who was used to Max Payne, Remedy Entertainment’s best-known franchise, definitely felt a big difference when the company launched Alan Wake on Xbox 360 in 2010. Focused much more on a plot narrated by its protagonist as if it were a book, the game was a very positive surprise at a time when many other games were so focused on action sequences. After so many years of being praised and recommended by its fans, the game finally received a new version for platforms outside the Xbox and PC.
Alan Wake Remastered marks its arrival on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC (through Epic Games) in October 2021, a perfect month for those who love horror-inspired content and suspense, as this title has always been the case . But of course there’s always that question of whether a remastering of a game that’s not even that old is worth it or whether visual changes are enough to mask mechanics that may have been dated in the last two generations.
The good news is that you can find out about all this and a little bit more about Alan Wake Remastered in our review here on Voxel!
A remaster towards the light
It’s always kind of weird to talk about remasters of games that were released at the time of the PS3 and Xbox 360, after all, these are titles that weren’t released that long ago and that still have a lot of familiarity with the games released today. Overall, we see more noticeable differences in body or facial animations, voice acting or even some mechanics that were left behind a few years ago.
Only when it comes to resolution, textures or models of characters and objects, it can be easy to think that the remaster hasn’t changed that much from the original. At least until you see a comparison of the two versions of the game running side by side, of course. With Alan Wake Remastered, that happens too, especially for someone like me who hasn’t played the title since 2012.
The remastering turned out great, but the game still makes its age evidentSource: Remedy Entertainment/Disclosure
Fortunately, it only took a few minutes to revisit the old version to see that Remedy really did a great job of modernizing Alan Wake. Now you can play it even in 4K resolution, but it’s worth noting that in all other respects, it still feels totally like a game from the past decade. That’s not exactly a downside, not least because it would be really weird for a remaster to change the base mechanics of a game, but it’s always good to keep in mind that you’ll probably come across elements you haven’t seen in a few years.
In a way, it even caused a kind of nostalgia that I didn’t expect, even because we don’t see so many games in the mold of Alan Wake currently. Among the gems of the PS3 and Xbox 360 era that we can find in this game are the huge on-screen indications of what to do next, having to press the analog stick to focus on a target point, having to press buttons at precise times, defend enemy locations for a certain period of time and hundreds of collectibles scattered across the scene.
The city of Bright Falls has some not-so-pleasant secrets for Alan and his wifeSource: Remedy Entertainment/Disclosure
And we’re not exaggerating: If you get carried away, you’ll spend a lot of time looking for thermos bottles, televisions and radios that can be turned on, piles of cans that can be knocked over, pages of Alan’s manuscript, and much more. This kind of thing was quite common a few years ago, even to extend the game a bit and make players explore the map more. So, there was that feeling of homesickness as my brain clamored for me to look every corner of every place to find another collectible, even though I knew I had probably already lost several along the way.
You can tell that’s the general feeling with Alan Wake Remastered, as many more dated aspects of him bring a kind of smirk to his face rather than a feeling of frustration. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have its downsides, as improving the visuals isn’t enough to fix flaws that existed in the original game.
unafraid of the dark
Before talking about such flaws, it’s worth mentioning (especially for those who don’t remember much of the plot or for those who haven’t played the title until today) that it all starts when writer Alan Wake takes a vacation with his wife Alice in the city of Bright Falls , trying to forget the creative block that has been suffering for the past two years. Unfortunately, Alice is kidnapped and Alan finds himself trapped in a mix of reality and what appears to be a nightmare in which the fiction of his writing comes to life in the shadows and darkness.
That’s where the game’s main mechanics come to life, as enemies have a kind of shield of shadows that can only be removed with light sources. Therefore, your lantern becomes your greatest ally in these battles, being able to remove the darkness and leaving the monsters known as “Taken” vulnerable to your firearms. Other than that, you can always run towards the light, whether from a pole or shelter, especially as you can heal and fend off enemies by getting under these fountains.
The characters are very interesting, so be sure to listen to the dialogueSource: Remedy Entertainment/Disclosure
This is where the first complaints come in, which already existed when the game was released in 2010. First, it is necessary to mention that even with excellent inspirations and references to the works of Stephen King, David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Rod Serling, the plot falls into certain suspense and horror clichés at various times. This becomes even more evident these days, as so many games have very sophisticated narratives these days.
Still, it can’t be said that the game’s episodic format isn’t interesting and captivating. In the end, it turns out to be like watching that favorite TV series of yours that you know is kind of predictable, but you still love it. The characters you meet around town also have their charm, which makes you want to hear all the dialogue instead of just ignoring everyone.
The other downside that you’re really going to feel a lot more is a mix of combat and camera control. The fights themselves get pretty repetitive after a while, as you’ll just be pointing the flashlight and shooting all the time against some variations of the Taken. That’s something you can forgive when you remember that combat isn’t exactly the focus of the game, but that element is actually made worse by the fact that the camera gets in your way more than it helps in these situations. It’s often in a bad position and even when you try to fix it, you’ll probably have a tree or bush in front of you, making sure you get hit without even knowing what happened.
It’s really fun to explore the dark scenes with Alan and his flashlight.Source: Remedy Entertainment/Disclosure
Unfortunately, this factor and the repetitive part we mentioned makes you want to get through the combat parts as quickly as possible, getting back to the plot as soon as possible. Already in those moments, you’ll notice other factors that have become an issue just now, like more rigid animations, sharp cuts between gameplay and cutscenes, and even the way Alan moves when you control him.
These are very small aspects that won’t detract from the quality of the game itself, but it’s what will constantly remind you that you’re playing something older and possibly take you out of the immersion of the story every now and then.
a light at the end of the tunnel
In the end, what I can say is that after more than 15 hours with Alan Wake Remastered, which was the time it took me to go through the main story and the two DLCs that come with the base game, it’s hard not to recommend it to other players interested in a title that mixes suspense, exploration and a little bit of action.
Alan Wake Remastered is great for both longtime fans and those who have never had the opportunity to play itSource: Remedy Entertainment/Disclosure
Costing just over R$56 on PC and R$99 on consoles, there’s no denying that this is an excellent price for this remaster. Even though there are a few problems here and there, the fact is that this game is still very fun and even charming in a way. If you’re one of the old fans of the original or someone who’s always wanted to try the game, you can’t leave the opportunity to play Alan Wake Remastered pass, even more so with so many rumors that a sequel was to come. Just don’t forget to stock your inventory with batteries for your flashlight and always head towards the light.
Nota do Voxel: 85
- The remaster did a great job of modernizing the game’s look.
- Despite the clichéd story, the characters are quite endearing
- There are excellent references to masterpieces of horror and suspense
- It’s a great opportunity for those who have never played the title before.
- The price is great, especially for PC gamers.
- Combat becomes repetitive after some time
- The camera is more of a hindrance than a help at certain times
- The game has some dated mechanics that may annoy new players.
Alan Wake Remastered has been kindly provided by Epic Games to carry out this review.