In Alan Wake II, much more than just clue-gathering is taking place. Set in a world of disjointed realities, the game frequently seamlessly combines full-motion video with CGI, fitting both the narrative and the mechanical storytelling on display. The visual styles bleed into one another like opposing timelines vying for dominance.
Saga Anderson and Alan Wake are two playable characters who can each elude capture in their own minds and unravel the mysteries at hand. Saga, the stoic FBI agent, has a Mind Place where she can use her intuition to communicate with people’s subconscious selves and reveal their secrets. She can also profile people of interest by connecting pieces of evidence with red string attached to large, wood-paneled walls. The 13-year purgatory-dead author Alan has a Writer’s Room that literally changes reality when he adds new ideas to it. Throughout the game, players can switch between Saga and Alan as they try to solve the same case from different underworld sides.
Shadow people, the typical enemies in this universe, have infiltrated both of their environments. Light has an impact on the black silhouettes, which hiss Alan Wake’s name and glitch around the edges. While many of them vanish in the light of a flashlight, others turn into physical adversaries and charge at once, necessitating multiple gunshots or one powerful explosion to eliminate them. Lampposts and other well-lit areas can provide temporary comfort for Saga and Alan, but they frequently flicker out during intense combat.
This brings up my problem with Alan Wake II, a game I adored and heartily endorse. Please keep in mind that it’s possible to enjoy something while also discussing what it could have done better because I can still hear the enraged typing of people who wo n’t read a bad word about something they love. This entails taking down the weapons in Alan Wake II‘s case.
Underneath Alan Wake II, there is a delicious undercurrent of tension that is being fueled by ghastly rituals, shadowy passageways, and an ever-increasing wave of loss. As the characters ‘ situations worsen, a growing sense of unease permeates the entire narrative and erupts in jump-scary vignettes. The core of Alan Wake II‘s horror is mystery. Unfortunately, gunplay frequently breaks up the slow-burning narrative tension, replacing it with a harsher, different kind of anxiety that seems out of place in this survival horror story.
As the story unfolded, I would frequently be exploring a new area and mentally connecting the dots when suddenly it was time for an altercation. My train of thought would immediately change from a gloomy, inquisitive terror to one of pews, and I would start thinking about typical action-game things like dodging and landing headshots. It would take me a while to regain my rhythm after the altercation and remind myself of my search criteria, the issues I was facing, and the reality of the situation. Once more, there would be a buildup of fear and tension, followed by another gunfight.
The combat in Alan Wake II is fine, but it is n’t novel or helpful to the game’s plot. It is a pointless interruption. Intense detective work, horrifying setpieces, paranormal drama, reality-shifting mechanisms, secrets revealed in the light, two Sherlock-style mind palace iterations, small puzzles and grand mysteries, murderous demons are all featured in Alan Wake II, along with plenty of action that does n’t involve any guns.
Saga and Alan both use flashlights for the majority of the game because light is a weakness of shadow people. The shadow enemies are stunned by turning on the high beam, which occasionally exposes weak points in their chests. Ghosts are hurt by light, but they are not killed by it. You need bullets to slay the ghosts. This idea is absurd enough in my opinion, but there are also hilarious scenes where ghosts carry weapons. Additionally, some shadow people consume eight to twelve shots before passing out, making them true bullet sponges. In general, this is terrible, but in a horror game, frustration and bullet math take the place of dread. An encounter does n’t get any scarier if you shoot a ghost eight times instead of one.
Alan Wake II does n’t require guns because light can be used as a weapon. Saga and Alan both need to locate batteries hidden in their surroundings in order to keep resource-management fears alive because turning on the high beam already consumes a lot of battery power. There are times when a flashlight and flare gun work well together. In particular, they can provide quick one-two punches to common enemies, maintaining the attack’s panic while providing twitchy combat moments that do n’t detract from the overall atmosphere. Here, the light does the majority of the work while the gun serves as a backup. This makes much more sense in terms of game logic than a ghosts-and-guns strategy.
Alan Wake II’s reliance on guns and subsequent” first foray into the survival horror genre” by Remedy make it even more puzzling. I’m most interested in how Alan Wake II uses horror, whether it’s more of an action horror or a survival horror game. The gunplay merely obstructs things in this regard.
About two-thirds of the way through my playtime, I switched to story mode. The enemies were still terrifying, and the puzzles in the game remained difficult, so I did n’t feel cheated out of any tension or terror. Alan Wake II is grotesque, mind-blowing, and darkly soapy like The X-Files or Twin Peaks, with a touch of Outlast and Resident Evil 4. Remedy does weird stuff really well. I’m just curious as to what game we would have produced if the creators had n’t incorporated fundamental third-person shooter tropes ( feel free to save those for Control, Remedy; guns make sense in that game ).
Do you realize how every action film produced by a major studio these days resembles an altered Iron Man? The Marvel Cinematic Universe established the modern standard for high-budget action movies, and it seems like many other films are now attempting to emulate its tongue-in-cheek tone, epic scale of each battle, predictable narrative flow and climax, green-screen action scenes, cliffhangers, after-credits scenes. A similar phenomenon is taking place in high-budget mainstream games, where players appear to be trying to imitate a formula, such as gunplay with hordes of enemies that absorb bullets.
This needless restriction seems to have affected Alan Wake II‘s sense of storytelling and terror, which would have a negative impact on the game. I understand that since the mechanics of guns, ammunition, and inventory management are well-known and accepted in video games as a whole, including firearms combat in popular games is simple. Simply put, I do n’t believe Alan Wake II required it for success.