Alan Wake Remastered Review: A Nerd Caught in the Game of Light and Shadow – Games, PlayStation 5, Featured Issue, Xbox Series X

Remedy Entertainment is partnering with Epic Games to bring back Alan Wake. Because in Alan Wake Remastered, in which the main game and the two DLCs unite, the once Xbox exclusive title from 2010 returns and comes to Sony’s console family for the first time. Because Alan Wake Remastered will also be released for the Playstation 4 and for the PlayStation 5. I tested the PlayStation 5 version for you and faced the horror in the forest with a flashlight in one hand and a revolver in the other.

Just a walk in the park

By the way, Alan Wake was released for the PC for the first time in 2012. And the stand-alone addon Alan Wake’s American Nightmare was released for PC and Xbox 360 at the same time as Release 2012. Why American Nightmare isn’t part of the remaster is a mystery.

And Alan Wake is also about the dark. The famous bestselling author just wants to relax and is on vacation in a typical small American town surrounded by mountains, valleys, dense forests and lakes. But already in the first minutes of the game it becomes clear why the developers called the TV series The X-Files, Twin Peaks and the works of Stephen King as their sources of inspiration. Because finally arrived at the hut by the lake, his wife disappears. Alan wakes up a week later in a car he appears to have veered off the road in. What happened during the week and where is his wife? Why is he suddenly attacked in the dark forest on the way to a gas station by creepy figures who are sensitive to the light from his flashlight? How come he can handle firearms just like that, without practice? After the quiet start, the game quickly accelerates into confusion mode and together with Alan we as players have to find out what is actually going on here. Is Alan just imagining things or is there more to it than that? Is the small town of Bright Falls more than meets the eye?

questions upon questions. And as well as raising more questions, these will also be answered as the game progresses, don’t worry. And while the game opens its chapters as episodes of a TV series, complete with credits and flashbacks, it’s still a full story experience.

Breathless through the night

1653188415 366 Alan Wake Remastered Review A Nerd Caught in the GameWhatever’s going on in Bright Falls, it’s clear that arguments won’t resolve conflicts here. Instead, you have to kill the numerous enemies with a pistol or a hunting rifle, later also with a pump gun. But the so-called possessed cannot simply be stopped with a few well-aimed shots. For they are possessed by the mysterious darkness. She seems to have taken control and at the same time protects her with a kind of black fog. In order to be able to harm them, Alan first has to clear this fog with the flashlight before his guns can do anything. Defeated enemies then dissolve in a bright light. But the power of the flashlight is limited. Although it recharges itself over time, it quickly becomes cramped when suddenly no light source is available in the middle of a battle. Here Alan can use batteries, which he finds in the game world just like ammunition for his firearms. Then the luminosity of the flashlight is restored immediately and the fight can continue. Other light sources are added to the Writer’s arsenal early in the game.

Flares, flare guns and stun grenades are part of the good manners on a nightly walk in the forest, and there are plenty of those in the game. And despite hopelessly outdated textures, the prevailing darkness and the light effects, which are still impressive even after more than 10 years, conceal precisely this technical shortcoming. Alan sprints through the darkness on the PlayStation 5 in 1440p and a stable 60 frames per second. At least briefly. Because he quickly runs out of breath, which can sometimes be a bit annoying and could have done with a revision. But then there would have been problems with the balancing. So be it.

And because of good sound: the soundscape has lost none of its charm and does not have to hide from current titles in 2021 either. Whether headphones or home cinema system: the soundscape is still outstanding if you can stand this creepy and constant threat atmosphere! Still, it’s a shame that apart from revised cutscenes, the frame rate and resolution, and the character models, nothing has been done to the graphics framework. On the other hand, with around 15 hours of playing time including the two DLCs and a price of around €30, you don’t have to complain about the scope or the absolutely solid technical quality of the game, which was free of crashes or bugs in the test. But the motivation to continue playing is probably the story.

Forest, forest, forest, farmhouse, more forest?!

1653188415 890 Alan Wake Remastered Review A Nerd Caught in the GameAdmittedly, I’m an Alan Wake fan and have been waiting for a real sequel since 2010. I really enjoyed Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break and Control, along with Max Payne and Max Payne 2. And also the Alan Wake DLC for Control and the connection of the two games have already made me have conversations that almost come close to speculation about the upcoming developments in Marvel’s cinema universe.

And it was like seeing an old friend again, reprising my role as Alan. But apart from the great story, which also reminds me a little of the horror film Phantom, which was wrongly neglected, I could only remember two places in the game. Namely a bigger fight, about the middle of the game, which I don’t want to spoil here. But let’s put it this way: it was a killer show! And the other memory was: forest. Lots of forest! Always forest? And that is probably the biggest criticism of this linear horror game in 2021. Because Alan constantly loses his equipment and ends up stranded where? I agree! In the forest! And the forest wears out quickly with its surely repetitive gameplay mechanics. The few enemy types make this even clearer. The actual horror disappears quite quickly, especially on the lower level of difficulty. Yes, I know the same enemies will spawn again in this section of the forest. I need to reach the life saving street lamp up ahead, which will replenish my life energy, or start a generator to power the lights. Pick up some ammunition and flares and continue. This process is repeated again and again. The manuscript pages that you find on the way and Alan’s phone calls or monologues deliver continuous bits of story, but basically I’m more waiting for the next cutscene. Because then I’ll finally find out how it goes on.

1653188415 164 Alan Wake Remastered Review A Nerd Caught in the GameThe game makes every effort to create variety: every now and then there is a playable memory or a section to be played in daylight. Or you can witness what’s left of the game originally planned as an open world title as you travel around the Bright Falls countryside in sprawling vehicle stages with a variety of cars. But Alan Wake comes from a time when “bingen” didn’t exist yet. From a time when we as viewers of linear television had to wait a whole week for the next episode after the cliffhanger on the X-Files or Twin Peaks. And if you want to experience Alan Wake today, you might want to play it something like this. Only one episode at a time and the next one the next evening. But series newcomers are perhaps not drawn out of the atmosphere by the lack of variety as someone who, after more than 10 years as a pollen allergy sufferer, has to constantly go through the forest at night again. The fact that Alan still likes to “wedge” himself like a piece of wood when trying to jump over waist-high fences or climb up at designated points should really no longer happen in 2021. Not even if it is “only” a remaster.

Conclusion

Alan Wake Remastered has its pitfalls in its name for a game that’s almost 12 years old. Because Remastered means that there are few, if any, changes or technical improvements. The cutscenes have been revised, as have the character models, and the game now runs at 60 frames per second in 1440p on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. And apart from the fact that the two DLCs are also on board and continue to tell the story of Alan Wake, everything remains the same. Technically, the game in 2021 almost looks like an indie title, even if the game of light, shadow, fog and the great background noise still create an atmosphere of horror that is just as dense as it was in 2010. At least when you think of the cruel and sometimes flawed German soundtrack (“We have to pick up the key at DINNER”) changes to the original sound. The gameplay is actually harder. Because the linear game with a strong story focus is no less exciting today precisely because of its still outstandingly well-written story, which confuses the player just as much as its eponymous main character himself. Even if you have already seen the credits in 2010. But with a scope including the DLCs of approx. 15 hours of playtime and an absolutely fair price of just under €30 on all platforms, horror and horror fans are certainly not doing anything wrong with a view to the month of October. Not only are horror films coming to the cinemas here again, but it also gets dark earlier and Halloween is not far away either. You just have to be able to overlook the little varied gameplay. Or play it the way the game is written: only play one episode each night. Then the signs of wear and tear of the gameplay are no longer so noticeable. And Remedy fans who have also played Control and the Alan Wake DLC can’t avoid Alan Wake Remastered anyway. Hopes for a sequel or a Control merge are growing and thriving now that the rights to Alan Wake are once again owned by Remedy rather than Microsoft.

Alan Wake Remastered Review A Nerd Caught in the Game

reader rating25 reviews

56

pros

Exciting, twisted story that motivates you to keep playing

interesting characters

Great (English) dubbing

creepy soundscape

very extensive with approx. 15 hours playing time

a lot of game for little money

cons

Diverse gameplay

Few enemy types

Puzzles with no real challenge

Varied forest scenery

src: https://gamingnerd.net/reviews/games/alan-wake-remastered-im-test-ein-nerd-gefangen-im-spiel-von-licht-und-schatten-0034828/

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