October 5, 2021
When Alan Wake released back in 2010, it received plenty of praise. A paranormal story filled with twists, weird characters, and an episodic format. It was familiar to anyone with a love of Twin Peaks or The Twilight Zone. The titular writer wasn’t a soldier or an action hero, but a writer with a strange case of amnesia. What transpired over the course of the story was a bizarre, terrifying journey through the recesses of a damaged mind. Alan Wake Remastered manages to bring the original on to today’s platforms, with worthy improvements that allow a new generation to experience an original and enthralling masterpiece.
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Alan Wake Remastered: An excellent story
Mr Wake is a writer with a severe case of writer’s block. He heads to the quaint town of Bright Falls with his wife to try and rest, at the same time to work on rebuilding his marriage. Following the disappearance of Alice, his wife, Wake must find her whilst trying to deal with his encroaching insanity. He finds pages of a book he has supposedly written. The horror story starts to come true in front of his eyes. The darkness becomes his enemy as he attempts to find solace in the light – a dear friend amidst the supernatural dangers that relentlessly try to kill him.
It’s a wonderful tale, told with a fine grasp on suspense and terror, courtesy of Remedy Entertainment. There’re times when the tension relaxes a touch, and you get to know the residents of Bright Falls. As soon as night falls, the threats begin to take shape. An inner monologue plays over what Wake is doing, offering a sense of foreboding and vulnerability. The way the narrative unfolds feels just like a novel, and each episode ends with a cliffhanger that feels like a TV show. It’s stylish and smart, and with the visual enhancements, it holds up wonderfully on modern consoles.
Big improvements all round
The light is a key part of gameplay, as it protects Wake from the possessed individuals who try to kill him. However, it also bursts throw the trees with great definition. The original came out on Xbox 360, so a fair amount of work was needed to make sure the visuals held up. Remedy has collaborated with d3t to improve everything from lighting to facial animations. Lip sync is massively improved, and everything has more definition in its textures. The environments in Bright Falls look so much better in 4K. Character designs are more realistic, with player movement in the cutscenes providing better realism in every one.
The implementation of DualSense provides tension when using your flashlight. Each weapon handles differently, and pulling the trigger offers a contrasting feel. When Alan Wake moves, every footstep can be felt in the controller, and powering up generators gives off varying degrees of vibration. That said, in some of the bigger set pieces when the world begins to crumble, there are a few missed opportunities to make use of the vibrations. More often than not, these improvements bring you closer into the action. It’s impressive just how much the gameplay holds up over a decade later, with intense combat always forcing your heart to skip a beat.
Alan Wake Remastered: Gameplay as good as ever
Alan Wake isn’t familiar with using weapons. After all, he’s a writer who just wanted a break from busy city living and writing deadlines. Whenever you’re faced with an enemy, shining your flashlight at them rids them of the shadows that surround them. This allows you to fire your gun and finally kill them. Sometimes there’s one or two to take out at the same time. Other times, you’re surrounded by a gang of them, and it can be difficult to escape. Thankfully, you can pull off a perfect dodge to evade them. Also, firing a flare gun can take out two or three at a time if you fire it at the right spot.
There’re also opportunities to turn on big industrial lights that keep them away, and if you stand under a lamp post, not only are you protected, but it’ll refill your health bar. Variety plays a big part in the gameplay of Alan Wake. Not only do you have to take out the Dark Presence, you have to solve mini environmental puzzles to get to a new area. Along your travels through Bright Falls, there’s tons of exposition hidden in the manuscript pages for you to read.
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Weird and wonderful
Televisions can be turned on that play episodes of Night Springs, a paranormal show that pays homage to The Twilight Zone. Remedy has built a dense story that can be discovered everywhere, and it is consistent through both the main game and DLC. The Signal and The Writer are also included, giving you even more Alan Wake goodness to wade through.
Alan Wake Remastered gives new players a chance to experience a classic on modern platforms. Even now, the gameplay is as exciting as it ever was. The story is excellent, told in an interesting way with a great voice cast. The camera angles can be a bit off-putting at times, but rarely affect the overall enjoyment. Those of you who have a fondness for the original won’t be disappointed. Remedy hasn’t changed any of the core components that made fans fall in love with it. Instead, they’ve greatly improved the visuals and and made sure it plays just as well as it did all those years ago.
Big improvements to visuals
Suspenseful and exciting
DualSense implementation is solid
Occasional camera issues
Alan Wake Remastered is a definite improvement in the visual department, offering the same great story and intense gameplay throughout.