Alan Wake 2: The Review

Alan Wake 2 is by all intents and purposes a masterpiece in storytelling through digital interactive art. The game has some of the most repulsive tropes that can come from the horror genre but somehow captures these moments in resin. It then allows you interrogate them as you spend 20 some odd hours navigating the world of AW2.

There is rarely a moment you’re free from a cheap jump-scare in AW2; yet they become an integral part of the storytelling and the thick subversion the game offers. It’s nearly impossible to talk about the game itself without spoiling it, because in a sense, not knowing what is and isn’t real is a large majority of the questions AW2 asks.

Regular content updates post-launch have also been consistent, with The Final Draft elevating the game even further.

It’s Not a Lake, It’s an Ocean

AW2 starts with players playing someone other than the titular Alan Wake or the newly introduced Saga Anderson. Instead it has you playing as an unknown victim on the outskirts of Caludron Lake. The following gameplay during the prologue continues to surprise the player as it sets a horrifying tone for the rest of the game.

In terms of atmosphere, its thick visceral Human moments and deep stories can chill you to the bone. It, actually, isn’t full of enemies so much as the potential for enemies. It makes sense when you play. Saga’s story is very light on combat overall while Alan’s story includes enemies that could or could not be there. The shadow enemies resemble the Hiss from Control but instead they’re on the ground and sometimes attack.

Speaking of Control, the intertwined storytelling from the two games is so satisfying. The story feels as if the worlds are all interconnected, not simply easter eggs. Every character acts with such authenticity to what is going on that it generates a beautiful symphony of emotion.

A Book Written by the Popular Author, Alan Wake

The characters are all deep and personable, written with intense intent. They act of their own agency and are consistently themselves throughout the story. There’s so many layers of speculative ideation and story that you’re looped in a world where you neither know everything but feel you know way too much.

Continuing from Control, Alan Wake 2 doesn’t hold back the storytelling punches, including everything from the Federal Bureau of Control to, if turned sideways and legally non-binding, Max Payne and Quantum Break.

Nothing in the game escapes analysis, from every sound to every word available. The levels of lore go so deep as to even question Alan Wake’s own writing talent.

Tropes like Jump Scares are Plentiful, Yet Good

The weirdest thing about Alan Wake 2 is that it leans heavy on full screen FMV “screamers” where a distorted character jumps at the screen with a loud noise. Extremely early in the game, this can be offsetting and disturbing but as you move through the game it quickly becomes an integral element to the storytelling.

The combat and story pacing are fantastic. More enemies and the game would feel restrictive on giving you the next story beat. Fewer enemies and the game would be a walking simulator with a few puzzles. There’s the perfect balance of enemies layered in throughout the world. The aforementioned shadow enemies are completely beneficial to filling in the world’s emptiness and making it more menacing.

The only bad thing I can really say for the game is that to really enjoy it, you need to play both Alan Wake and Control. Even in a more confusing manner, Alan Wake: American Nightmare is a major pre-requisite either. Sure, you can enjoy the game and it does a great job of laying down the background and call it a day. Yet, the giddiness that you get at the callbacks and story integrations is just a fantastic topper on an already beautiful cake.

Which, I guess is another sad musical note for this game: if you haven’t been a fan of the series for over a decade, you don’t get the joy of an accurate sequel coming out that you waited 12+ years for!

Remedy and Sam Lake are Amazing

Little quick aside, Remedy went through the effort of putting together a fankit including a cosplay guide:

alan wake 2 cosplay guide

Regarding Sam Lake, his content with IGN has been fantastic as well:

Alan Wake 2: Final Thoughts

Alan Wake 2 is Game of the Year for Gaming Tier List. The jump scares aren’t an issue, the combat is perfect, the pacing is fantastic and the story is so good that a second playthrough feels exciting.

There’s no way not to recommend Alan Wake 2, especially on regular Epic Games sale. After you’re done come read our thoughts about the ending.

One note, we didn’t receive any keys for this game, this was purchased by us. Due to the overwhelming positivity of the review, we’ve elected to share our receipt for the key, although having or having not received a key would never have changed this review or our thoughts on the game:

The review copy was bought and paid for by Yurika Corporation, owner of Gaming Tier List.

David Piner, an accomplished video game journalist since 2001, excels in developing comprehensive guides and engaging content to enrich the gaming experience. As the esteemed former Managing Editor at TTH (as David "Xerin" Piner) for over a decade, David established a strong reputation for his perceptive analysis, captivating content, and streamlined guides. Having led skilled teams of writers and editors, David has been instrumental in producing an extensive collection of articles, reviews, and guides tailored to both casual and hardcore gamers aiming to enhance their skills. Dedicated to player-centric content, David meticulously crafts guides and articles with the players' interests in mind. He is a proud member of OUT Georgia and fervently champions equity and equality across all spheres.