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Alan Wake 2 is here to push the atmospheric horror standards. For me personally, the Alan Wake journey started 13 years ago with the first title. It was 2010, right after years of waiting to play a Remedy game hot off the heels of Max Payne fame, I managed to get my hands on the first Alan Wake. A game being one of the first few I played on my Xbox 360. I mean glued to the screen, magnetized by the atmosphere, obvious Stephen King references, and some hint of Twin Peaks that I didn’t realize till later on.

Then came the American Nightmares DLC 2 years later, it didn’t hit off well. And I wanted some kind of conclusion to the cliffhanger story the original left. Instead, it left me hung up on some wacky detour that just felt like padding, or so I thought, I’ve learned in time to appreciate their peculiarly fashioned storytelling techniques, the occasional mysticism, but with a lot of story depth to add to.

After a few rough years, getting out of Microsoft’s tricky contracts, I thought they abandoned the series. When Control came out in 2019, and a year later, after two story expansions, they had confirmed my hopes and dreams. Alan Wake 2 was coming, and it was going to tip the scales. My readers might have noticed that I have only covered news of games so far – Rise of the Ronin, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, and Black Myth Wukong. This time, however, I have come up with a review of Alan Wake 2. Spoilers ahead!!!

Alan Wake 2 — Launch Trailer

Wake Up Call

In the second DLC expansion of Control, AWE, Jesse is taken to a closed section of the Old House, called Investigation Sectors where they investigate Altered World Events. Much like what has happened in Cauldron Lake, back in Brightfalls, 2010. And for a particular reason why that is, becomes obvious later.

In the beginning, a presence comes in the form of Alan Wake, asking Jesse for help. Of course, her main goal was to clear out the entity that breached out of containment, so that the sector could be retaken and resume operations. Somewhere in between, she manages to make direct contact with Alan.

And from that point onwards, is where the game hints that another major AWE will happen in Brightfalls yet again and that Alan will be at the center of it. Now, with the FBC involved, there might be hope of getting Alan out of there. But it’s never easy, and straightforward with Remedy games, and from Alan Wake 2, that pretty much becomes the case in point.

Alan Wake 2 - Gameplay - Deshi Geek
Alan Wake 2 – Gameplay – Deshi Geek

Alan Wake 2: A New Initiation

Alan Wake 2 starts off with a bang, an old familiar face immediately killed off, before the new protagonist, FBI agent Saga Anderson with her partner who looks a lot like Sam Lake, investigates a murder by cult members. That soon turns into a reawakening in Cauldron Lake.

Queue the Twin Peaks level of shenanigans. I hate to be someone who’s new to this because they won’t have much of a clue as to exactly what is going on here. Even as a veteran like me, it took a while to understand and interpret everything. Fighting this terror wasn’t as easy as the first. I played Alan Wake 2 using a headphone, and from the audio alone, I was feeling terrified.

A lot is different in Alan Wake 2, the visuals are nothing to scuff at, the lighting has pitch-black sections, and exploring the forests induces anxiety and constant vigilance. Enemies are harder to take down, because of their new strengths, different attack types, and fast-paced movement.

I was no longer playing a horror action game; it was a survival horror game. There are even wolves possessed by the darkness, that run around before quickly striking back at me. Leaving only a second to react. The foggy effect, presence of urban legends, and feeling of being watched, while backtracking to find items is like going through a fever dream, till respite is found.

Alan Wake 2 – Announcement Trailer

Figuring Out The Alan Wake 2 Story

Where the Alan Wake 2 story really took my mind for a spin was when Alan came back to the real world. But things have gotten super complicated so far. With layers to peel off, starting with Alan. He went through so many renditions of The Dark Places, both written by him and Scratch. Unfortunately, the dark place keeps resetting his mind, making him forget. This is where he realizes he needs to change his stories.

Somehow, he managed to change that, meeting Tim Breaker who disappeared only to be stuck in the dark place, trying to solve the mystery of Walter Door, the show host. With the help of Ahti from Control, Alan goes further, and further until he finds out the truth that his wife took her own life.

And within a fit of rage, he shoots Scratch. Only it wasn’t Scratch, it was a manifestation of him. In fact, he was Scratch. Even more confusing was when Saga had to deal with the cult trying to get Alan back. This resulted in numerous conflicts when her partner, Casey started engaging them, only to be taken.

She also had to deal with new information about her family, and the story changing her life circumstances, especially around her daughter, who seems to have drowned in Wake’s version of reality. The only way for her to fix her story and get her life back was by going into the Dark Place. Which has again, taken Alan with Casey as well. She finds help from Alice, from the same place Alan was.

The dark presence took over Casey, and now Alan, who is at an impasse with Saga, who just wants her partner back, and end the nightmare. She decides to shoot Alan to end it all and get their life back together. And they do, Alan is dead. Except only, he’s not. You see, that’s the thing about how frequent these plot twists get in Alan Wake 2. Alice’s death was also a ruse, she was working with the FBC all along to save him.

From this point on, I am left with another cliffhanger, but with the hope that maybe Alan can finally get his freedom and save his reality. Saga’s connection to Door and the Andersons becomes established. It might feel like we’re back to square one, but that’s omitting the storytelling prowess that Lake has. I think it’s safe to say whenever the next game is coming out, we’ll be seeing more of these characters, and expanding the universe Remedy is building. Alan Wake is never going to be the same again.


Video games aficionado, movie geek, and a bit of fictional reading at times keeps me quite distracted, not even if the end of the world is near will I stop.

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