The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel defined the word “reality” as “the immediate unity (synthesis) between essence and existence, between the internal and the external”. Well then, Alan Wake 2 seems to surf this concept. What is real? How can our inner side affect our outer side and vice versa?
The sequel to the game released in 2010 by Remedy arrives with clear differences from its predecessor, but still has several similarities. Plot twistsbattles between light and dark, connections with Control…everything is here. At the same time, there are interesting new features, such as changing the action genre to a survival horrorand the addition of a second protagonist.
Vibe de Stranger Things?
Alan Wake 2 tells two stories in parallel, which are entirely connected. Saga Anderson is an FBI agent sent to the quiet town of Bright Falls to investigate a crime and the formation of an evil sect. Meanwhile, the old hero is trapped in the “Dark Place”, a kind of “inverted world” from the series Stranger Things, where he needs to write stories to alter reality and escape.
Saga is a mentally strong character, even having the ability to seek answers about the cases she investigates inside her own head. This characteristic is the central point of the character, especially because throughout the game, some facts that would drive any sane person crazy do not affect her as much as they could. Her calmness guides her at key moments, even in the midst of so many questions: “who is the perpetrator of the crime?”, “is so-and-so part of the sect?”, “was what happened real?”, etc.
Alan, for his part, seems like a broken man. In the first game, whose remaster arrived in 2021, he was already showing signs of weakness due to his mental block when writing — something “unacceptable” for the legendary best-selling author. Now, in the sequel, he is on the verge of madness, as he finds himself trapped for 13 years in an “inverted” New York, where his fears and nightmares manifest themselves.
The fate of the two is intertwined precisely because of Saga’s trip to Bright Falls, the place where Alan was reported missing in 2010. While investigating the “Tree Sect”, the FBI agent comes across the writer’s manuscripts, which, somehow way, they travel from one reality to another. These pieces of paper accurately describe the character’s future events, helping her in her saga (pardon the pun) and in unraveling the man’s disappearance.
Once again, Remedy excels in plot construction and narrative. The entire story leaves no holes and, although it is confusing at certain moments, it makes the player want to devour more and more content — it’s addictive.
It is also worth mentioning the returns of certain characters, who did not shine much in Alan Wake (2010), but this time, they have relevant roles and add many elements to the plot. Not to mention the striking presence of newcomers Alex Casey, played by dev Sam Lakee Kiran Estevezagent of the FBC (secret agency from the game Control).
Alan Wake 2’s gameplay is built out of reality
The gameplay is another of Alan Wake 2’s strong points. There are several positive aspects to highlight in this matter, starting with the gameplay of Saga and Alan, which have unique characteristics.
Saga, as a federal official, has a “little corner” to sit and work. This office is her own mind (a place outside of reality, but it is real), where she gathers clues and profiles other characters, to reach conclusions that move her forward in the campaign.
Meanwhile, Alan also has a little room inside his head. There, he can create scripts for his stories and change the reality of the scenarios according to what he writes on his typewriter. This also makes you progress through the maps.
Maps, in fact, are quite intuitive and easy to understand — in Control, this element was a huge problem. It is also worth mentioning that Remedy seems to have sought inspiration from Resident Evil for its designs. A wise choice.
Speaking of Resident Evil, Alan Wake 2 drinks a lot of that water. The game opted for a survival horror, rather than the more action-oriented horror in which its predecessor followed. Not only that, but the “Possessed” (one of the enemies encountered along the way) have animations for locomotion and damage suffered very similar to those of zombies from the Capcom franchise.
As for combat, there are no mysteries: Alan and Saga use a flashlight to defend themselves from spirits and the Possessed. Just aim the object’s light at one of them, up to a certain point, where it will be possible to reach them. Then, just shoot your gun to send him to the other world.
Finally, there is a big “but” in the gameplay. At certain moments in the campaign, the player may feel lost about what to do. And although the game encourages you to visit the minds of Saga and Alan to get some progression tips or two, some puzzles require a high level of attention to minute details, leading the player to spend a good few minutes (or hours) looking for solutions.
Alan Wake 2 is scary!
In the original Alan Wake, one element left fans less excited when picking up the controller: the lack of fear. There, the dangers simply didn’t scare players, as they were extremely predictable. Well, that changes completely in the sequel.
The darkness holds dangers on all sides: shadows, Possessed, wolves, etc. They are already scary in their own ways, but as Alan and Saga progress through the scenarios, the dark ambience makes the player swallow hard. Not only that, but often, the player is caught in jump scares in scenes recorded by live action (as other Remedy games used to do).
Optimization is Alan Wake 2’s Achilles’ Heel. Exclusive to the new generation of consoles and PC, the game suffers in certain aspects, when it shouldn’t.
Even having two graphic modes (Quality at 4K/30 FPS and Performance at 1080p and 60 FPS), the game ends up frustrating. In “Quality” there are sudden drops in FPS, especially in rainy or brightly lit environments. In “Performance”, the frame rate also drops somewhat steadily, but in a less noticeable way.
At times, the player also encounters visual bugs in the interface, lighting or command prompts. At certain times, the weapon’s sights on the screen may disappear (along with the weapon itself) and leave you defenseless. Furthermore, when you need to perform an action, the button required to do so may not reveal itself — requiring you to reload the save.
Subtitles in PT-BR are another problem. In almost every dialogue, they appear out of place and/or with gigantic paragraphs. This hinders the understanding of the narrative for those who do not have a good level of English.
The art direction took great care when designing the scenarios, especially the “inverted” New York already shown in previews provided by Remedy. The soundtrack is another show in itself, with the return of the fictional band Old Gods of Asgard — to the delight of the metalheads on duty.
Alan Wake 2: vale a pena?
In a year where the survival horror genre shone, Alan Wake 2 had everything it needed to be on the top shelf, alongside the remakes of Resident Evil 4 and Dead Space. However, the constant presence of bugs indicates that postponing it could have been the best option for Remedy.
Its beautiful story, striking characters and good quality gameplay justify a purchase, especially for those who have been eagerly awaiting the sequel since the distant year of 2010. It is also worth mentioning positively that the game has about 20 hours of gameplay and will have a New Game+ e DLCs post-launch.
On the other hand, there is one caveat again: at least until Remedy releases updates, the player will be at the mercy of bugs. Perhaps the best thing is to wait for these packages to arrive. Because there is a very good game here, which just needs some love in optimization.
The post first appeared on meups.com.br