Alan Wake 2 Review - A Miracle Illuminated
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Alan Wake 2 Review - A Miracle Illuminated

Calling a game ambitious can come with an implied caveat. A game with great ambition can be something that reaches high and far, but can also be one that doesn't quite get there. Alan Wake 2 is one of the most ambitious games I've ever played, but don't misconstrue that, as it doesn't fall short of its lofty goals. On the contrary, Alan Wake 2 achieves virtually everything developer Remedy Entertainment set out to do. It's a game that feels novel and risky that is executed with confidence and a clarity of vision. The end result is a one-of-a-kind sequel that redefines its series, blazes trails in video game storytelling, and stands as the monument to a studio that has unlocked its potential to the fullest.

Picking up 13 years after the original game's events, Alan Wake 2 is made with two audiences in mind: those who may be new to its mystery-laden plot and those who have been decorating figurative cork board with red strings in their minds for over a decade. This is a smart way to broaden appeal to a bigger audience that Remedy executes by splitting the game into two campaigns, both unfolding using an unconventional structure.

In one campaign, FBI special agent Saga Anderson arrives at the once-quaint Bright Falls, Washington to investigate a series of disappearances and ritualistic murders. Saga is joined by her partner, Alex Casey, and becomes the perfect proxy for the uninitiated as she is soon enveloped in the juxtaposition of Bright Falls' understated but haunting atmosphere and its quirky and often upbeat townsfolk. Turning over crime scenes in an unsettling forest rich in folklore, Saga's storyline combines the rustic foreboding feelings of The Blair Witch Project with the unflinching grit of a Fincher-esque dark crime drama. The other campaign, meanwhile, sees you play as the titular Alan Wake and picks up in a nightmare realm called the Dark Place, where Alan has been trapped since the end of the first game. This malevolent space feeds off of art and memories alike, creating a personalized prison for all who enter it.

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