Alan Wake 2 PC Review

Bravery won’t save you, and the light won’t keep you safe for very long unless you have a shotgun.

By R3GR3T, Posted 17 Oct 2023

It looks like good things do come to those who wait, and Remedy Entertainment made sure those good things will blow you away. Now, we already know Remedy has a long history of epic releases, even if they had a few ups and downs, but they never failed to deliver games with rich stories and great gameplay. With over two decades on their record, they’ve released epic titles like Quantum Break in 2016, Control in 2019, and of course, Alan Wake in 2010.

Alan Wake 2, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Horror, Third-Person, NoobFeed

Now, after more than a decade and a lot of teasing, Remedy finally released Alan Wake 2 on 27 October. Granted, it had a rocky start and is currently getting review-bombed for technical issues, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye with this beast. Though you might not be ready for how much the plot will thicken this time around as Alan Wake, once again, fights for his life and the fate of everything.

The world for both Alan Wake and Alan Wake 2 isn’t to be taken lightly; it’s like peeling an onion that doesn’t seem to end simply because the layers just keep coming. As we all know, Alan is a bestselling horror novelist, but his writings have been coming true even though he doesn’t remember writing anything; things just keep going South from here. After the events of Alan Wake, he mysteriously disappears, but at least he prevented his story from coming true. Alan Wake 2 seems to have a similar crisis brewing, though on a much bigger scale.

Bright Falls is again in danger, and Alan Wake is still missing, though once again, the plot revolves around Alan’s next horror novel becoming a reality. However, it’s no longer just one person writing the story and rewriting reality, so buckle up because things might become a little confusing in all the best ways. For starters, your adventure in Bright Falls starts in the weirdest possible way, just for a quick introduction. This is where you’ll be introduced to the Cult of The Tree as one of their many victims. After that, the real fun starts with Saga Anderson, an FBI agent who was sent to solve the initial murder, but her case expands into something bigger after she finds Alan Wake.

Alan Wake 2, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Horror, Third-Person, NoobFeed

So, it should be said that while you do start off as Saga Anderson, you’ll eventually find Alan Wake as well. Both people have their own stories to tell at the same time, and you’ll have the ability to switch between the two, though both live in different worlds with different rules. Saga Anderson’s story takes place in Bright Falls, or the actual world to be more accurate, which is slowly being overtaken by Alan’s writing. Meanwhile, Alan Wake’s story takes place in The Dark Place. His nightmare is brought closer to reality through an alternate reality, but he has some control over the environments through his own writing. Confused yet?

For the sake of clarity and maintaining some form of easy-to-understand continuity, let’s take a look at Saga Anderson’s side of things first. As an FBI agent, you’re not just gathering evidence and playing the detective, and you’ll also have to uncover some of the more bizarre secrets of bright falls. This all occurs in Saga’s Mind Place, and here you’ll have the Case Board, Weapon Upgrades, Profiling, and a few extras, all of which you’ll have to use to piece together the case at hand. Starting off with the Case Board, you’ll use this to pin new clues and evidence while connecting strings to everything, like a mind map but a lot more complicated.

The Case Board is your only way to really progress the story, and it’ll keep track of everything as you go, provided you tie the right clues to the right questions. Clues and evidence aren’t just what you pick up; you’ll also get new clues just by talking to the right people, but there is one other thing you’ll occasionally have to use for some extra insight. If you’ve ever played The Sinking City, you’ll know that you had to use Introspection to shed some extra light on the world around you; Saga does something similar but more aimed towards clairvoyance. With enough evidence or a lack thereof, you can use Profiling; Saga will essentially get a closer look at the mind of the person she needs answers from. Granted, she just knows it as instinct or a hunch, but the way it plays out has clairvoyance written all over it. Either way, you look at it, this is a brilliant change of pace and adds an interesting supernatural layer to Alan Wake 2.

Alan Wake 2, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Horror, Third-Person, NoobFeed

Moving on, Saga’s Mind Place isn’t just used to solve the case at hand; you’ll need to upgrade your weapons, or you’ll never survive the Taken. However, the weapons you find and start with are good to begin with, but a little extra boost is always nice, though you’ll need to find manuscript pieces inside the hidden Alex Casey lunchboxes scattered all over the world. These lunchboxes aren’t just out in the open; you’ll need to go off the beaten path if you want to find them, and sometimes they’re hidden behind a puzzle you’ll have to solve first.

Speaking of puzzles, Bright Falls isn’t just you running and gunning against the Taken, and there are other supernatural events that come in the form of strange riddles and puzzles. In a game like Alan Wake 2, every bit of ammo and battery is invaluable for your survival. Throughout the game as Saga Anderson, you’ll find red trail boxes, cult stashes, and strange poems in what looks to be children’s drawings. The red boxes are convenient but might not always yield any useful supplies. Cult stashes, on the other hand, will almost always have something useful as long as you can solve the puzzles that’ll allow you to open them.

The children’s poems are a bit odd as they lead you to a separate case detailing that someone else was experimenting with altering reality through children. The poems are typically closer to stories, and you just need to place the right dolls on the right parts of the drawing to match. Getting the right answer will reward you with supplies and charms for Saga’s bracelet, which gives you passive bonuses. You’ll need every advantage you can get in Alan Wake 2, so don’t underestimate how much of a difference just one batter can make.

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On the matter of batteries, just like Alan Wake, you’ll be fighting against a darkness of sorts, and you’ll need a flashlight to do it. However, your flashlight doesn’t need batteries for regular use, but it does when you need to focus the beam for a concentrated shot. Sometimes, you’ll need a concentrated shot just to disperse the shadows; other times, it’s to break the protection on the Taken, but both can hurt you and will try to end you. This makes batteries, in some cases, even more important to have than ammo. The Taken don’t like the light, and you can use it against them, but you won’t be able to touch them with bullets or shotgun shells if you can’t weaken them first.

Now, a game like Alan Wake 2 wouldn’t be complete without mountains of lore or collectibles. Lucky for you, the game is quite literally overflowing with both on Saga’s side – The Alex Casey lunchboxes, poems, and manuscript pages from Alan’s latest novel are all collectible. However, Saga also has a soft spot for animals, and Bright Falls is known for being covered in Deer trophies. Finding and touching all of them might yield a special reward, and if you’re not sure how many more you still have to get, just touch the Deer trophy in the Mind Place, and her mother will tell you exactly that for some extra creep factor.

That’s pretty much the highlights for Saga Anderson, but what about Alan Wake? Our dear haunted horror author and seemingly permanent resident of The Dark Place, as mentioned before, you play as him too, but The Dark Place plays by different rules. First off, The Dark Place is essentially a different dimension that comes close to the one Saga is in, and Alan can interact with her where the lines between the two are thin enough. Unfortunately, Alan’s survival is a whole other nightmare because he does not just control it through his writing but also through his Alter-ego / evil doppelganger, Mr. Scratch.

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Mr. Scratch’s name is semi-literal because you’ll see parts of Alan’s story are ‘scratched’ out on the pages you find, though they’re not removed, just rewritten. After all, Scratch wants out of The Dark Place. Your objective as Alan is quite complex, ranging from preventing Mr. Scratch’s escape, finding a way out of The Dark Place, and helping Saga Anderson in any way he can use his story. However, this is where Alan Wake 2 develops even more layers than a mutant onion, and you’ll soon see why.

As Alan Awake, your Mind Place is a bit more barebones and instead takes on the form of a writer’s room. You can already see where this is going… Alan has to navigate his way through The Dark Place to look for an escape route. But sadly, The Dark Place is a ruined mirror copy of New York with a few twists. Alan’s biggest power comes from a lamp that can retrieve or give light to certain sources; doing so changes the scene around that source. For example – A collapsed subway tunnel under a flickering light will be restored under full light or doors leading to other doors depending on the light shift. This does make survival and exploration tricky because you can’t quite keep track of where you’re going when one set of stairs on the ground level going down actually takes you to a rooftop on a different building. Sorry to those who mentally keep track of maps; it might not help you much here.

So, just like Saga, your flashlight and weapons are what’s going to keep you alive. The Taken also reside in The Dark Place, and their only objective is to slow you down or force you back to the writing room, and just like before, you’ll need to disperse the shadows or weaken them to kill them off. Simple, right? Well, for that part, anyway. Alan’s power goes a bit deeper because he can rewrite parts of The Dark Place to be completely different; all he needs is a scene and an idea to run with. This sounds odd at first, but it’s an interesting mechanic to have; when there’s more than one plot to use, it opens up new paths and reveals useful supplies even if you don’t need the others.

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On the matter of rewriting the story, it’s not entirely clear if Alan’s changes to the story affect the world outside The Dark Place, but it might. A little care could still go a long way with the endgame. So, just as Saga has weapon upgrades, the same can be said for Alan, but he has more than weapons upgrades. You’ll have to hunt down spirals in The Dark Place and look at them from the right angle; this will give you one of several Words of Power, which can be used to give Alan upgrades to his flashlight, weapons, health, etc.

Things only get weirder in The Dark Place in Alan Wake 2; you’re not entirely sure who to look for, but it’ll almost always point back to a certain talk show host. After each chapter as Alan, you’ll start back at different versions of the same show, and maybe even a musical version of it. That’ll likely be your biggest hurdle at the start of a new chapter as Alan, but definitely not the only one.

Alan’s side of the story might not have as many mechanics, and it’s definitely a lot more complicated. However, there are things that Alan and Saga share, like the breakrooms – You’ll always need a safe haven that’s constantly lit. It comes with the option to save your progress and sometimes some supplies too. Another thing about the breakrooms to keep in mind is that there’s usually a shoebox. This acts as your personal stash where you can leave your overflow inventory items, and you’ll definitely end up running out of space very quickly. Having a healthy stockpile of ammo and healing items will save your skin in the long run, even more so if you can stockpile batteries.

Alan Wake 2, Review, Screenshots, Survival, Horror, Third-Person, NoobFeed

Now, Alan Wake 2 doesn’t exactly play nice when either Saga or Alan is in their Mind Places. Time will still progress, and both can still be attacked if the area isn’t safe. You’ll need to work fast or find a breakroom where you can take care of those matters. However, the breakroom also serves a second purpose, and that is to let you switch stories between Alan and Saga. They both have their own stories that need to play out, but there’s no exact order that it needs to take place in as long as both are seen to completion. This gives you the option to switch around, and it keeps the game from going stale; a change of scenery is sometimes all we need to keep going after all.

On the visual front, Alan Wake 2 doesn’t disappoint at all with the unique world and character designs. Right from the start, you’ll feel like you’re watching a movie instead of playing a game, and that’s just with the visual detail and the storytelling alone. This just gets better as you. Now, it should be known that Alan Wake 2 doesn’t take place in a bright and happy world; it’s actually miserable and dark, which is the perfect atmosphere for a game like this. The game’s atmosphere, in general, is great for a horror-theme environment, and even though it relies on a mix of old and new horror tropes, both work oddly well together, which was unexpected.

However, as mentioned earlier, the game did receive a lot of unnecessary criticism due to the heavy hardware requirements, drops in FPS, and even game crashes. Even though Alan Wake 2 uses AMD FSR and Nvidia DLSS, which makes the game run smoother, it will still absolutely use as many system resources as it can and probably still struggle now and then because it’s trying to run at its best right now. Sadly, this doesn’t leave much to use later and can make the game look badly optimized. The drops in FPS come from loading huge chunks of the world in one shot and having them rendered constantly, though this can also cause drops if it needs to load the next chunk when you approach it. A simple frame rate limit solves the resource consumption, and the FPS drops because it frees up resources and makes the game easier to run if you don’t quite have the resources to run the game at a constant 75 FPS+.


Remedy seems to have gone above and beyond in terms of sound engineering in Alan Wake 2, and they’ve gone even further for voice acting. Alan Wake 2 might not have much in terms of background music. Instead, you’ll have eerie background sound that just keeps adding to the atmosphere and immersion. As for the voice acting, you’ll notice right from the start that the voices for each character match down to the last letter, and they weren’t just playing parts. They were living them. What came across as a fun surprise is the song at the end of each chapter; this keeps you interested and gives you a moment to relax before jumping back into the nightmare. Though it goes without saying, the intermission music also fits the chapter you just finished perfectly.

Overall, Alan Wake 2 might have its flaws, but it’s definitely the sequel we needed after what happened in the first game. Between the visuals and sound engineering, you’ll be in for quite a treat, and you might end up losing hours in pursuit of seeing what happens next in the story. Granted, the story is great too, even if a bit confusing at times, but that’s part of Alan Wake’s plot. This is definitely a game that can appeal to horror and mystery fans alike.  

Jay Claassen (@R3GR3T_3NVY)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Alan Wake 2


Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX
Publisher(s): Epic Games
Developer(s): Remedy Entertainment
Genres: Survival Horror
Themes: Action, Adventure, Third-person
Release Date: 2023-10-17

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