The mysterious thriller Alan Wake from the Finnish studio Remedy Entertainment is one of my favorite games. It is reasonably scary, action-packed, exciting and mysterious. I like its story and atmosphere, although of course the authors were heavily inspired by all sorts of famous prototypes in their time. The original from 2010 was only released on Xbox 360. Two years later, PC gamers also saw it, but the famous writer looking for his wife in Bright Falls never came to other platforms. Now players on other systems and finally a whole new generation of fans finally have the opportunity to enjoy this mysterious adventure.
Alan Wake Remastered has arrived on the PC again, as well as on the Xbox One, Xbox Series and, for the first time ever, on Sony consoles, namely the PlayStation 4 and 5. Unfortunately, you won’t find a switch between supported platforms, which I think it’s a shame. It is possible to release an additional version streamed from the cloud as with Control. It does not make sense to evaluate the original game again as a novelty, even 11 years later. I consider it a modern classic that has passed through the hands of many of you, so this time we will focus exclusively on how it passed the test over time and how the upgrade itself worked. After all, I would still lean to the side of those who rated the original as highly above average in 2010. Especially thanks to the excellent story and the captivating atmosphere, which still works great after years. Which probably only proves how great a job the authors did then, and on the other hand, how little has changed during that time. Respectively, even in 2021 we will not find crowds of titles that could boast a similarly attractive script and film atmosphere.
Speaking of the fact that the authors of the site offer a little richer service, it’s definitely worth noting that in addition to the two original DLC remasters, there is also a new commentary provided by Sam Lake, new character models or support for the DualSense driver.
I was very much looking forward to the remaster and I like the fact that the authors have clearly stated from the beginning what they are doing and what players can expect. The fact that the degree of improvement is mentioned in the name itself seems to me to be as transparent as possible. Expect improvements, but don’t expect miracles. It is not a remake and it does not even play on it, although in some places the authors of Max Payne and Control will still give the fans some above-standard service. What surprised me the most was how quickly you slip into Alan’s world again. Before starting the game, I asked myself if it would still work. Whether I will not be disappointed after such a time and if reality does not lag behind how the title imagines my fantasies combined with twisted memories. I am relieved to say that “it was there” within a few seconds. Once the game started, I already knew I would enjoy it, and he remembered why I liked it so much years ago.
In terms of playability, storytelling and haunting, Alan Wake still seems up-to-date to me, and it completely legitimizes the fact that he was remastered. If I released the original today, I might be disappointed. But Alan Wake Remastered looks exactly like the game I remember (!), that is, how my head thinks it looked. Which naturally means it looks much better. After all, just look at the various detailed comparative pictures. It’s not a remake, but it’s definitely not a lazy remaster with more detailed textures and higher resolution. Speaking of the fact that the authors of the site offer a little richer service, it’s definitely worth noting that in addition to the two original DLC remasters, there is also a new commentary provided by Sam Lake, new character models or support for the DualSense driver. But all this still stands on the same foundations, from which you cannot expect a completely new house.
The information that the British company D3T participated in the remaster was associated with a certain amount of uncertainty. On the one hand, they created a basic but decent remaster of Shenmue I & II from 2018. At the same time, they are also responsible for the catastrophic Mafia II: Definitive Edition from 2020. Fortunately, the trouble is not happening this time. Comment is a nice bonus. The support of the DualSense driver and haptics pleasantly surprised me. The game works as it should and offers a much nicer spectacle than the original, although it is necessary to focus on such things and not just work with memories. However, with the improved character models, we can stop for a moment and open a more critical topic. On the one hand, I must say that the face upgrade clearly benefited the game. On the other hand, like some other players, I have a bit of a problem spending the new form of the main character. I intentionally do not write an improved one, but a new one, because it seems to me that he really is not similar. I respect and understand the reasons, but it seems to me as if the protagonist was someone a little different. I even have a different feeling about it and I don’t think my memory is crazy about me. It seems especially obvious to me in flashback, for example.
Well, once we have bitten the negatives, we will stop at them for a while. Although the models of the characters and their faces are much more detailed, animations and facial expressions somehow lag behind them. The characters have a very stiff expression, their faces look dead as after Botox injections, and when they try an expression or emotion, they are again comically exaggerated. I would also complain about the awkward animations of the main character’s movements. And that’s how we get to what the remaster should or could fix. There will probably be no consensus in this sense. Although I understand that the experience should be authentic, I would paradoxically be satisfied with the original faces and reach a little deeper into the game in an effort to modernize it and make it as attractive as possible for modern audiences again. Alan doesn’t control himself very well. One does not even know what part of the journey the games have gone in this sense in 11 years, until you feel it yourself. The protagonist moves a bit like honey and has a tendency to inertia, which is no longer common today. At the same time, it didn’t bother me much in the action, but rather while running around the environment and trying for some acrobatic passages. Especially jumps, climbing and falls often look quite comical, the control is inaccurate and unintuitive.
Performance is not bad, but it is not as excellent as the remaster deserves. For example, the game does not support ray tracing or HDR, which would be directly offered due to the way it works with light, darkness and shadows.
I was also interested in working with the camera. In a negative sense. The camera tends to constantly bounce and change its position, so you are constantly changing the view over the left and right shoulder with a special button. Normally, you don’t have to deal with anything like that in games. I don’t mind a single glance, but I definitely don’t mind if the game itself changes its orientation completely by accident. The sprint solution was definitely worth considering. The main character’s inability to run at least a few meters is funny, if you are not talking about life. Then he’s more angry. The authors deserve praise for the possibility to change the size of the captions continuously, but I do not understand that in the settings this indicator is not accompanied by a demonstration of what it will look like in practice, so you have to tune the size by trial and error. But it’s also a pity that the game is not completely consistent in terms of the quality of graphics in the game and in the cut scenes. And the performance isn’t bad, but it’s not as excellent as the remaster deserves. For example, the game does not support ray tracing or HDR, which would be directly offered due to the way it works with light, darkness and shadows.
I don’t mind the fact that the developers got rid of product placement in the slightest. More importantly, they didn’t cut us short when it came to the licensed soundtrack. It’s a pity that Remedy didn’t whip up to include Alan Wake’s American Nightmare spin-off as part of the remaster. After all, this is not a sequel, but a smaller game whose scope is only slightly larger than the DLC pair for the original title. As for the price, the remaster stands somewhere on the border. Its price tag probably won’t offend you, but it won’t inspire you either. Depending on the platform, it is sold for 630 to 659 crowns. The result is kind of similar. Alan Wake Remastered doesn’t arouse clear enthusiasm, but it’s not disappointing either. It’s still a great game that got quite a decent, but by no means perfect remaster.