Xbox Series X/S Review: Alan Wake Remastered

Should you stay in the light once more?

In this cinematic action-thriller, troubled author Alan Wake embarks on a desperate search for his missing wife, Alice. Following her mysterious disappearance from the Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls, he discovers pages of a horror story he has supposedly written, but he has no memory of. Wake is soon forced to question his sanity, as page by page, the story comes true before his eyes: a hostile presence of supernatural darkness is taking over everyone it finds, turning them against him. He has no choice but to confront the forces of darkness armed only with his flashlight, a handgun and what remains of his shredded mind. His nightmarish journey to find answers to the mind-bending mystery he faces will lead him into the terrifying depths of the night.

I reviewed the original Alan Wake all the way back in 2010, which I considered one of the best horror games I have played in years. I’ve played a lot of horror games since then and while I’ve enjoyed each, none have had the impact that Remedy’s outing did. The dread of being chased in the woods, timing your dodges or avoiding inanimate objects flying at you, nothing has come close in my opinion.

I loved Remedy’s Control which later added an Alan Wake chapter, essentially creating a Remedy-verse and fuelling theories that we hadn’t seen the last of Alan Wake. Now we finally get a 4K/60FPS remaster for a new audience that comes with the two DLC expansions, so I can only assume that the rumours about more Alan Wake games in development must have some truth to them, I certainly hope so anyway…

The remastered version improves visuals and lighting effects, character models and animations while staying true to the gameplay of the original. You still have to flash your light at enemies before shooting them or you can use flares and flashbangs to take out tougher enemies or large groups of Taken. It can be a tough game even on the easiest difficulty if you are ambushed by a large group and mess up the cinematic dodge move by tapping LB at the right time. It was brutal in 2010 and it still is, but it’s definitely rewarding when you take out a whole bunch without a scratch.

The original game had plenty of collectibles to nab like manuscript pages and coffee thermoses, and alas they are back in full force here. It’s easy enough to keep track of what pages you are missing, but the thermoses and chests are another story which will probably require a replay and a guide if you want to gather them all. Some of them are hidden in the most obscure places that you’d never go looking, so be prepared to go off the trail if you want to get all the achievements.

The Verdict

Alan Wake Remastered brings the 2010 classic to a new audience with improved visuals and performance, while maintaining all the original content and gameplay. It was a classic then and it still is now. I only hope this is the start of a comeback for Alan Wake…

Score: 9.0