After burning through countless flashlight batteries, hearing one too many metaphors, and inevitably failing to find every Thermos flask full of coffee scattered throughout the world, Alan Wake Remastered serves as a fitting reminder of just how brilliant Remedy Entertainment’s psychological thriller was all those years ago.
As you’re exploring the town and diving into the central mystery of the story, you’ll see the dark presence taking over townsfolk and turning them into Taken. They can be defeated by weakening them with a light and then blasting them away with a revolver, shotgun, hunting rifle, or flare gun. Gun combat is simple and easy. You’re also able to dodge an enemy’s attack with a slo-mo animation, and up until the very end, I got a lot of satisfaction with that animation. On the same level, there are moments with the flare gun that rewards a dead-on hit with the enemy ragdolling through the air and bursting into light and dissolving in slow motion.
All of that weirdness is portrayed in an overwhelmingly stylised and heightened action game, filtered through the cinematic and narrative lenses of David Lynch and Alfred Hitckcock with a side of Stephen King. The episodic structure of the story isn’t just a gimmick either, because Remedy are able to craft a story that’s packed to the rafters with exciting climaxes and near-death escapes, constantly reinventing itself as it goes. There’s a pervading air of mystery and intrigue that underscores every minute of the game, but exactly what that mystery is can be something of a moving target. It’s a hell of a compelling yarn with an absolute barn-burner of an ending.
Alan Wake Remastered’s gameplay also attempts to heighten the scares by urging you to reload quickly. When you’ve shot every bullet in the chamber, Alan will begin to automatically reload. However, by tapping the reload button quickly, Alan will frantically reload with added haste, shaving off some much-needed seconds before the taken have a chance to close the gap. It’s a simple but effective mechanic.
While some of the game’s mechanics haven’t aged super well, it’s still a fun and eerie ride through Bright Falls, and it is enjoyable to see where Remedy came from. If I had played this game when it first came out, I think I would have appreciated it more, but that isn’t to say Alan Wake Remastered isn’t worth your time. If you’re looking for an eccentric and spooky story with some zany characters and good gameplay, spend some time with Alan in Bright Falls.
If you haven’t shined a flashlight in the face of a taken or fired a flare gun into the night sky, you owe it to yourself to give Alan Wake Remastered a try. Remedy’s unique spin on the survival horror genre won’t leave you shaking in your boots, but it will keep you on tenterhooks until the very end with its enthralling story and satisfying spin on survival horror action. Shine on, Mr. Wake.