when you are forced to play as Alan Wake, the flaws of this game become evident.

If you're going to sacrifice gameplay, Remedy, make sure your plot is solid. Alan Wake's session is so boring. Things start to get hella confusing, and you're forced to explore the "leads" anyway. Ninety percent of the time, you're walking, encountering some talking ghosts, and collecting... lights (?) to change the scenario - and repeat that until exhaustion. Oh my God. Feels overcomplicated on purpose, just to be pretentious, like Tenet. And you know the worst part? This game only has the investigation to offer.

After playing for 6 hours, I didn't care about any of the characters. None of them. I wouldn't care if they died. The dialogue is not Remedy's strong suit, and the characters feel lifeless. Want an example? Saga, a typical methodical and rational detective, sees a guy come back from the dead without a heart. What does she do? Goes into the forest at night minutes later. She and her partner didn't question their beliefs even once. What about assessing the risk? This woman has children at home but clearly doesn't care.

I honestly ask you: if the characters don't take the story seriously, why should I? That proves my point. If you, at some point, lose interest in the main investigation, beyond the graphics, there's no reason to play this game at all.

Other reviews9

i almost can't believe i finished this game! also can't believe how much my views on it have changed since i started playing. first of all, production value is insanely high, i am so so happy it got the recognition it deserves for direction and art direction in general. it is truly a piece of art. the live-action parts work incredibly well and it's just such a joy to experience it all.

but why so long, really ??? i can't tell if i just took too long to finish it or i just didn't vibe with the story. just like the first one, it has it's self-aware moments? like in the end where people in Deer Fest make comments about the meaning behind Alan's "story" or the subtle race-related commentary Saga makes in the end. but still, i can't help but feel like the writing was lacking something. at one point i felt like there was TOO MUCH EXPLAINING. let the story speak for itself, the characters don't need to always explicitly recap what's going on. since it's such a story-focused game it's hard to see past these things.

 i had a lot of other small issues: level design kinda sucked sometimes, i got lost and frustrated ? combat was a bit boring and i could not find Alan's shotgun, so i played pistol-ONLY for the whole game!, mind-place was sososo bad like really i am wondering if they only kept it in so they could tie it to the ending ??? i also set the game on easy mode in the end and i'm so glad i did that.

anyways, despite all the flaws i'm glad this game exists and i got to experience it
«Waste of time»
Good storytelling mixed with live action and survival horror. Perhaps my favorite game of the year?
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
Fantastic in every way. Unique game design and, like the first one, an atmosphere to die for.
Alan Wake 2 delivers a story and a style that only Remedy can perfect. The overall tone of the game is dark and creepy and will keep players wanting to see where the game goes next. The gameplay is mostly good but I will say I think the combat, when used to much, really detracts from the game's charm. There are sections with way too many enemies. This is a horror game, not Call of Duty. You usually have the option to run but there are a few times with a lot of enemies where you have to stand your ground and they can be pretty frustrating. Also exploring the various areas for collectibles and running into enemies over and over in the same area really pissed me off. If it was a separate sub area, sure but the same one I'm in right now? After I just killed 4 enemies? Come on. Repopulating areas without story triggers in horror games is a sin in it's own right. The other issue I had was with button prompt. I'm not sure why they placed items like they did but in some containers some items were up against the wall of it in a way you couldn't pick it up leading to me having to find the perfect camera angle to pick things up. A small complaint but still valid. Aside from that I think the game plays great. There is a lot of great visuals, great sound and music design, one part stood out among others. It also performs well under pressure, system wise, when it comes to swapping out the layouts of areas and entering the mind place. I think the FMV stuff in the game is incredible as always and usage of it within the story as opposed to just hidden videos was very well done. The shared universe they built on is also used to great effect and I can't wait to see where they go with it next. I have to say though, I think the ending is kind of a copout and I really hope they have something good planned. 
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«OST on repeat»
«Blew my mind»
Alan Wake 2 is a relatively uneven game, and I cannot necessarily understand the enthusiasm for it. On the one hand, it is true that the narrative, story, and world of the game are engaging and immersive, but on the other hand, the actual gameplay elements leave much to be desired. A large number of bugs, a repulsive combat system, or navigation problems do not necessarily compensate for the game's interesting story, which does not change the fact that we finished the game and even got the platinum trophy. But will I ever want to go back to it? Probably not, it is a pleasant production that could even be better suited for a film, because as a game itself, it is at best good, but certainly not excellent.
TLDR: Alan Wake 2 is a masterpiece of Video Game and Literary art. I encountered no major bugs during my play through and can say without reservation that if your computer can run this game and you are OK with mature topics, this game is a must buy.

Remedy's use of the latest technology available to us from DLSS to path-traced raytracing and many others make the graphics more realistic than almost any other game that I have played. The story for Alan Wake 2 is exceptional, full of twists, and turns it never failed to surprise and amaze me. The story of many points made me just take a moment at the end of chapter screen, listening to the music and trying to wrap my head around what just happened. I can say with full confidence that Alan Wake 2, is one of if not the best game that I have played from this year's release cycle. It will be a strong contender for game of the year. Furthermore, the musical composition and interweaving of music as a narrative device is phenomenal and unlike anything I have ever seen. It is one of, if not the single best full length game for lovecraftian fiction that I have played.

I am writing this review only minutes after completing Alan Wake 2. Once I've had some time to digest this masterpiece of a game and it's exceptional ending I will include more information.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»