Alan Wake Remastered review – Shining new light on a cult classic
It’s been more than a decade since Alan Wake’s nightmares first came to life in Bright Falls, but with a modern graphical overhaul and improved performance across the board, Remedy Entertainment’s cult classic now shines brighter than ever before.
With a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other, Alan Wake launched in 2010 as one of the more original third-person titles on the market. Its innovative game design and unique episodic structure left a memorable impression on those who played it, serving as one of the best horror experiences of the Xbox 360 era.
11 years on and Alan Wake Remastered breathes new life into the expertly crafted mystery, and what an exceptional thriller back then becomes a must-play now.
At a low price point to boot, there’s never been a better opportunity for Alan Wake’s living nightmare to captivate a new audience.
Alan Wake Remastered – Key details
- Price: $30.95 (AUD) | $29.99 (USD) | £24.99 (GBP)
- Developer: Remedy Entertainment | d3t Ltd
- Release date: October 5, 2021
- Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, & PC
Alan Wake Remastered trailer
Like a damn fine cup of coffee
From the opening cutscene to the first steps in Mr. Wake’s newly polished shoes, the visual upgrade becomes abundantly clear. Bright Falls and its many eccentric inhabitants have never looked better.
Not only does the remaster improve textures across the board and provide a 4K at 60FPS facelift (on the latest hardware), but perhaps most notably, character models have also been reworked to match contemporary standards. From Alan Wake himself to each obscure figure he encounters, richly detailed character design helps a great deal in modernizing the title.
While the original release had its fair share of janky lip-sync issues and awkward facial expressions, the remaster cleans everything up. Cutscenes have received a massive overhaul in particular, with sharper details conveying each frightening revelation that much better than before. The technical leap helps the title feel like one that was developed and released this generation, not one from more than a decade ago.
Although ray tracing technology hasn’t been employed here, and justifiably so, lighting has still seen a noticeable improvement nonetheless. With the use of light a core pillar supporting Alan Wake’s gameplay systems, these upgrades are extremely welcome and their impact is felt throughout every combat sequence.
Whether you’re lining up a simple headshot on a staggered foe or launching a devastating flare through a crowd of haunting figures, watching light scatter across a dark forest never gets old.
With that said, visuals throughout the remaster won’t blow you away by any means. This is a remaster and not a remake, after all. Don’t go in expecting a Demon Souls level overhaul, but compared to Alan Wake’s original form, the difference truly is night and day, making this the absolute best way to experience the classic story.
- Read more: Death Stranding Director’s Cut review
It’s a considerable step forward in every regard, as Remedy’s enthralling horror game looks and plays significantly better than it ever has before.
While better visuals and smoother performance are both certainly welcome, it would all be for naught if the game itself didn’t hold up this far removed from its initial release. Fortunately, Alan Wake’s gameplay is still just as intense as ever.
Rather than blitzing through the woods as a cliche action hero, Alan Wake offers a much more tactical experience. Shrouded in darkness, enemies can only be taken out once light pierces through their protective layer. With scarce supplies in each area, this makes every bullet just as valuable as every battery you find for your trusty flashlight.
- Read More: Deathloop review
There are no drastic gameplay tweaks to be found in the remaster and that’s a great thing. The original combat cycle is still more than enough to give you sweaty palms and that intensity reaches a new level in the franchise’s PlayStation debut, thanks to the Dualsense.
Thanks to the controller’s adaptive triggers, not only does each round pack more of a punch, but the flashlight also has some added depth to it.
Lightly holding down the trigger sees Alan Wake point his flashlight at nearby targets. Pushing the trigger down more intently, however, sees the flashlight cast its beam at full force, rapidly draining the battery but wiping away any darkness in an instant. It’s an excellent addition that keeps you in the moment and far more cognizant of your remaining supplies.
Structured in an episodic fashion, every chapter has near-perfect pacing, providing a great blend of high-intensity combat with moments of solitude. All of which builds towards a series of climactic endings that have you spamming the ‘X’ button to continue the story and see what happens next, no different from your favorite Netflix binge. Each episode flows together seamlessly just as it did before, letting you soak in the shocking moments all while an incredible soundtrack punctuates every twist and turn.
The Remaster is well worth your time if you’re yet to shine a light in the darkness, but even if you’ve played the original a handful of times, there’s still good reason to revisit Bright Falls once again.
Remedy has cleverly scattered a few new secrets in the classic experience that any diehard fan won’t want to miss.
Alan Wake was a brilliant horror game back in 2010. 11 years on and the remaster only underscores why so many were enraptured by its creative game design and masterful storytelling.
The cult classic has confidently shambled back into the spotlight once more to shine brighter than ever at an affordable price. Put simply, Alan Wake Remastered is an essential purchase.
If it’s your first time visiting Bright Falls or you just want to take in the scenery again before the next chapter in Remedy’s overarching franchise rears its head, there’s no better way to experience Alan Wake’s original nightmare.
Reviewed on PS5