When Alan Wake first launched back in 2010, it had the unfortunate task of going up against Red Dead Redemption. The initial batch of people jumping into the game was small, but thankfully over the years, it's gained a cult following via word of mouth. Fast forward to today and developer Remedy Entertainment is working on bringing a connected universe to fans, gathering games such as Control and Alan Wake into one shared franchise. As a result, Alan Wake Remastered has arrived in the hopes of garnering a wider audience, and absolutely succeeds at brushing up this classic horror title.
The story of Alan Wake sees the titular character taking a vacation with his wife Alice, in an attempt to break out of a period of writer's block the successful author is facing. What transpires is a horror-fuelled adventure, as Wake's upcoming book - that he can't remember writing - appears to be coming to life before his very eyes. The game merges survival horror elements from titles such as Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark, whilst also sprinkling some horror iconic film influences, including sequences reminiscent of The Shining. For anyone who has grown up reading Stephen King novels, the story of Alan Wake will resonate massively.
All of this is broken up into segmented chapters, giving the feeling of a TV series playing out. Each episode begins recapping the events of the previous one, and every single chapter closes out on a cliff-hanger, begging you to continue forward. It's an addictive loop, something Remedy also attempted with Quantum Break but failed to nail as hard as they do here. Alan Wake also understands how close the horror and comedy genre are, succeeding in blending them both in darkly humorous ways, without sacrificing the tension.
The story is approached linearly, with players controlling Wake through a variety of environments. Some moments give the feeling of a more open-ended game, but the story funnels you down one path. Your time will mostly be spent fending off shadowy figures in some pretty unique combat. Before raining down gunfire, you'll need to whittle their health down with your trusty flashlight. It means you'll have to come face to face with the enemies in some truly terrifying encounters, made even worse when you're forced to fend off multiple foes at once.
Outside of combat, you'll be exploring the world and finding all sorts of collectables. Being a remaster, Alan Wake does little to change up the core experience, meaning there are still far too many objects to find in the world. With over 100 manuscript pages, 100 thermos cups to find, and several other collectables, you'll spend an extraordinary amount of time combing the world for anything you find. It felt over-saturated back in 2010, and it still detracts from the experience, especially for completionists. It's especially irritating when some of these items contain key story elements that you could potentially miss.
There are also a few QR codes, which were seen in the original, but here they link to completely new rewards. New for the remaster are a series of videos that can be unlocked by simply scanning them on your smart device. While we don't want to reveal what the contents are, they do work to flesh out Remedy's plans for a connected universe, providing more Alan Wake lore for fans who want to expand their knowledge.
Once the main campaign is done, the remaster also packs in the two superb post-launch episodes: The Signal and The Writer. For anyone who's invested in the story, these are paramount to understand the full picture. In all honesty, it's baffling that Remedy omitted them from the main game and added them as paid DLC, as they feel like a necessity in regards to the overall narrative. Luckily, they're both included here as part of the main admission fee, so be sure to spend a few extra hours unveiling their secrets.
As for the remastered visuals, it's a pretty strong upgrade, sometimes looking like a brand-new game entirely. Remedy has pumped a lot of love into their cult classic title, ensuring that returning fans feel at home and new fans understand what the fuss is all about. The core experience remains the same, with all the same problems the original faced, such as a cumbersome camera, some frustrating enemy encounters and floaty controls, but the visual experience of it all brings it up to 2021 standards.
The 4K resolution looks incredible, especially on Xbox Series X, and is accompanied by a smooth 60fps during its gameplay. Cutscenes don't pack the same punch, remaining at 30fps, but the main game is the best Alan Wake has ever felt. Lighting is a particular highlight, increasing the moody atmosphere even more than the original version. The way the light reflects off enemies as you shine your flashlight never ceases to get old. Character models have also been improved, and while the lip-syncing looks off in a fair few situations (Remedy is looking to address this prior to launch), they fit more within modern standards than their 2010 counterparts.
If you've never played Alan Wake, this is the best possible way to experience the game. For anyone who loves horror or Remedy's other titles, there's a ton to unpack here with an engaging narrative and stellar gameplay. The remastered enhancements bolster the game even further, giving it a place in today's gaming world, and while the gameplay doesn't perhaps hold up as well as it did in 2010, Alan Wake Remastered is still as joyous as it was back then and a perfect treat for the Halloween season.
Nice, I'll definitely be picking this up, Never played Alan Wake before..
Much better review than your partners over on Push Square. They gave it a 6! Said the opposite on combat. That it was boring and tedious. WTF?!?!
Should be a 10/10.
This was the definitive Xbox exclusive (outside of Halo) up until now.
Good Review - should of come with American Nightmare too...
This game is a classic, probably one of my favorite horror games.
@awp69 They are allowed to have an opinion. Have you not played the game before? The combat is uninspired and does get tedious after a while. That doesn't necessarily take away from its fantastic narrative, but this is an Xbox 360 game we are talking about — some things just don't age all that well, and the remaster doesn't do much to remedy those issues.
I wish I could Smart Delivery my 360 version
@Nerdfather1 its just bizarre that the sister site Push square gave it 6/10 for the same game
84 average on metacritic
I always liked the combat. I found the flashlight/burning off the darkness before the enemies were vulnerable unique. What makes it uninspired?
@Nerdfather1 I have played the game before and it’s most certainly not a 6/10. Just my opinion. Heck, even Open Critic has the game at an 85 so far.
I fairly recently played through Alan Wake faster than any game in recent memory in an attempt to finish it before it was removed from Game Pass. I absolutely loved the atmosphere and Stephen King vibe and rather enjoyed the combat too. Which is all saying something as I generally find 3rd person cinematic action games fairly uninspiring and have failed to get into, or finish, many games that are highly rated.
@awp69 Well, I wouldn't necessarily say they're wrong. I tried it for the first time earlier this year, and gave up a couple of hours in because the combat is such a chore. Naturally it's all a matter of opinion and if this ends up on Gamepass of PS+ I'll definitely give it another go to see if the enhancements make it any more palatable, but I certainly expect a lot of those saying it has aged well may be blinded by nostalgia. I still personally rank Ocarina of Time as my favourite game of all time, but I can't imagine I would still think that if I had played it for the first time in 2021 rather than 1998
Yeah, it probably really has to do with the benefit of nostalgia as their review mentions. I never played Uncharted until the collection with my PS4. I found that first game especially ROUGH, and the subsequent games ok. A lot of people seem to criticize the combat in those games as well. Maybe if the reviewer hadn't played the original PS3 versions, and had the nostalgia for them, he wouldn't have scored the collection a 9.
Also, I find it interesting that it seems with any game that the combat is often one of the first points of criticism. Is there a game with universally loved combat? I found the combat in the Witcher 3 fine, and others act like it sh*t in their cornflakes. 🤷
@awp69 I used to visit it because of my PS4 but Push Square staff has become a Sony trolls den. Sorry to be this straightforward but looking at the articles and reviews on there, how can it be explained with kinder words? Someone help me. @NEStalgia, maybe?
@NickTheGeek 100% this. Nintendolife is as bad as Pure Xbox is as bad as Push Square. Each site has their fair share of demented zealots.
And until people stop squabbling this ridiculous "console war" will go on forever, unfortunately.
@BlueOcean I know we have had differing opinions sometimes but I agree with you on this. Their review very much reeks of "ah this is some xbox exclusive from years ago not really fussed about the ins and outs of it"
@NickTheGeek You are right but I see many people rightfully complaining about Nintendo on Nintendo Life while Push Square being continuously obsessed with everything Xbox including Game Pass as a potentially negative thing. Nintendo Life and Pure Xbox are open-minded and Push Square is pure propaganda.
@Jaxx420 The Push Square articles about Game Pass, Phil Spencer, Bethesda, etc. are cringeworthy and reviews are as subjective as possible. The Psychonauts 2 review was fine, though. It depends on the person but part of the staff is propaganda at full speed.
Is this worth buying on One S?
@AhabSpampurse @NickTheGeek 100% spot on, this site has it's equal share of blind fanboys.
Play what you want to, on what you want to and be kind, we're all gamers.
It was always about a 5 or a 6 in terms of gameplay. But the atmosphere, world building and intrigue significantly raised that. By how much was down to interpretation.
Ultimately there's a reason it's viewed as a 'cult classic' and not simply a 'classic'.
@NickTheGeek @themightyant I don't see the staff of Pure Xbox being negative about everything Sony in here.
@BlueOcean If anything the staff at Push Square are more critical and negative about Sony and their recent moves (as they should be imo) and more complimentary about Microsoft and Game Pass asking when/if Sony are going to do something similar. Just a few examples. There are many more.
But it's the same here, it's all about clicks. Any PureXbox article about PlayStation gets 2-5x the engagement. Hence they keep writing them. Good business for them.
One person's 5 or 6 is another person's 8 or 9. To each their own.
@themightyant There are many examples when the comparisons aren't as moderated as that. The worst thing is the condescending and hypocritical tone depending on who does what.
@BlueOcean As I, and several others, have said above there's plenty of that everywhere, creating BS console wars everywhere when they shouldn't exist.
But ultimately you will see what you see. As @NickTheGeek rightly said "we tend to notice the stuff we don't like or agree with, more than we do the stuff we do."
@BlueOcean Honestly I don't have a problem at all with the staff at Push Square. They've been on-point since the start of the PS5 era. They were very very cringe in the PS4 era but they've really become a lot more professional lately. Most of the actual articles have been solid, on point, and featuring blunt criticism of Sony's missteps and slaps in the face, same as most of us here.
It's the commentariat there that's the problem. Sammy is non-stop ripped a new one and even told he should just go to PXB since he clearly loves Game Pass so much. Parts of that community are so zealous they're at war with the staff for dare saying the obvious.
Granted, the "Sony buys another studio, so much amaze, the world is brighter today!" type articles get annoyingly fawnish, but that's been minimized. Heck, Psychonauts 2 got a better review than R&C Rift there. I think the staff is just fine, and represents "real" PS fans well. It's the reality distortion bubble among the hardcore console warriors that make the place hard to take in large doses, as they seem to be more dominant and omnipresent than NL or PXB, and more to the point, while PXB has a few obsessives, and NL has many, only the ones at PS seem to be so aggressively confrontational - and more to the point, humorless.
I think' that's the current difference in tone. The fanboys here are just kind of broken records but innocuous. The fanboys on NL are extreme, but tend to stay in their own bubble, and because Nintendo exists aside the rest of the industry, tend not to be aggressive, confrontational, or absolutist. Usually. You can have a conversation with them if you can meet them half-way without coming away with a feeling of "lets pretend to agree to disagree so we don't get banned." They can take a joke and you can bring some friendliness into it. The hardcore warriors on PS seem to have no sense of humor whatsoever. It's kinda weird really. It just creates a tone too often where it's a battlefield of the "right" answer and the "wrong" answer rather than a conversation.
BUT as always it's still a vocal minority. MOST users there are just fine. It's just that the ones that aren't control so much of the conversation so often, it comes across as a consensus opinion even when it's clearly not when you read through the comments.
PS overall is okay, but it's still hard to take in large doses because a portion really rotten apples spoil the broth too often.
As far as staff, though, probably the most troublesome staff member is Dan Hollis over here. While all the sites incite some flame wars for clicks (Damo comes to mind on the NL side) Dan too often just has all-out console war clickbait here. PS members that lurk here have noticed it, and I have to agree with them, even if they're among the console-warrior lot. It's pretty pointed. An xbox site shouldn't often feature Sony IP as top-of page graphics. Just in the past month we've had Alloy, Kratos, more than once, and I think either Jim Ryan or Bluepoint Firesprite logos, etc. Why would an Xbox site need so much Sony-specific news other than to incite flame wars? On the flip side, PS hasn't featured Chief, Starfield, Dark, or other MS IP that I recall outside the relevant articles of the Bethesda buyout. Though it does often mention Game Pass in the content, I never really see that as openly inciting flame wars so much as Sammy in particular genuinely looking over the greener side of the fence, much to his readers dismay.
Meanwhile over on Push Square - waaa we don't like Alan Wake so let's give it a bad review, not because it's a bad game, but because we don't understand it.
@trev666 its not, that particular reviewer is very fanboy and always gives incorrect reviews to a good game just cause they don't like something minor. I NEVER listen to Push Square reviews
@NEStalgia Sammy doesn't believe in freedom of speech and bans anyone who opposes him.
@NickTheGeek Erm no, Sony has plenty of decent 1st party third person adventures. Sammy just doesn't allow anyone to oppose his opinion and bans you for doing so. So much for freedom of speech.
@MyThoughts31 If Sammy banned anyone that opposes him he'd have banned me a year ago, lol! I'm not sure who's been banned for what, but I've certainly contradicted him many times, and I've seen many others do so, and we're all still there. I really don't have any complaint about the staff or moderation over there. The tone of the site isn't always pleasant, but the staff is decent and most of the posters are as well. I've seen some uglier moderation steps on NL, honestly, and Damo can rough up the guests with more gusto than I've ever seen from Sammy. I can't speak for anyone that has been banned, mind you, and maybe some exchanges have resulted in bans I didn't notice....but some of the vitriol I've seen displayed toward him probably deserved a ban hammer, as well.... usually from the "true fans" that won't allow an oped to criticize their favorite brand.
Maybe put a different way, if Sammy were to post over here in his spare time, I'm certain we could all have a good time talking games and Xboxes without it descending into a fanboy console war. Some of the commenters....not so much.
@NickTheGeek I'm a ps5 player who's been trying to get a Series X as well. I don't do fanboyism games are games. But I got banned for an opinion on a review on a game which made the game out as trash when it isnt.
@BAMozzy finally someone said it. Really shocked more people haven’t questioned why it wasn’t included. Maybe a dlc to come?!?
@NEStalgia agree all the staff and reviewers on all three sites get way way to much abuse and bans are rarely handed out when people disagree. All three sites have their fair share of nuts.
@themightyant Sorry, I don't agree with you because you are saying that everything is the same but it's okay, I stated my opinion on the comments and you replied twice but no need for you to insist on your opinion repeatedly. You complain about every comment I make and it's tiresome. You have to accept that the people that disagree aren't necessarily Xbox/PS/Nintendo trolls. You always sound so self-entitled. I had all consoles except Vita last generation. Please, don't insist. I have a lot to do.
@NEStalgia I'll read you and reply later/tomorrow 😉.
@awp69 Not defending the review, especially since this will be the first time playing the game, but on the other side not everybody has to love it.
A shame this has turned into a console war type discussion instead of celebrating the fact that the remaster job seems pretty good (both sites agree there). I plan on jumping into this for the first time after I am done with Scarlet Nexus.
@KilloWertz It’s not a console war discussion for me. I have had every PlayStation console to date, including the PS5. I’m just saying it’s not a good review. It’s the lowest on Open Critic, where 90% of the reviews are 8, 9 and 10s. Just a couple of 7s and only one 6 that is from Push Square.
I hope their readers check out more than just that review.
@awp69 Maybe I chose the wrong words. Ok, it's a shame the focus seems to be more on the Push Square review and the site itself than the pretty solid remaster coming in a matter of hours now.
@KilloWertz I think that people are interested in the game even if they are complaining about the review. I wonder what score will the last ZeniMax multiplatform games receive on there.
@Stocksy There are enjoyable/funny to read nuts on Nintendo Life and Pure Xbox but on Push Square it feels much more toxic.
"Psychonauts 2 got a better review than R&C Rift".
Yes, I mentioned Psychonauts 2 as a positive example.
"even told he should just go to PXB since he clearly loves Game Pass so much"
And that is a ridiculous, childish and defensive attitude.
"Sony buys another studio, so much amaze, the world is brighter today!"
This is what I mean when I say that they are condescending and hypocritical depending on who does what. I've read a lot of it after ZeniMax acquisition and when Microsoft celebrated the success of Game Pass. What irritated me was not that they were criticising Microsoft but that they were being hypocritical.
"While PXB has a few obsessives, and NL has many, only the ones at PS seem to be so aggressively confrontational - and more to the point, humorless".
That is absolutely right! And you're always brave to say what you really think which is 99% of the times spot-on.
"I really don't have any complaint about the staff or moderation over there".
In the comments section of the Alan Wake Remastered review some comments have been erased and tagged as "harassment". I had read them before they were erased and they were just criticising the review. No comments. Pun intended. Sad. Censorship. We Happy Few.
@BlueOcean That really is questionable regarding the moderating if it's as you say. I haven't observed that so much there, but I've seen that sort of censoring at NL... But, usually in more political stories (which shouldn't even be there, that's just tabloid content). Although the forum software that shows posts as deleted I think it's new, so before they'd just vanish without a trace. This is slightly more transparent now, but, yeah, I'd be curious how many valid criticisms that weren't being obnoxious went missing.
I doubt there was much anti xb bias in the review through. Past association aside, it's an old remedy game published by Epic. It's on odd review though it's not one of the primary staff reviewing, either. I liken it more to the infamous Kotaku Xenoblade 2 review.
Can you start the DLC without playing the main game?
Hello from the other side (Push Square). I came here specifically for this review to see a different opinion. Having owned an Xbox360 and since moving over to PS5, I have fond memories of Alan Wake and it's add-ons. I can't wait to play again. What some find a chore, others find engaging. We all have different opinions and that's fine. Sometimes Push Square don't always get the reviews right for everyone, even with the Sony exclusives. Check out the comment section there for their review of Kena: Bridge of Spirits, for example.
PS, I would love a Series X alongside my PS5.
@BlueOcean Err... You responded to my comment to start the conversation and @'ed me on both replies. Why do that if you didn't want a response?
Yes I disagree with your viewpoint often, that's fine we're adults, but if you don't want a conversation why @ me to start and then reply to my posts repeatedly?
Can't have it both ways.
@BlueOcean honestly I find the comments section here more toxic but that might just be due to number of posts. A couple of toxic ones on push square can get lost in threads more because of the number of posts. Here they jump out. It differs topic to topic.
@Akimi I wonder the same. Everyone loves the dbz budokai (tenkaichi) games right? Maybe that will suffice as an answer.
I also agree on the Witcher part, only ever got 20 hours in but the combat was the least of my worries, and I loved the uncharted games which I didn't play until 2018-2020, I even played the 2nd throuw psnow with crazy input lag and it was okay.
@Stocksy Yes, it's like Nintendo Life, who reads 300+ comments?
@NEStalgia That Kotaku review! But Eurogamer's review of Maiden of Black Water was even worse, an insult to the gaming industry.
@BlueOcean I didn't think it could get worse than the Kotaku one. I'll have to find the Eurogamer one for some humor.
@NEStalgia Just realise it is a girl reviewing a game that she thinks that it is not representing girls properly. She gave it the "Avoid" tag which is very unusual on Eurogamer. Then again, Eurogamer has become a depressing politics site except for the Digital Foundry wing.
@BlueOcean Ohh...a political view from a western outlet on Japanese content.... Say no more...
I'd argue DF is political in a different way
@NEStalgia Gaming site Eurogamer has degenerated into an ideology pamphlet, not sure about other gaming sites because that's the one I used to visit in the beginning but probably more are the same now. Not worth my time because I want them to respect my hobby and not tell me what I should think about certain content.
@BlueOcean I think everything media has become that way, unfortunately. Not sure if it's just media being an echobox or of it's the hyper political gen-z moving into media that's doing it, but yeah, it certainly makes most things unpleasant to try reading these days. You don't expect that in hobby publications...
@NEStalgia Most of the staff is older than me (they have pictures of them). It's probably that the hypocritical self entitlement fad has reached them so now everyone judges everyone and everyone thinks their point of view is the only valid one.
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