Alan Wake II is a masterful game that combines paranormal murder, shifting realities, and demonic possession within a twisted and serpentine story. Developed by Remedy Entertainment, it showcases the studio’s talent for creating psychedelic terror and complex mysteries. The game features monsters, ghosts, cults, Old Gods, and mind-bending perspective swaps, with stunning character models and set pieces. It has been nominated for multiple categories at The Game Awards, including Game of the Year.
The game’s unique mechanics allow players to inhabit the minds of two characters, Saga Anderson and Alan Wake, as they attempt to solve the mysteries at hand. The presence of shadow people adds an element of danger, and combat is often necessary to fend them off. However, this is where the game falters.
The constant gunplay in the game feels out of place in the survival horror experience, interrupting the dark and tense narrative with standard action-game elements. The tension, terror, and slow-burning narrative are routinely disrupted by the need for combat. The reliance on firearms seems unnecessary, especially when light serves as the primary weapon against the shadow enemies.
The developers have labeled Alan Wake II as their “first foray into the survival horror genre,” but its use of guns is perplexing and detracts from the overall horror experience. The game would have benefited from a more focused approach to storytelling and terror, without the reliance on traditional third-person shooter tropes.