Only 13 years have passed since the release of the first part of Alan Wake, and Remedy released a full-fledged sequel for their project, and even in a very beautiful wrapper, but the latter moment is also accompanied by extremely robust system requirements. Let’s start, in fact, with the appearance of the game.
Major Grafouni and Sergeant Optimizouni
The graphics of Alan Wake 2 have already been dissected by many, and I, perhaps, will join the general opinion that this is a real game of the new generation, which, in general, fully meets its hardware requirements. Even minimal graphics settings put this project on approximately the same level as the “ultras” in Cyberpunk 2077.
And yes, even at minimum settings this game looks very good, but not without its flaws. Most of the noticeable problems with minimal screens lie in the quality of shadows and reflections of the screen space. With the latter, by the way, you get really quiet horror and, of course, the best picture quality with the most accurate shadows and reflections in the game can only be obtained when path tracing is activated. Needless to say, to play with path tracing without additional blurring by upscalers, you will have to get a very serious video card?
Speaking of “additional” blurring. The situation here is such that the built-in post-processing algorithms in Alan Wake 2 to create a cinematic effect and hide individual graphics jambs “clutter” the picture quite a lot. Thanks to this, when playing with FSR2, pixelation is minimized, and with DLSS it is difficult to notice ghosting.
What about performance? Yes, everything is quite expected. The game is beautiful, the game is technological, the game is quite demanding, but the latter is only true when the player wants to mindlessly turn the settings to maximum and think that he can get away with it. For most people it won’t work. That is why many will have to limit themselves to low and medium graphics presets or even console settings in which these presets are mixed. Additionally, I’ll clarify that you can hide individual jambs of the minimum settings behind the performance-consuming post-processing quality setting at the maximum value, and for additional frames per second in this case it’s not a sin to use image upscalers; DLSS and FSR2 have excellent implementations in the game, although I’d like to see Next to DLSS 3.5 is a new version of FSR 3.
I completed the game on a system with an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor, 32 GB of DDR5-6000 RAM and an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card in the extreme undervolt with a 4K LG OLED C2 42′ monitor. The game, of course, is installed on the SSD. With a high graphics preset in 4K resolution without upscalers, the video card becomes bad and the frame rate is somewhere around 23-25 frames, but turning on FSR in the “quality” mode brings the FPS to 40-45. A full 60 FPS can only be squeezed out with FSR “performance”, and this is native rendering at 1080p. At the same time, in 1080p without upscale the frame rate exceeds 80 FPS. This is the price of an upscaler. And no, DLSS on a conditional RTX 3080 “costs” no less.
I would also like to note the detailed character models with, again, high-quality textures and well-designed lighting, which does not allow the characters to stand out from the overall picture. What I have questions about, however, is the facial animations. For some unknown reason, the wooden faces from Starfield (thankfully without the bug-eyed ones) here went not only to ordinary NPCs, but even to the main character’s partner. At the same time, say, the sheriff and a couple of his subordinates are animated perfectly. I would like to believe that this is just some kind of bug, but it’s hard to believe.
There really isn’t much to say here. Alan Wake 2 is a fairly standard third-person action-adventure game at its core, but it also adds detective elements and, of course, a horror component on top of that. The latter can scare only very impressionable people, and local screamers are too random and sometimes simply annoying with their absurdity.
The detective part of the game is represented by the need to collect evidence, and then put together sequences of events on the board or examine the dossiers of the characters. This happens literally in the head of the main character, where she walks around in a knitted sweater. Alan, the second main character of the game, by the way, also has a similar mental place, which is called the writer’s room. The functionality of these places is similar, but in it Saga collects clues to solve the case, and Alan is busy writing the plot. In-game training will introduce players to all the features.
As you may already know, the game is divided into two parts with different main characters. The Saga side of the story will tell about the town of Bright Falls and the murder spree going on in and around it. This side of the game is slower and may well feel literally stuffy to some. Also here you will have to deal with the monologues of the main character in her head, which allow her to pretend that she is a genius of deduction.
As for the plot part of Alan, here the player awaits a journey through the Dark Place, which is much more interesting, much faster and much better implemented (IMHO). The hero is literally able to control the events that happen to him by rewriting the plot of the Dark Place in order to find what he needs. His journey will be accompanied by meetings with those who are also stuck in the Dark Place and crossing the borders of the paranormal world to help Saga.
The game is plot-oriented, and therefore I will not say anything more about this aspect in order to avoid spoilers, which are too easy to do here.
Alan Wake 2 turned out to be, first of all, a beautiful game with fairly high demands on the player’s system. Yes, the project works well on current generation consoles, but it is important to remember that they are playing on a mixture of low and medium settings to achieve 60 frames per second. On a PC, you will only need an RTX 2070 or RX 6600 XT level graphics card for a similar gaming experience, or an RTX 3070/RX 6700 XT for a better one.
The gameplay is good, but, frankly speaking, there is nothing new in it. Just good. There’s nothing particularly to complain about, but there’s also nothing to praise. Also, don’t forget about the plot, which is really good, and its only problem, in my opinion, is the part with the Saga. I would have been much more happy to play exclusively in the part with Alan for more time, but that’s the authors’ intention. By the way, it took me 35 hours to complete.