Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Game Review: 'Alan Wake II'

A faithful sequel to the 2010 survival horror genre-defining original, "Alan Wake II" manages to shatter the high expectations in a detective thriller opus that will no doubt be a contender for 2023 Game of the Year.

Building on the momentum of 2021's "Alan Wake Remastered," which whet the public's appetite by reintroducing gamers to the classic, Remedy Entertainment delves deep into its bag of tricks to deliver an experience that works as a horror narrative, detective yarn and thoughtful exploration of the narrative process.

Ambitious nearly to the point of fault, "Alan Wake II" manages to tackle a dizzying variety of gameplay aspects, managing to blend them into a whirlwind of dazzling creativity, nonstop chills and moments of overwhelming suspense. 

What carries the game throughout is airtight writing. Nuanced dialogue, intriguing twists and ample blotches of dark humor pace the outing, ratcheting up the psychological horror to wild heights.

You make your way through parallel stories as tortured novelist Alan Wake and FBI sleuth Saga Anderson. You fend off creepy enemies through use of an unreliable flashlight, but combat is never at the forefront. As is the case with the most gripping of horror games, you find more thrills not in putting the beatdown on enemies, but from surviving seemingly impossible cat-and-mouse games to survive the dark night.

A compelling and replayable experience, "Alan Wake II" is packed with moments that tend to haunt you in between play sessions. The long wait for a sequel proved to be well worth it.

Publisher provided review code.

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