Alan Wake 2 reviews have dropped overnight, and the consensus appears to be firmly, wildly positive. Without wanting to spoil the whole thing, this list is basically just a long parade of perfect scores. The new horror title is the latest from Remedy Entertainment and is a much-anticipated sequel to the 2010 cult hit about a Stephen King-obsessed author caught up in some real Twin Peaks shit.
The scores are a boon for Remedy, despite code only arriving for Kotaku Australia and many other outlets bright and early on Tuesday morning Australian time. Yes, a number of the reviews we’re going to feature in this piece have only had, at most, a few days to play through the game and put some thoughts together. Some outlets that Remedy selected for early access may have had code longer, but many have not.
(I am once again asking video game critics, with peace and love, to please stop killing themselves trying to hit ridiculous, unrealistic embargoes.)
A final note: there are currently just three outlets among the Metacritic cohort that have reviewed Alan Wake 2 on Xbox hardware. All other reviews have been conducted on PlayStation 5 or PC. Make of that data point what you will.
The Kotaku Australia review will go live sometime next week when our critic, James O’Connor, feels he’s spent enough time with it.
As we always do, let’s go around the traps and see what the critics think, starting here at home.
Just four local outlets have published reviews so far.
GamesHub is the first cab off the rank, giving Alan Wake 2 a full 5 stars, saying it “almost feels mad in its approach, with an overwhelming array of threads in the tale that threaten to collapse under pressure at any moment. Yet with clear and incisive logic, matched with a devotion to delightful absurdity, the team at Remedy has managed to craft a breathtaking story – one that plays out in clever, fascinating, and horrifying ways.”
Player 2 also gave it an A+ (which Metacritic interprets as a 100), saying, “Not only is Alan Wake II Remedy’s best game, it is an experience that sets a new high bar for narrative horror titles that is unlikely to be passed anytime soon.”
Press Start gave it a 9.5, saying, “While I’m sure there were countless drafts and edits throughout the journey to this point, this Alan Wake II is proof that great things come to those who wait. Like breaking through after a thirteen year stretch of writer’s block, I can only imagine the sense of relief in letting this monster of a game loose.”
Stevivor was one of the few to review on Xbox. They filed an unscored review-in-progress, highlighting the late arrival of the review code, and saying, “Alan Wake 2 is the next glorious evolution of Remedy’s signature gameplay and yet to put a foot wrong.”
The rest of the world
Dexerto gave it 5 stars, saying, “Circling back to everything that made the original shine while adding not only new gameplay innovations, but captivating new characters marks a bold step forward for the series, for Remedy, and the industry at large. Alan Wake 2 is a towering accomplishment that will keep you hooked from start to finish and leave you with a little darkness you’ll be thinking about for years to come.”
Screen Rant, also 5 stars: “Alan Wake 2 is a mind-bending, epic thriller that takes the best of Remedy’s catalogue & combines it all into nothing short of a masterpiece.”
TheGamer, another 5 stars (and probably the longest pull quote of the lot): “Remedy has always been seen to push boundaries, or experiment with different ideas using its own kooky melting pot of creative innovation, but never has it felt as accomplished as it is with Alan Wake 2. This feels like the game this developer has wanted to make for years, unrestrained in the best possible way as it goes hard on layered storytelling, flawed yet fascinating heroes and a series which for over a decade now has been harbouring untold potential. To see that ambition finally realised is a delight, and the end result is one of the best survival horror games I’ve ever played. It’s Remedy let loose, debuting a shared universe that is bound to continue changing the game for years to come.”
GamesRadar, yet another 5 stars: “Alan Wake 2 is a strange, imaginative, and truly ambitious sequel that never fails to upend your expectations. While some of the bigger concepts presented by Remedy Entertainment lack refinement, a few rough edges don’t detract from a consistently confident and startlingly original adventure. You won’t find anything else quite like Alan Wake 2 this generation.”
VGC, 5 stars: “Massively confident, often groundbreaking, and full of surprises, Alan Wake 2 is Remedy at its very best. The shooting isn’t stellar, but Alan Wake 2 is otherwise a horror thriller that shouldn’t be missed.”
Gamespot, a 10/10: “The idea of what Alan Wake 2 could be has changed so much over the years, but in playing the game, I was reminded of Sam Lake saying how he was so happy that all the previous versions of this game never worked out, and how excited he was that this is the Alan Wake 2 the world has finally received. I have to emphatically agree. The mere existence of an Alan Wake 2 would have, at different points over the years, felt like a minor miracle, but for it to be this one, that feels singular in its achievements, and coming from a studio that refuses to shy away from the paths less traveled, makes Alan Wake 2 a miracle illuminated.”
VG247, 5 stars: “Modern day horror experiences don’t get much better than this, and I’m pleased we’ve got more to come in, at least, two sets of DLC.”
IGN gave it a 9/10, saying, “Alan Wake II is a superb survival horror sequel that makes the cult-classic original seem like little more than a rough first draft by comparison.”
The Guardian gave it 4 stars, saying, “If Alan Wake 2 matched its narrative charms with greater depth in play, you’d be looking at a very special game indeed. As it stands, it’s a thrillingly spooky ride that can, at times, feel too much like you’re just pressing forward while weird things happen around you. That said, I very much enjoyed those weird things, and while Alan Wake 2’s combat lacks the developer’s usual pizzaz, it is Remedy’s best narrative adventure yet.”
Game Rant was one of an extremely small number of outlets that weren’t impressed, awarding it 2.5 stars, saying “Alan Wake 2 deserves recognition for what it has accomplished with its graphics and audio design, but many will be let down by the gameplay and story. Even if the game’s rather frustrating technical problems didn’t exist, Alan Wake 2 would still be a disappointment because of its shortcomings in those departments. That being said, Alan Wake 2 is home to some of the best moments in any game this year, with two sequences in particular standing out as especially memorable. To go into detail would be to spoil them for anyone who plans on playing the game, but rest assured that despite its issues, Alan Wake 2 has a few bright spots that may still make it worth it for hardcore fans of the original game. Others will want to hold out for a patch and a sale.”
Polygon’s unscored review was positive, saying, “I already consider it a modern horror classic, one that opens up a veritable ocean of possibilities for Remedy’s future. If it takes another 13 years for a game of Alan Wake 2’s caliber to come along again, it will have been well worth the wait.”
Rock Paper Shotgun’s unscored review-in-progress was also positive, saying, “Crucially, though, its hard lean into psychological horror hasn’t yet tipped over into feeling overwhelming or like I just want it to hurry up and end already because it’s too stressful. I may have already played the equivalent of an entire Resident Evil campaign so far, but right now, Alan Wake 2 only just about feels like it’s getting going – and I’ve really been enjoying how deliberately slow-paced it is. Even now, it’s keeping its cards very close to its chest, and I still don’t feel like I know where the story’s going yet. But I’m excited to find out and keep playing, because if Remedy can stick the landing on this, then Alan Wake 2 could really be something special. So hang on for a few days more, and I’ll hopefully have my final review ready for you early next week.”
Destructoid’s unscored review-in-progress said “Alan Wake 2 is still throwing surprises my way, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends.”