I’ve spent over a decade being told by my gamer friends that Alan Wake is one of the finest games of the century so far. I foolishly ignored their urging, but I’m rectifying this oversight by jumping feet first into the Remaster. I’m not the only one becoming acquainted with the Pacific Northwestern town of Bright Falls for the first time, so here are five essential beginners tips for Alan Wake Remastered.
5. Explore Every Nook & Cranny
Alan Wake divides its gameplay between relatively linear paths and more open-ended sections, apparently the remnants of a cancelled open-word. When the adrenaline is pumping, you’d be forgiving for rushing through the darkness to the safety of the light. However, doing so would detract from the haunting beauty of the Northwestern scenery and the various collectables that litter the land.
These collectables come in the shape of coffee thermoses, manuscript pages, TV shows and radio broadcasts. While a hundred thermoses doesn’t add much, the others are essential to the masterful world-building of Remedy Studios. Episodes of Night Springs offer a delightful mix of David Lynch and Twilight Zone high strangeness. At the same time, Pat Maine’s local radio show will shine a light on the cooky characters that perhaps don’t play as significant a role in the main narrative.
4. Don’t Ignore Generators
The forest surrounding Bright Falls is a dark, deadly place where you’ll spend most of the game shooting and dodging various enemies. Checkpoints are relatively generous, but falling at the last hurdle and having to retrace your way through the same grunts can get annoying quickly. Luckily, you can save yourself some trouble by keeping an eye out for mini generators throughout each episode.
Kicking these generators into gear will light the immediate area, banishing the shadows on your tail. If that wasn’t enough, the light also refuels your health bar and acts as an extra checkpoint – talk about a three-in-one deal! While these additional checkpoints may not feel necessary throughout the first two or three episodes, but these bastions of light are your best friend in the latter half of the game.
3. If All Else Fails, Run!!!
Alan isn’t some grizzled cop or gangster; he’s just your average best selling author. Whilst he’ll carry several types of weapons along with your power-hungry flashlight, sometimes he’ll be cornered by a group of Taken who aren’t going to do Alan that kindness of waiting until for him to reload. If ammo is running low, there’s only one avenue open to you… Run to the light, literally.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of in running to the nearest lamppost while artfully dodging Taken. Nowhere is this tactic more applicable than in Nightmare difficulty. Resources are limited, and enemies are much more challenging, requiring more of your flashlight’s batteries and bullets. The grunts who throw axes from a distance aren’t too much of a hassle, but the sledgehammer-wielding Taken are near impervious and frankly aren’t worth wasting valuable bullets. Take my advice – drop a flare and run.
2. Keep An Eye Out For Yellow Arrows
Alan can find ammo in several places. Typically, it’ll be lying on a desk or in a utility box, but each episode has a few special caches that are hidden. Thankfully their locations are marked by translucent yellow arrows that will lead you to the much appreciated extra firepower, especially flares and flashbangs. Regardless of which difficulty, these caches will always be there and never change location.
While the caches can be an essential lifeline, they can and will be the perfect place for an ambush. Not all will be traps, but many will spawn a few enemies, depleting the ammo you’ve just picked up. You can take your chances and run (See the tip above) or spend your ammo hoping that you’ll not need it later – hint: you will.
1. Be Strategic With Flares & Flashbangs
Out of every tip I’ve outlined in this guide, none is more important in my opinion, than the use of flare and flashbang grenades. While guns help, nothing is more expedient than these lifesavers. The humble flare will keep Taken at bay while depleting their shadow shield, offering you a chance to make a run for it. The flashbang will eviscerate any enemy within its blinding blast and are best used in dire situations where a quick solution is needed.
The flare gun combines the temporary safety of the flare with the stopping power of the grenade. Strategic use of all three will have you tiering through legions of Taken with ease. Just be careful and keep an eye on your supply because when they’re gone, you’ll have to rely on a flashlight and Alan’s poor stamina to get you through.
With these handy beginners tips under your belt, not even the malevolent force of the Taken will be able to stop you. Alan Wake Remastered is a fantastic horror/thriller tale that deserves to be experienced fully. Thinking about picking up the game? Despite a few issues, we had nothing but praise for this brilliant remaster in our review.