Alan Wake 2 looks more like a Resident Evil game and that's just fine

Alan Wake 2 is being touted as Remedy's first survival horror game and the long-awaited sequel looks to fit that genre like a glove.

Epic Games

Back in 2010, Remedy Entertainment first released Alan Wake. It was the story of a writer out to solve the mystery of his wife's disappearance and the strange occurrences at Bright Falls. More than that, it followed Alan as he found himself dragged into events from one of his books that he doesn't remember writing. The game was classified as an action-adventure game with a story that made it part-thriller, part-mystery, and part-horror. The sequel, simply titled Alan Wake 2, is finally on its way and Remedy has opted to take it in a different direction.

As noted at this year's Summer Game Fest and by Creative Director Sam Lake, the original Alan Wake carried a vibe similar to shows like Twin Peaks and a horror atmosphere similar to Stephen King's library of books. Alan Wake 2, however, will look to be something slightly different. Remedy is calling this the studio's first true survival horror game. Shacknews walked into a hands-off theater demo wondering if the series had suddenly turned into Resident Evil. By the end, we were convinced that this new game had gone in a more RE-like direction, but given the higher quality of recent Resident Evil titles, that could be a good thing.

Cauldron Lake in Alan Wake 2

Source: Epic Games

The demo followed the story of series newcomer Saga Anderson. An FBI agent with an impeccable record, Saga comes to Bright Falls with her partner, Alex Casey, as they investigate the murder of their former colleague Robert Nightingale. Saga's portion of the story plays out like something similar to The X-Files, where the unexplainable is afoot. Saga and Alex find clues that point to Nightingale somehow coming back to life. Players will find manuscript pages, which will be accompanied by voiceovers from Alan Wake, who can faintly be seen writing out these pages at his typewriter.

As Saga finds clues, it opens up one of the game's new mechanics: the Mind Place. This is where players can explore the inner portions of Saga's mind, where she has placed a case board with all of the various leads she has discovered. This is where players can connect different pieces of evidence, deduce solutions based on what they've found, and determine where to go next. Depending on what players have pieced together, they can unlock new mission objectives.

Saga Anderson's Mind Place in Alan Wake 2

Source: Epic Games

Where Alan Wake 2 starts to veer more into Resident Evil territory is with its new survival horror elements. As Saga gets closer to her objectives, she'll hear haunting voiceovers and see flashing images of Nightingale. This will act as a precursor to attacks from enemies called the Taken, which are members of a group known as the Cult of the Tree that have been consumed by the Darkness. As was the case in the original Alan Wake, enemies are weakened by the light, and shining Saga's flashlight upon these foes will weaken them. However, like many survival horror games, Saga will have limited ammunition and must make the most of her shots. If players survive these encounters, they can find a Thermos in different parts of the world, which will act as save points.

Alan Wake 2's gameplay looks noticeably different from its predecessor, but the pieces all look to come together so well that it might turn out to be for the best. If Alan Wake 2 is a Resident Evil homage, it's shaping up to be a good one. It helps that the story becomes increasingly compelling. The demo ended with Saga discovering Alan and expressing shock at finding him since Alan had been missing for ten years.

There's much more to Alan Wake 2 that we were not able to check out. It should be noted that Saga and Alan each have playable campaigns. Saga's story will see her trying to solve the mystery of what's happening in Bright Falls while Alan is frantically rewriting his reality in order to escape the depths of the Dark Place. Regardless of which story is prioritized, players can switch back and forth as they please until both narratives come together to create a whole story.

While Alan Wake 2 appears to play differently from its predecessor, it still looks like it's in line to be one of Remedy's best efforts ever. We're eager to watch Alan and Saga's stories unfold when Alan Wake 2 releases on PC (exclusively via the Epic Games Store), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S on October 17.

This preview is based on a hands-off demo from Summer Game Fest and may not be representative of the final product. The demo was played live off of a PlayStation 5 build by representatives from Remedy Entertainment. Drinks and snacks were provided by Summer Game Fest.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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