The Biggest Changes Between Alan Wake And Its Sequel

Remedy Entertainment is a developer that tends to try different and refreshing ideas with every new game, so Alan Wake 2 was ultimately not going to be the same as its predecessor. Their announcement of it being a more survival horror game with True Detective vibes already set it apart, and the gameplay elements are further reflective of that.

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Though you also have some voice actors changed around for a few returning characters from the first game, the settings, mechanics, progression system, and boss battles get a complete makeover that will make you think you’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. Here is everything that the sequel changes.

11 Three Playable Characters And Character Swapping

In Alan Wake and the subsequent standalone spin-off American Nightmare, Alan Wake was the sole protagonist of the games. From the very start of Alan Wake 2, you don’t play as the titular author wrapped up in the supernatural. Your first playable character is Agent Robert Nightingale, fresh out of Cauldron Lake and meeting his fate at the hands of the Cult of the Tree.

Then, you get to become Saga Anderson, an FBI agent on Alan’s trail investigating not only the mysteries surrounding Wake and Bright Falls but also those in her personal life. You can switch between Saga and Alan early on in the game via a janitor’s bucket in the Break Room to alternate the order between their respective chapters.

10 Chapters With Ending Tracks Instead Of TV Episodes

The original Alan Wake game adapted an episodic television storytelling style, which undoubtedly influenced the direction of Telltale games and the Life is Strange series. Each new episode of Alan Wake began with a ‘Previously On…’ cutscene recap to recount what happened in the previous episode. There was even a live-action companion prequel show called Bright Falls.

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Alan Wake 2 ditches this episode-based outline for a more effective chapter-based approach. There are around nine chapters for each protagonist, called ‘Return’ for Saga and ‘Initiation’ for Alan Wake (the naming is also tied to his manuscripts). The ending of each chapter is marked by an ‘End of Chapter’ screen with truly ambient music tracks that capture the game’s story elements and deserve your attention.

9 Koskela Brothers Ads On TVs Instead Of Night Springs

TV viewing makes a comeback in Alan Wake 2, but you may notice that Night Springs is on a bit of a hiatus. Easter egg posters show that a new season is coming soon, which is most certainly teasing the Night Springs DLC. However, gracing TVs throughout Watery and Bright Falls are the Koskela Brothers.

Ilmo and Jaakko Koskela are twin Finns who are entrepreneurs, coffee roasters, adventure tour guides, Kalevala MC founders, and amusement park owners. Their commercials are some of the best and most hilarious collectibles in the series. They’re very much made with the same comedic tone as Charlie’s ads from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

8 The Profiling And World-Altering Mechanics

While the core combat mechanic of using the flashlight on Taken enemies, followed by firing a few shots to take them down, remains in place, there are plenty more new mechanics introduced in the sequel game. Two of those major ones are tied to Saga’s Mind Place and Alan’s Writers Room areas.

As you gather clues, you can draw connections on the case board in Saga’s Mind Place, which will open new objectives, and you can review profile documents of various characters at the desk. These allow Saga the supernatural ability to peer into the suspect’s thoughts and have them appear beside her, and the explanation is embedded in Norse mythology.

The more mind-blowing and unique mechanic that’s truly unlike anything else is Alan’s Plot Board mechanic in the Dark Place sections. The Casey echoes you find throughout make new scenes available that you can place on the area cards on your board, which implements a typewriter transition, and the environment gets altered in seconds before your very eyes.

Alan’s Angel Lamp is also a new mechanic in Alan Wake 2 with the ability to alter environments, as specific regions like the cinema, subway station, and the studio will require you to activate it for puzzles and to reveal hidden items.

7 Larger Weapon Variety And An Upgrade System

The original Alan Wake game had very few weapon options, with the revolver being primarily involved, but you also get the shotgun and flare gun. American Nightmare was the more action arcade mode Alan Wake game, and it featured weapons like a nailgun, submachine guns, multiple shotguns, and a crossbow.

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Alan Wake 2 leans into that larger variety of weapons for both Alan and Saga. You have the crossbow, hunting rifle, sawed-off, double-barrel, pump-action shotguns, flare gun, and revolver, along with flares and flashbang grenades. There are also weapon upgrades for Saga and helpful ability upgrades for Alan called ‘Words of Power,’ which are sometimes well-hidden spirals on walls and ceilings.

6 More Locations To Explore

Alan Wake 2 doesn’t just cover Bright Falls and its wilderness outskirts of Cauldron Lake anymore. There’s a whole new area of Watery, where you can find hidden places like the Lighthouse, explore the trailer park, hear live music in Suomi Hall, and be in the haunted amusement park Coffee World. There’s also the new Valhalla Nursing Home and its adjoining Wellness Center and a revamped Cauldron Lake setting.

And all of that is only explored as Saga. Alan Wake now traverses the Dark Place, a reenvisioned gritty ’70s New York world, filled with tons of locations like a movie theater, a hotel, a talk show studio, subway tunnels, and Alan’s apartment, Parliament Tower. You will also constantly find map collectibles to update the areas in both Alan and Saga’s journeys.

5 Customizable Appearance And Bracelet Charms

If you wanted to change Alan’s appearance in the original game, you couldn’t and had to wait until American Nightmare for his character to receive a new skin. With pre-orders and digital deluxe upgrades, you can get different cosmetics for Alan Wake and Saga’s outfits and weapon skins.

Alan can get a white ornate revolver with a black-and-white celebrity suit like Mr. Door’s and Sam Lake’s; Saga can get a blue Oh Deer Diner sweater and a crimson windbreaker in addition to her green one and the FBI jacket.

Additionally, Saga has a charm bracelet gifted by her daughter Logan with three charm inventory slots for you to equip. Charms are a collectible earned through Nursery Rhymes, and while there are too many to mention, they provide even more benefits on top of all the upgrades.

4 The Connections To Control In The Storyline

Remedy’s 2019 game Control was sprinkling the Alan Wake breadcrumbs, especially in the AWE expansion DLC, but Alan Wake 2 fully bridges the two games in significant ways. The 2010 game had only vague FBC references, and they were explored more in a comic book. In Alan Wake 2, it comes full circle or spiral…

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From the very start of the game, you see the Federal Bureau of Control has closed off the area of Cauldron Lake, and they already have a monitoring station set up by the lake. Ahti the janitor from the Oldest House appears across Alan and Saga’s chapters, Mr. Door makes his debut after being teased in Control, Dr. Casper Darling and Jesse Faden appear, and a team of FBC agents led by Kiran Estevez show up at the halfway point.

3 The Pop-Up Jumpscares

The original Alan Wake may have set up a spooky vibe, but the ambiance still didn’t feel definitively survival horror nor as terrifying as games like Dead Space and The Evil Within. Alan Wake 2 fixes that to the fullest extent possible from the first minute of the game.

The pop-up jumpscares alone make this one of the most masterfully crafted and scariest games in existence. These can get you from just taking a step forward along your path or entering what you think is a safe area. An eerie giant face of a main Taken character flashes before your screen with a chilling sound design that will have you screaming.

2 The Boss Battle Design

Bosses will feel a lot different in Alan Wake 2, especially the setup for them. They have multiple phases, weak points, and are very difficult to defeat sometimes, especially the double Thornton and Mulligan boss battle at the end of Return 3 and the Cynthia Weaver boss fight at the end of Return 5. Plus, there’s not even a final boss this time.

With Weaver, you have two phases where you must evade her in the water like the Kaernks in Amnesia and then fight her as she flies around in the air. Thornton and Mulligan’s fight sees you dodge and defeat a sniper and one deputy wielding a shotgun in multiple phases. These are more intense and less boring boss designs like Stucky, the tornado, and a possessed Bulldozer.

In general, the enemy variety as a whole has received a massive upgrade.

From shadowy figures that aren’t hostile and disappear with the shine of a flashlight to Cult of the Tree Taken, the Hammer Taken, Water Taken, normal darkness shield Taken, and projectile throwers, there are lots of different Taken this time around!

1 The Heavy Use Of Live-Action And In A Musical Sequence

2010’s Alan Wake featured live-action mildly and predominantly in the small Night Springs TV episodes. Ever since Quantum Break accomplished its live-action show structure inside the gameplay, Remedy has taken live-action to new experimental bounds, none the more true in Alan Wake 2. Scenes performed in live-action are a giant part of the storytelling.

While the original game had an Old Gods of Asgard mission in which Alan shoots hordes of Taken from a stage while their song is playing, Alan Wake 2 takes things up a notch. The entire level of Initiation 4 – We Sing is an unimaginable live-action musical extravaganza featuring Mr. Door, Alan Wake, Sam Lake, and the Old Gods of Asgard singing and dancing while Alan moves through the environment.

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