Alan Wake Remastered Sheds New Light on Old Friend
Where a lot of remasters are simple nostalgia games – or crude cash grabbers – Alan Wake feels like a job of spitting and polishing that almost had to happen.
With Control’s second expansion, AWE, came the revelation of the Remedy Connected Universe – think of the MCU with quirky Finnish humor. And with that came a reason for Remedy to drag their 2010 survival horror into the modern generation: Alan Wake is now a key chapter in a larger storytelling project, so it makes sense that it was easily accessible to everyone. . It’s also an opportunity to push an already flashy game a little harder, using modern console juice.
In a new commentary for the game, Creative Director Sam Lake is keen to point out that this is a remaster, not a remake. It sounds slightly defensive when he says it, like he’s setting modest expectations. In fact, there is no need for it. An increase in resolution, frame rate, and a few lighting tweaks is enough for this beautiful game to hold its own in 2021. You might have hoped for HDR or ray tracing, given that the gameplay focuses on light and dark, but it shows up on the screen without any of that.
He certainly benefits from the fact that much of the game is shrouded in an inky night. Remasters often stumble by applying 4K scrutiny to worlds where blurry resolutions could hide a multitude of sins. Alan Wake’s dark parts look sensationally good, with his torch beam slicing through the shadows with such definition you’d be forgiven for thinking he was using HDR. Although in harsh daylight and on a level in the more crowded town of Bright Falls, this sharper geometry shows its age a bit more.
The increased frame rate (on newer consoles, at least) really freezes with action that’s often more stylish than substantial. Alan Wake’s main loop shines a torch at Shadow Monsters to weaken them, then shatters them into shimmering shards with a bullet. It’s pretty monotonous, but damn it is it pretty: sparkling sparks of light, bursts of slow motion as enemies explode like fireworks, 360-degree camera rotation as a rocket lights everything up. a gang… what could fall on Xbox 360 is magnificent here.
Where many remasters go to great lengths just to make the game look like “how you remember it” – the curse of the rose-tinted glasses – Alan Wake looks tangibly modern. If you played this as part of a larger remedy replay of Remedy, it wouldn’t look or look a lot like lowering Control in a lot of places.
It’s not perfect, however. As mentioned, the daytime story interludes show their age with more sparse buildings and a few dead-eyed character models. A bigger issue is that the playable action now feels so smooth that the cutscenes look worse in comparison. Suddenly watching the action at a lower frame rate and less clarity is quite shocking. It’s such a shame as the character models and lip sync are improved, but the overall effect is disappointing.
“Alan Wake looks decidedly modern. If you played this as part of a larger replay of Remedy, it wouldn’t look or look a lot like lowering Control in a lot of places.
You might also want a better solution for developer commentary than autoplay clips. The game has two tracks – a breakdown of the original Collector’s Edition design and Sam Lake’s new VO that delves into his writing process and Wake’s role in the Remedy universe. But many trigger in busy scenes, letting the analysis fight against in-game dialogue or, worse, distract you from the combat you find yourself in. It’s a surprisingly clunky execution of an otherwise tasty supplement.
Of course, this level of designer knowledge is aimed at fans of Alan Wake. Newbies who come to this new film discover an unusual take on survival horror, a film that is as much an interactive film as it is scary. In 2010, that hybrid storytelling probably seemed more state-of-the-art. Now, in an era where even Kratos takes a break for slow, chatty tracks, Alan Wake’s more televisual beat seems like a picturesque foreshadowing of things to come.
Which fits in nicely with one of the best tricks in the game: that Alan Wake, a writer, is (maybe) trapped in a story of his own making, meaning he’s constantly uncovering handwritten pages that make cryptically alludes to upcoming plot events (or offer insight into events you’ve witnessed). It’s written like a Stephen King pastiche, but that extra layer of luscious quirk means Alan Wake still has a distinct voice. Other games may have borrowed its narrative tricks, but few have so much fun with it.
As mentioned, the action is flashy though a note. The limited enemy and weapon types mean you quickly learn to rely on certain tactics, and the fact that many fights take place in swirling shadow storms means they visually blur. The game also has an unfortunate habit of stripping Alan of his torch and arsenal and forcing him to gradually collect them over the course of a level, making his journey feel like a slowing down rather than a curve of progress. satisfying power from start to finish.
Remedy makes up for this shortcoming with a story that takes you between varied locations and regularly pairs Alan with a fun cast of NPC allies. There’s a particularly loud scene involving a farm, with a possessed combine and a seat amid the pyrotechnics of a rock concert. This marks the turning point of a campaign that gets a lot dumber and more enjoyable as it goes. Prepare Alan in the home stretch and the problems disappear as easily as the shadow monsters.
There are other irregularities here – the game’s open world origins are still felt in some swollen landscapes doing nothing other than traversing them to move to the next linear level – but these are quirks best addressed in one. sequel rather than huge traps that derail this adventure. Alan Wake is basically an entertaining journey through a hokey thriller that has proven to have great sticky power and, thanks to RCU, a key role to play in their future games.
Where you land on the remaster and whether to justify a purchase depends on your background with the game. At the top of the pile are the PlayStation owners, who first learn about the hazy mystery of Alan and in a very shiny form to boot. They are followed by Xbox Series S / X gamers who can see what the 2010 version should really have looked like. But for PC owners, there isn’t a big leap from what’s already available on Steam. for half the price.
Alan Wake Remastered will mean different things to different people. A beautiful revisit of the jewel of pulp horror. A late discovery of a game freed from exclusivity. Or maybe the missing piece of a vast multi-franchise storytelling puzzle. Above all, there is a lot of entertainment in all of them. This is clearly not the last we’ll see from Alan Wake, so what better time to get to know each other again?