5 new things Alan Wake 2 brings to the table

Step into a world of the unknown (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)
Step into a world of the unknown (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)

Alan Wake 2 is a sequel that's here a decade after the original. Boasting cutting-edge graphics and a tsunami of hype behind it, this brand-new horror sequel has managed to impress players around the globe. But for newcomers, much of the excitement may be confusing. 2023 has been the year of survival horror, so what does Alan Wake 2 do differently?

That is a good question because, from new mechanics to overhauled design, developer Remedy Entertainment has ensured this successor exceeds expectations.


5 ways Alan Wake 2 is not a simple rehash

1) Dual protagonists

Two faces, two perspectives (Image via Epic Games Publishing)
Two faces, two perspectives (Image via Epic Games Publishing)

It is no secret that Alan Wake 2 is a story about two people. The titular novelist and the newcomer Saga Anderson, an FBI agent. The latter arrives in Bright Falls to investigate brutal murders performed by a cult but is eventually roped into a supernatural drama after encountering Mr. Wake in an alternate reality.

To put it simply, players will experience a brand-new horror story from both these characters' point-of-views. Explore Bright Falls and solve murders as Saga, while Alan tries to survive the Dark Place, a hostile dimension overseen by a malevolent entity.


2) The Mind Place

Process your thoughts (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)
Process your thoughts (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)

Alan Wake 2 is a very narrative-driven game, meaning players will have plenty of plot threads to keep track of. To partially aid with this, the game allows players to visit the Mind Place - a space within each protagonist's psyche that allows monitoring various elements central to gameplay.

Saga can check out a board where she will pin relevant clues acquired after gathering evidence after performing investigations in Bright Falls. Alan also has his own mind-space to dive back into where he can assign new plotlines to the overarching narrative he has been writing to escape the Dark Place, which can help alter the dimension in hopes of securing an exit.


3) Bigger sandbox environments

It should go without saying that the game is also a looker (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)
It should go without saying that the game is also a looker (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)

The first game was linear but still allowed players to go off the beaten path to look for collectibles. The same fundamentals are observed here but on a larger scale, thanks to modern graphics tech. Divided into distinct sandbox areas, players will explore maps packed with visual detail on every surface,

There are various collectibles to be found around the map, including item stashes, lore entries, and more. This also includes acquiring upgrades via Manuscript Fragments for Saga and Words of Power for Alan.

None of this is particularly novel or substantial for the genre, but it is a step forward for the franchise.


4) The Angel Lamp

Use this magical lamp to literally capture (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)
Use this magical lamp to literally capture (Screenshot via Alan Wake 2)

Alan gets a brand new mechanic in the form of the Angel Lamp. Acquired not long after stepping inside the Dark Place as the titular writer, this mysterious device will play a key role in his escape from the Dark Presence. It essentially allows carrying around light sources by sucking one off a location, then attaching it to another.

This doesn't just dispel the darkness to allow for progression through Taken-infested areas but also changes the surroundings. It is not unlike Control's interdimensional shenanigans.

Speaking of the 2019 Remedy-developed game, we arrive at the final point.


5) A more deliberate effort to tie together the Remedyverse

Do you recognize him? (Image via Alan Wake 2)
Do you recognize him? (Image via Alan Wake 2)

Remedy Entertainment has not shied away from expressing how interconnected its various games are, and the latest effort is no exception. In fact, this game does more to uplift the Remedyverse than any prior game from the Finnish studio. Players will see blatant references and mentions to terminology and, yes, even locales from past Remedy games.

As seen in the screenshot above, players will even meet Ahti in the Dark Place. He first appeared in Control and reprises his role as a janitor in Alan Wake 2 as well.

Not particularly surprising since Control did get the AWE DLC, centering around Alan Wake. Moving on, we can certainly expect these loose ends to get tied up with future installments.

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Edited by Anirudh Padmanabhan
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