Like a flashlight flickering to life from a freshly inserted set of Energizers, Alan Wake Remastered takes the 11-yr-previous survival horror shooter and presents it in its most radiant type. Yet whereas the main points in its moody environments at the moment are far simpler to make out, its gameplay shortcomings are introduced in equally stark reduction. Alan Wake Remastered’s twisted model of psychological torture by torchlight nonetheless makes for a supremely tense journey via the woods, however as a shooter it’s caught up to now in comparison with extra trendy video games – together with developer Remedy’s personal Control.
If you missed it the primary time round, Alan Wake Remastered’s story stays a novel one in each sense of the phrase. When crime fiction creator Wake’s spouse goes lacking in a small city, the one clues to her whereabouts are the unfastened excerpts from a ebook he has no reminiscence of writing. The particulars described on this breadcrumb path of manuscript pages manifest themselves into the following occasions, making for a constantly enthralling journey down a descent into insanity wherein Wake is armed solely with a small arsenal of weapons and a battery-powered torch to maintain the darkness-cloaked townsfolk at bay. It’s a pulpy, Stephen King-style thriller considered via the dreamlike lens of David Lynch, and it’s each bit as gripping and surreal as that pairing of influences would recommend.
Make no mistake, this rerelease may be very a lot a remaster versus a full remake; its graphics might have been overhauled to an considerable extent however gameplay stays unchanged. It appears to be like pinsharp at 4K and runs at a fluid 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 5, and the marginally shoddy cutscenes from the 2010 authentic have been given a welcome new lick of paint. Even so, Alan Wake Remastered stays a good method behind the large-funds visible requirements which have grow to be the norm in 2021. Perhaps to finest illustrate this, after my first 10 minutes with the PS5 model I needed to pause it and double examine that I hadn’t downloaded the PS4 model accidentally.
Still, the gloomy setting of Bright Falls has definitely by no means appeared higher, with jagged edges straightened out by anti-aliasing, textures extra clearly outlined proper right down to the woolen weave of Wake’s coat, and the neon indicators within the native diner popping with a extra realistically vibrant glow. Unfortunately, the character animations seemingly haven’t acquired related consideration within the remastering course of, making their stiff actions appear as picket because the western pines that encompass the small city.
Alan Wake Remastered Trailer — PlayStation Showcase 2021
Otherwise, Alan Wake Remastered performs in the very same method as the unique did, and in some respects I love the streamlined nature of the survival-horror taking pictures at its core. Ammo and batteries can definitely be scarce at occasions however for essentially the most half there’s no need for any difficult stock juggling, and there aren’t any crafting techniques to fuss with or ability timber to flesh out like so many shooters launched lately. Aside maybe from the collectible espresso thermoses, nothing you decide up feels superfluous; each flare is valuable for purchasing a little bit of respiratory room once you’re surrounded, and every searching rifle bullet is finest stored in your again pocket for when one of many extra brutish Bright Falls locals assaults.
Of course, the draw back to such simplicity is that there’s not a substantial amount of depth. By the story’s midpoint you’ve had your arms on all of the weapons you’re ever going to get entry to, and every shadowy enemy ambush begins to really feel largely indistinguishable from the subsequent, inflicting Alan Wake Remastered’s second half to grow to be more and more mired in repetition. Remedy would later go on to, properly, treatment this problem with the superb Control in 2019, which advanced its fight over the course of its length by way of a remodeling gun and increasing set of superpowers, however that simply makes Alan Wake’s one-word motion appear much more antiquated looking back.
While I wouldn’t anticipate an enormous shake as much as the fight system in what’s in any other case a purely superficial remaster, enjoying Alan Wake Remastered did make me want for no less than some gentle enhancements to its interface. An on-display screen stamina indicator for Wake’s dash capability would have been a plus, since judging how far you’ll be able to run with out him fatiguing appears like complete guesswork. Similarly, you’re probably not given a lot indication of incoming assaults from offscreen. While the dodge button is extraordinarily efficient anytime you see an axe spinning in the direction of you, I discovered myself routinely copping a shovel to the again of the top with no time to anticipate and react to the blow. Minor HUD adjustments similar to these would have gone a great distance in the direction of mitigating the occasional frustration I felt this time round.
Two bonus episodes that have been initially paid DLC, The Signal and The Writer, are additionally included with Alan Wake Remastered, and so they come full with the identical stage of visible polish. Having left out them the primary time round I used to be delighted to find how they develop on the reworking-phrases-into-objects mechanic that’s solely briefly used on the finish of the primary marketing campaign; nevertheless, having replayed your entire story and its two epilogue episodes I nonetheless haven’t any actual concept what the which means is behind all of it.
That creative imaginative and prescient might stay deliberately ambiguous, however no less than it’s not compromised, for the reason that a lot-maligned product placement from the unique model is now gone. Packets of Energizer batteries have been substituted by a generic off-model substitute, and obtrusive Verizon commercials not play on in-recreation televisions – making for presumably the primary time in historical past that Verizon dropping out in a distant a part of America can truly be thought of a very good factor.
Outside of the brand new commentary observe, the one little bit of really new content material on this remaster is the QR codes which are hidden all through the atmosphere. They’re arguably simply as conspicuous because the now-absent in-recreation advertisements, however no less than they serve a helpful objective for followers: scanning them along with your actual-world cellphone takes you to some intriguing new movies that I received’t spoil right here.