Alan Wake Remastered review

Alan Wake Remastered Review – Moonbeams on the Brain (PS5)

One of my absolute favourite games from the Xbox 360 era has finally come to PlayStation and I cannot recommend this game enough. Alan Wake Remastered is an oldie but a goodie if ever there was one. This suspense/horror game innovated the genre with light-based weaponry and wove its way into future Remedy projects like Quantum Break and Control. Curious to see how I think the experience holds up over a decade after its initial release? Hopefully this review convinces you that this twisted journey is well worth your time.

Alan Wake Remastered Review – Word Crimes

Burnt out and suffering from a major case of writer’s block, mystery-novelist Alan Wake and his wife Alice take a vacation to the small, idyllic town of Bright Falls. The town is well-known for being a fabulous place for creative types. And there’s always the famous psychologist Dr. Hartman in town if perhaps that pesky block doesn’t clear up. Something’s not sitting right with Alan. Even on the ferry entering town he’s got a strange feeling about the place.

Things take a very dark turn when Alan picks up keys to their vacation cottage from a creepy old woman at the diner. Alice is unceremoniously ripped away from him by the sinister Dark Presence and pulled into the deep waters of Cauldron Lake. He dives in after her but at a cost. Alan comes to inside his car unsure of how he got there. With the help of a mysterious voice, manuscript pages he has no recollection of writing, and a handful of allies, Alan is on a quest to save Alice no matter the cost.

Alan Wake Remastered review
Lighting up the room

The episodic approach to telling Alan’s story makes playing through this tale akin to watching a great limited series experience. Alan Wake Remastered includes both DLC episodes in addition to the six core chapters. I personally find it immensely satisfying to hit that end of episode song and know that yes, I did just outrun a half dozen Taken in that last excursion with only a few rounds of revolver ammo and no illuminating weapons to speak of. That bit of a breather instills a sense of accomplishment and lets me mentally prepare for what’s next.

Fans of the suspense and horror genres will note a lot of nods to some classics. Twin Peaks is well represented here. Copious amounts of coffee, the diner, the town’s own version of the Log Lady. Pay attention to the TVs Alan comes across during his stay, and be sure to turn them on. Night Springs is this universe’s take on The Twilight Zone. Some say Bright Falls was the inspiration for the program. Either way, Alan has a connection to it. I don’t want to ruin all the fun for you. Just keep an eye open for fun Easter eggs when and where you can.

Alan Wake Remastered review
Scan those QR codes!

Long gone are the product placements that those of us who played Alan Wake the first time around recall. Instead of every battery pack promoting Energizer or those giant Verizon billboards, batteries are simply batteries and advertisements are local to the town. It’s a welcome change, as is the addition of the QR codes not included in the original Xbox 360 release. Scanning these codes takes you to private YouTube links, each one starring Alan and his typewriter. These replace older QR codes from the PC release which featured outbound links and some other references.

Alan Wake Remastered Review – Be Afraid of the Dark

The Dark Presence taunting Alan infects the locals. Wispy black smoke wafts from those touched by the darkness. These Taken are tough; in order to do any sort of damage to them Alan needs to use light. To this day, Alan Wake’s use of light as a weapon is my absolute favorite game mechanic. By targeting the Taken with Alan’s flashlight he can weaken them to the point where plugging a few shots into them will take them down. This is also true of possessed objects; put the spotlight on them and eventually said items will poof into the night. Flares and streetlights are great ways to keep Alan safe if he’s being attacked by a mob. Flares burn out after a while but should last long enough to take out one or two attackers. Streetlights tend to be checkpoints and restore Alan’s health.

Alan Wake Remastered review
Alan Wake, forest mechanic

If you’re looking for boomsticks, Alan will come across a few different types. Revolvers are fairly common as is ammunition for it. A couple shots from the pistol will KO the weaker Taken. The larger lumberjack types are best handled with shotguns or hunting rifles. Since this is a hunting town these show up from time to time. Flashbang grenades also make an appearance. They aren’t super abundant; if you’re dealing with waves of Taken, these could be the answer you’re looking for. But nothing beats the pure rush of adrenaline I get when a perfect shot from my flare gun lights up the night sky and nails one of those Taken dead-on, with collateral damage along the way.

Unfortunately, there is one major issue I ran into later in the game. On my way to the top of the dam, there’s a segment with a giant spotlight which you need to use to help cull some of the Taken. I’d hit a checkpoint here and decided to go back and resume from here when I could come back to the game. When I booted up from here I was greeted with missing… everything. The only assets that loaded were some distant mountains. OK, I said to myself, I just need to move the camera and that’ll fix it. But it didn’t. Now the game was cutting in and out and it was impossible to do anything since Alan, the floodlight, and the Taken would sporadically all vanish. My next thought was to switch PS5s; perhaps the second system wouldn’t have the same problem, but it did. I’m now thinking I need to wait for a patch in order to continue.

Alan Wake Remastered review
Where did you go, Mr. Wake?

Up until that bizarre glitch, enjoying Alan Wake Remastered was like the best kind of deja vu. Muscle memory steered me toward the hidden caches, triggered reminders to backtrack just a little here and there or look around that corner for collectibles. Alan’s somewhat stiff voice, the ancient rockers, Barry—all of these things, campy as they were, welcomed me home. Those cold waters of Cauldron Lake sure are impossible to escape.

Alan Wake Remastered review code provided by publisher. Version 1.000.003 reviewed on PlayStation 5. For more information, please see our Review Policy.

  • Character models and buildings are worlds better than the original
  • Out of place product placement ads have been removed
  • Driving is still loose and the auto-adjust on the driving camera is frustrating
  • Alan still "slides" a little when you stop moving him to interact with an object
  • Some objects flicker on screen