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Five things Alan Wake 2 does better than every other horror game

The game Remedy has spent its entire existence building to could teach other studios a few things

Image credit: Remedy, VG247

Multiple Game Awards nominee Alan Wake 2 is a masterpiece of horror and interactive storytelling. It’s arguably the medium at its peak: a confluence of technology, talent, and ambition that could only have happened this gen, and given how long we’ve waited since the first game, something that could well have not happened at all.

So what makes Alan Wake 2 special? Well, there’s dozens of things it does well, but here’s five things that we think it does better than any other horror game, and that make it quintessentially Remedy:

Watch on YouTube

If you’re too busy to watch the video above, here’s a quick summary of Kelsey’s notes:

1. Mixed Media

It uses multiple creative mediums to tell a story; gameplay, writing, live-action footage, poetry, music. And none of them feel out of place. Balancing all these elements perfectly is key to AW2's success.

Screenshot from Alan Wake 2 showing in-game Alan watching live-action Alan on the TV
Nothing says "mixed media" like the gameplay novelist watching the live action novelist on a chunky old TV. | Image credit: Remedy

2. Meta AF

It’s the peak of meta horror, and through Sam Lake’s characterisation and the inclusion of the FBC, it successfully canonizes the developer and firmly establishes Remedy's Connected Universe as a rich Twilight Zone playground that we can't wait to visit again.

3. Genuine Terror, Genuine Comedy

It’s truly terrifying and will scare players senseless, but it still manages to be funny, and this never feels inappropriate. The ‘We Sing’ portion of the game that many have been talking about is completely bizarre and hilarious, but doesn’t remove from the rest of the game’s atmosphere.

Screenshot from the "We Sing" portion of Remedy's Alan Wake 2
Suprise Musicals can go either way, but this is up there with the best of them. | Image credit: Remedy

4. Finland, Finland, Finland

It incorporates the culture of its developers and does it brilliantly; we’re in this sleepy Pacific Northwestern town that’s packed with Finnish and Norse mythology through its characters, the cult at the heart of the story, and even the environment.

Saga Anderson in Alan Wake 2 aims at a cult member in a run-down convenience store. The only light is a flashlight in her hands, and the cultist weilds a fire axe.
You'll need to keep your wits about to, uh, Finnish this game. | Image credit: Remedy Entertainment

5. Song

Music is a huge part of Alan Wake 2, and it helps to tell the story; between chapters there are entire tracks that will tell parts of the story through song, and they’re damn good. So good, in fact, that we've been listening the the soundtrack outside of the game: it works beautifully on its own terms, as well as an accompaniment to the action. The true mark of a great video game soundtrack.

How many Game Awards do you think Alan Wake 2 will run away with? Let us know in the comments!

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