Alan Wake II

Alan Wake II is a psychological thriller / horror survival / puzzle solving tour de force
83/100252302
Platforms
PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
Publisher
Epic Games
ESRB Rating
Mature 17+
Genre
Survival Horror
Release date
October 27, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Gameplay/Controls
95%
Graphics/Visuals
97%
Sound and Music
97%
Story and Narrative
100%
Replayability
10%
Performance/Tech Issues
95%
Non-Wokeness
90%
Rating Summary
Alan Wake II is a third-person genre-defying thriller that pits an author, an FBI agent, and a colorful cast of characters against a wickedly clever malevolent entity hellbent on world domination. Playing in a well-lit room may not be enough to take the edge off.

Finnish video game company Remedy Entertainment is known for its innovative storytelling and unique gameplay mechanics. Founded in 1995, the studio gained widespread recognition with titles like “Max Payne,” known for its groundbreaking bullet-time gameplay, and “Alan Wake,” a psychological thriller that captivated players with its narrative depth. In recent years, Remedy has continued to push boundaries with games such as “Control,” which combines supernatural elements with a compelling storyline and dynamic combat mechanics. Their consistent focus on immersive narratives and gameplay experiences has solidified their reputation as one of the industry’s most distinctive developers.

The Good:

  • The sense of atmosphere and horror is masterful
  • Really pushes the edge of graphics capabilities
  • Clever callbacks to other Remedy games

 

The Bad:

  • The thought space is a clever idea that’s not as good in execution

 

The Ugly:

  • Someone spilled a couple of drops of wokeness into this lake

 

Alan Wake II

Alan Wake II is a surreal horror story about a malevolent Dark Presence, powerful enough to use fiction to reshape reality but dependent on the creativity of a human author to provide the new narrative. The character Alan Wake is an author caught up in the Dark Presence’s ploy to enter the real world and remake it physically.

slide 1
1 Vacation
2 Shop
3 Amazon
Shadow

In the original game, the Dark Presence trapped Alan’s wife in the “Dark Place” (Think the Upside Down from Stranger Things) to draw him in, then used her as leverage to make him write (sorry if this is a spoiler, but you should play the first Alan Wake the first game before reading this if you don’t like it). Alan’s power to rewrite his story was limited to the rules of the horror genre, which is not known for its happy endings. In a last act of desperation, Alan defeated the Dark Presence by writing an ending that set his wife free but left him trapped in the Dark Place.

Fast forward thirteen years (the same number of real-world years between the release of Alan Wake and Alan Wake II), and Bright Falls once again finds itself host to supernatural events that signal a return of the Dark Presence.

Alan Wake II introduces a new protagonist, Saga Anderson, a young black female FBI agent. She is partnered with agent Alex Casey, the detective whose life became inextricably intertwined with Alan’s fiction during the first game’s events.

For the first part of the game, players play as Saga, though at a certain point, Alan Wake re-enters the story and becomes a playable character as well. Players will then switch back and forth between the two, eventually allowing them to switch between them at will, playing through each one’s unique but interwoven story.

Alan Wake II’s Story

The central narrative of Alan Wake II is a complex, self-referential tale designed to defy the player’s expectations. In one of the narrative’s more meta components, within the story, the story’s story itself is discussed and dissected.  Alan Wake is both a character and the author of his own story.

He has the ability to alter the narrative to change outcomes but is otherwise constrained by the clichés and tropes of the horror genre, for if he deviates too far, the changes that he makes will not hold.

Confronting Enemies in Alan Wake II

While set up as a third-person shooter and classified as survival horror, Alan Wake II tries its best not to conform to any one genre of game.  Combat is only one part of the gameplay.  A good portion of the game is also comprised of investigative work, a variety of puzzle-solving, and interactive cinematic cutscenes.

Most of the enemies are ghosts or the feral “Taken” (ordinary people whom the Dark Presence has corrupted). They are shielded by an aura of darkness, making them invulnerable to conventional weapons.

Players must utilize light sources such as a magical flashlight (which uses consumable batteries), flashbang grenades, or road flares to dispel the darkness. Weaker enemies are outright destroyed by the light, while others need to be killed by physical weapons after the shield is gone.

To do this, players will have access to handguns and other firearms that can be acquired along the way, but because this is a survival horror game, players will be constantly on the verge of running out of needed items.

There simply are not enough munitions in the game to defeat all of the enemies with direct confrontation. Players will have to rely on stealth or occasionally just run for their lives to get to safe spots where the light is too bright for the darkness to enter.

Alan Wake’s Puzzles

As mentioned earlier, Remedy really likes to use the video game medium to present an experience that wouldn’t work as well anywhere else. Although there are some straightforward solve-the-clue-for-the-password-type puzzles, the developers also like to use gameplay loops and optical illusions to keep the player mentally off balance. For example, one area is mostly flat and open, with some free-standing walls to walk around. Players have to weave their way around the walls in a particular order or risk passing the same identical space repeatedly for infinity.

The Mind Place and Writers Room

Both Saga and Alan have special rooms to which they can retreat during the game, and while they both serve the game mechanics as surrogate menu systems, each also offers their own unique gameplay and narrative opportunities.

Character Progression

Although it’s a very minor component, Alan Wake II provides opportunities for character progression. However, rather than being earned through experience or completing missions, improvements in capabilities and weapons come through discovering hidden objects or symbols within the levels. Players who take the time to search every nook and cranny will be rewarded with a slightly more manageable horror experience.

These elusive upgrades are perhaps the only element that lends any replayability to Alan Wake II, as once you’ve experienced the story, there’s not much else to go back for.

Case Board

Investigations on the case board use classic police drama visuals like push pins and yarn to connect Polaroid photos, bad photocopies of documents, and handwritten notes. Players need to arrange these elements in the proper order to complete each case. This can sometimes be frustrating because the placement isn’t always obvious or intuitive.

More often than not, investigations devolve into randomly trying to stick the evidence to the board to find the correct spot. In some instances, casework is an entirely optional part of the experience; if the player can figure out what to do next simply by picking up clues from the dialogue, then they never need put pin to cork.

However, there are times in which progression is completely dependent upon assembling the case on the board.

Controlling Alan Wake

This game uses typical twin-stick third-person shooter controls for combat and getting around. There aren’t any awkward gamepad mappings, and for the most part, both the movement and aiming controls are simple and intuitive.

Regarding other activities, the controls are a little less so.  Moving the cursor around area maps and case boards with a control stick feels clumsy and unrefined. These interfaces were obviously designed with keyboard and mouse controls in mind and not reimagined for a game controller experience.

Graphics

Alan Wake II is a beautiful game. Each environment is unique, fully detailed, and carefully thought out. Everything from tree branches to mud puddles looks so realistic that it’s easy to forget they’re works of art rather than real organic things. Character models are similarly convincing, with well-articulated motion capture that extends all the way down to facial expressions and lip movement.

Shadows play a big part, not just in the visual style but also in its narrative. The interplay of shadows and light is almost breathtakingly dramatic, thanks to ray-tracing and volumetric lighting effects.

However, Remedy is known for marrying live-action recordings with its game graphics. Many of this game’s cutscenes feature the live actors the in-game models were based on, and this jarring back and forth serves to throw the fidelity gap between the computer-rendered and real people into sharp relief.

While real actors certainly do a much better job conveying emotion than their digital avatars, the frequent switches between the two are jarring and immersion-breaking.

Sound

Alan Wake II is a masterclass in sound design. This game features incredibly effective use of multi-channel surround both for establishing atmosphere and for spatial awareness.

Each setting has its own unique soundscape, whether it’s wind whistling through trees, gentle rain hitting concrete at night, or the otherworldly whispers of the dead somewhere in the periphery.

The effects themselves are well-chosen and perfectly implemented. Something as simple as the sound of the water being disturbed somewhere just over your left shoulder as you carefully tiptoe through a flooded basement will likely make the hairs stand up on the back of your head.

Alan Wake II’s original score is nothing short of a phenomenon.  Far from a simple backdrop for various sequences, the music is woven into the narrative.  Each song’s lyrics tell a part of the story, sometimes even serving as clues or instructions for what to do next.

The game designers use a broad spectrum of styles, from etheric trance with crystalline female vocals to pop ballads with compelling hooks and even Swedish metal with melodic vocals and absolutely blazing guitar solos.

As an aside, the metal parts are performed by Poets of the Fall as their in-game altar ego band, Old Gods of Asgard.

Presentation

The horror part of this survival horror game is predominantly psychological. While there are enough elements of gore to justify the Mature rating, the game relies more on atmosphere and disorientation to make your skin crawl.

A pervasive sense of dread and unease is reinforced with dark visuals and creepy sounds throughout. The jump scares are wickedly well-timed to take advantage of quiet disarmed moments, and even the player character will sometimes express shock at them.

Performance

This game offered a relatively polished experience in its initial release build. There were very few obvious bugs or glitches. We only encountered one game-breaking bug during one of the last scenes that required us to reload the game to proceed.

Final Thoughts

Our playthrough clocked in at just over fifteen hours, but it was so densely packed and thought-provoking that it felt like a much longer experience.

This game absolutely deserves the awards it received for best narrative and art direction. Between the foreboding atmosphere, eerie content, and jump scares, the game did more than enough to earn its “horror” label, but the action sequences were also compelling and fun.

Without giving out spoilers, the “Summoning” sequence was one of the coolest things we’ve played in years. The convoluted story eventually rewards you for your time and attention and almost perfectly pulls off the “nothing is what it seems” motif. Despite its flaws, this is one of 2023’s best games.

WOKE ELEMENTS

Barring any deeper investigation into development and casting than what you see below, Alan Wake II rates delightfully low in wokeness. While our playthrough did not necessarily encompass 100% of the optional content, the authors were obviously more concerned with writing a compelling story than advancing a political or social agenda. Every woke element observed feels perfunctory rather than passionate.

On the one hand, Saga is an ever-present reminder that someone caved to pressure to forcibly “diversify” the cast, but on the other hand, it ceases to be distracting very quickly and does not hinder the story or gameplay.

DEI

  • Okay, so let’s talk about the big ol’ elephant in the room, Saga Anderson, the black female FBI agent who is the player character for half of the game. Make all the arguments that you want that this was some kind of random creative choice, but we’ve got screenshots that say otherwise. At some point after creating and initially casting the character of Saga Anderson, the developers decided to (or were forced to) race-swap her from a white woman to a black woman to check a box. She’s supposedly a descendant of some of the all-white cast of the original game. We get it, Remedy. There were quotas to be met, and screechers would take away your birthday presents if you dared release a game with an all-white cast in 2023.  While it’s obvious, due to her supposed heredity alone (but mostly because we actually know who the original actress was and have a picture of her in-character with a name label), this role was originally written for a white woman, the writers have retconned a hinted relationship between her and the elusive character Mr. Door to possibly explain her skin color.

Anti-White Racism

  • During one of the last sequences in the game, as Saga is struggling against her own inner thoughts, she refers to Alan Wake writing her into the story as “another white asshole deciding what I get to do; how I get to do it.” A single little sliver of anti-white racism is apparently supposed to lend to Saga’s authenticity as a “real” black woman in 2023. Reverse the races in that comment, and there’s no way Epic Games would have dared publish this game.

Misandry/Toxic Feminism

  • When we’re first introduced to the character of Saga Anderson, she’s riding in a car with Alex Casey on the way to Bright Falls to investigate a ritual murder. Just before they arrive, Alex places her in charge of the case.  Five minutes later, at the crime scene, the sheriff’s deputy tasked with escorting them assumes that Alex Casey, the male senior agent, is in charge of the investigation and asks him how he would like to proceed.  Saga takes the opportunity to shame him for the assumption, and we are then treated to an awkward moment where the deputy begins stammering excuses and apologies. How dare he assume she was not in charge of the investigation that she literally was not in charge of six minutes ago?

Gay Agenda

  • The female agent from the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC) finds an opportunity to casually mention, with all the subtlety of a “You know how I know you’re gay?” joke, that she has an ex-wife. It’s completely irrelevant to everything, but box ticked, I guess?

GET NOTIFIED!

Latest Reviews

We'll email you a heads-up when we publish our latest reviews.

Look for your confirmation email

Look for your confirmation email

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply

Simon Westen

Simon is a science fiction author, tech blogger and retro gaming enthusiast. He lives in the US Midwest with his two sons and wife of 26 years. Though he doesn't consider it a religion, he is unabashedly Christian. His heritage is primarily Native American and Scott/Irish. He is an outspoken libertarian (in belief, not necessarily in party) and values the principles of freedom and individual sovereignty above all else.

25 comments

  • Barry Wheeler

    January 2, 2024 at 5:27 am

    As an Alan Wake fan for more than 13 years, I couldn’t disagree more with this review. In fact, this is your only review I have disagreed with so far.

    The game is absolutely not based. In addition, the writing is really poor, especially if you compare it to the first game or other Remedy titles. But some people have liked it, so to each their own. Graphics are stunning, though.

    Unfortunately, the game is woke. Not even woke-ish. Woke. Saga is the protagonist in all but name. It’s a clear-cut case of a “diverse” character replacing the main character in his own game, with Alan being presented as too weak or flawed to be worthy of being the protagonist, only waiting to be saved by Mary Sue Anderson. The game and the plot are basically subjected to DEI, even if woke stuff isn’t constantly shoved down your throat during the gameplay.

    Moreover, there are some more instances of racial prejudice against white people throughout the game than the ones you mentioned, such as the diner scene, or most NPCs of Bright Falls, a tiny Washington town, being replaced with “POC” (except for the Finnish).

    Remedy went as far as bringing in Sweet Baby Inc. to wokify the game. They were in charge of the character arc, voice, and “sensitivity reading” (whatever that means).

    I am glad some people were able to enjoy the game despite its wokeness. I just couldn’t.

    51
    2

    Reply

    • Simon Westen

      January 3, 2024 at 11:32 am

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for some people even a single woke element is enough to ruin the entire experience. This is something which I understand and even respect. However my role as a reviewer is to report what I see, and maybe tell you how I feel about it. It is absolutely not to tell you how you should feel about it. I fully support your zero tolerance of the male replacement trope.

      Thanks for the info about Sweet Baby Inc, and thanks for your feedback. As much as you disagree with my ratings, I very much value your thoughts and I’m glad you have a forum where you can express them.

      16
      8

      Reply

  • Nick C

    January 2, 2024 at 10:05 am

    My only nitpick with this review is that I didn’t find the wokeness ‘delightfully low.’ I actually found it distractingly egregious. That’s not to say this isn’t a great game. I really enjoyed it. I largely agree with Simon’s review otherwise. (And as a mega fan of Max Payne, I was glad to see James play the character (in a way) one last time before his passing)

    But knowing well ahead of time that Saga had been race swapped was a slap in the face every second the character was on the screen. Not to mention, Alan feels like he’s squarely been moved to the beta male category in his own game.

    As someone who has zero tolerance for wokeness, I don’t want to see anyone thinking that the wokeness in the game is light or anything forgivable. That may be harsh to say, but I reached my limit long ago and have not an iota of room to spare for it.

    32
    1

    Reply

    • Nick C

      January 4, 2024 at 4:07 pm

      I just wanted to clarify my opinion a bit, given the discussion being had here.

      Despite the fact that I’ve ‘not an iota to spare’ for wokeness anymore, I still think “90% Based” is far too generous. That’s an A on a grading scale, which I don’t think matches what’s in the game. There are many things I can get into, but this isn’t my review so I just want to focus on two things. Yes, it’s only two woke aspects, however the argument can be made that these two woke aspects encompass 100% of the game. That being Saga being race swapped and Alan being a lost beta male throughout.

      It’s only 2 examples, but it’s 100% of the playable characters in the game. For Alan, I don’t know if it’s due to the story and how Sam Lake wanted to portray him, but he always felt lost, confused and stumbling through everything. I want to chalk that up to Sam attempting to infuse the character with the same feelings he wanted to convey to the player, but I have my doubts. Also, he depends on two women (spoilers on the 2nd woman) to guide him through the darkness and help him break through. That’s not to say a woman can’t help him, but given the fact that the game is screaming at me that Alan is a beta now, I can’t help but think the reasoning behind it is wokeness. I didn’t get this feeling from Alan Wake 1 or 1.5.

      With Saga, it’s almost like Sam Lake didn’t even try to explain her race (or he simply ran out of time to do so.) He could have easily had Alan write in Saga’s race and that would be the end of the explanation. But wasn’t another woman already cast in the role for Saga? And as a result, summarily fired to make room for the shoe-horned virtue signaling. That’s absolutely unacceptable to me. I mean, swap the colors around and fire a black woman so a white character can be portrayed. There’d be an uproar from the rainbow bullies so loud that would keep the game from ever seeing the light of day. I don’t know Sam’s politics, but I really hope the cancer hasn’t gotten to him. I’ve been a fan of his for decades now.

      To be fair, there isn’t any blatant, verbal, Spider-Man 2 levels of woke signaling until late in the game when Saga voices her real thoughts about ‘white assholes.’ When I heard that line, I almost threw up and uninstalled the game.

      8
      1

      Reply

      • James Carrick

        January 4, 2024 at 4:10 pm

        We appreciate your thoughtful response. I think that you make some good points.

        2
        1

        Reply

      • Simon Westen

        January 5, 2024 at 1:37 pm

        Nick, firstly thank you for going into detail to explain your point of view. I really do get where you’re coming from. For the sake of discussion, I’d like to answer a couple of the points you made.

        For the wokeness meter to be more than just a binary, it has to be able to distinguish between prevalent dyed-in-the-wool true believer wokeness, and bolted on woke tokens that were added to get some DEI zealot off their backs. While it is true that Saga is a “diversity hire”, for every moment she’s there to be 100% woke would require more than just her existing. Her dialogue would need to be hateful or condescending towards men and/or white people, she would need to be wearing a BLM patch, or suck so badly as an actress that it constantly reminded

        When I review a game, I don’t generally try to dig into the whole development process and the politics of the developers or publishers. While I used to love learning about those things, pretty much every gaming news outlet has gone so horrendously woke that I legitimately can’t stomach sifting through the sewage to find the good parts. I also do not read other peoples’ reviews until after writing my own. I just play the game and judge it based on the experience. This is to ensure my opinions are genuinely mine and I’m reviewing just what’s in the game and not whatever news or controversy stigmatizes it. I want to reward solid products, punish bad ones and send the message that their personal politics should stay the hell out of it. The point of all of this is to say that the only reason I even knew Saga was race swapped was how ridiculously conspicuous her character being black was, and how little the story does to try to make it make sense. That caused me to dig into it and discover that, yes, they apparently hired a white actress for the role originally (back in 2016 as part of Quantum Break), and subsequently denied her employment in the name of equity. It’s totally disgusting and unethical. However it was apparent that the reason she stood out like a sore thumb was because the writers did not change the story to suit the impostor. Maybe it’s a bad assumption, but to me that means that they didn’t believe in the decision and did the bare minimum to go along with it. Put another way, it very much seems like they didn’t want to ruin their story with woke garbage.

        Alan is a beta now? I really didn’t get that from the experience. After being trapped in an inescapable repeating hellscape for thirteen years, I would expect anyone to be scared and confused. He still has to be wondering if he really is out or if this is just another layer of the torture, doesn’t he? His reliance on Saga was more a lack of options than automatic deference to his “female betters”.

        Splitting play time between the title character and some new person that no one has any reason to like definitely gave me Metal Gear Solid 2 flashbacks. It would definitely have been cooler if Alex had been the one splitting time with Alan, but it’s not necessarily wokeness that drove the decision to have it be Saga, even if wokeness is why she was race-swapped.

        Reply

        • Nick C

          January 8, 2024 at 12:10 pm

          Awesome. You hit the nail on the head I think with the MGS2 comment. I’m definitely willing to admit I could be reaching with ‘my feeling’ that Alan is not the alpha he used to be. And I agree, that might be a narrative choice and not a woke one. As a fan of Sam Lake, I certainly hope that’s the case. I’d breathe a sigh of relief yet also be just a irritated to know that he was forced to include these woke aspects into his game, which hopefully, he had given a second thought to until a worthless 3rd party company pointed it out.

          Like I said, I’m a guy who gets turned off at even the slightest perception of wokeness. That’s not to say everyone should see things the way I do and I won’t hoop and holler if someone is not as offended as I am. To each his own. And I DID manage to enjoy the gameplay experience despite the offenses I perceived. I just wanted to voice my opinion. And in the end, that’s all this is. A discussion of opinions. You wrote a marvelous review otherwise and I most definitely look forward to seeing more games reviewed on this site.

          Keep up the fine work. I’d like to see more game reviews here so I don’t have to rely on the likes of Gamespot, IGN or … uhg …. Kotaku … (I threw up a little)

          Reply

  • Davaretta

    January 3, 2024 at 12:32 am

    Sorry bud, but Saga never ceases to be a distraction, we got a blackwashed character on screen the entire time, and there are way more problems than just the line about white people. This review is way too forgiving for this game.

    19

    Reply

  • goqul

    January 3, 2024 at 9:35 am

    90% is a very high score for non-wokeness. Three reasons:
    1. Female main protagonist in a game literally titled “Alan Wake II”
    2. With the female protagonist, another obvious thing is the toxic feminism and man-shaming that always comes along with the female protagonist setting.
    3. They sidelined Alan in the game named after him.

    14

    Reply

  • Kain

    January 3, 2024 at 9:51 am

    Indeed, the game is woke. Not in a very direct sense, but the details are there, with more or less subtlety.
    It is true that the story and gameplay are enjoyable, but the race swap is a clear indication of political intentionality.

    I guess Sam Lake had to accept certain changes in order to receive the necessary funding. I want to believe that he had no say in these details.

    The biggest problem is the anti-white racism that comes across at several points. All the villains are white. And the candidate for mayor of Watery is a black man. Yes, in a town founded by Finns.

    17

    Reply

    • goqul

      January 3, 2024 at 11:50 am

      According to the writer, the Finns must all be black too.

      Reply

  • Paul Hopkins

    January 3, 2024 at 10:43 am

    I suppose the writer’s on this site are getting back handers like everyone else. Alan wake 2 is to much of a cash cow to be exposed by reviewers as woke. Not gonna happen. Not til it’s sold it’s quota

    4
    2

    Reply

    • James Carrick

      January 3, 2024 at 11:14 am

      Do you know anyone handing out back handers? My wife could use a new car.

      Not only is Simon not getting kickbacks for his reviews, he’s an unpaid contributor who writes reviews because he loves video games and hates progressivism.

      He may or may not be wrong about this particular game (I don’t know, I don’t have time to play video games anymore), but he’s not compromised.

      Dissenting opinions is the number one reason that I have chosen to keep the comments section open on this site. It not only helps our visitors get a broader view of the content but helps us learn as critics.

      Our contributors, myself included, are only human and are bound to have unpopular opinions from time to time. We may also get it wrong, but that’s not the same thing as being shills.

      11
      1

      Reply

      • Paul

        January 3, 2024 at 11:57 am

        Hope not. Appreciate your reply. I suppose I can make my own mind up after reading a few more reviews/playing the games/watching the films. It’s great what your doing, and thank you

        Reply

    • Simon Westen

      January 3, 2024 at 11:59 am

      Thanks for your feedback, Paul. You didn’t say it directly, but it seems like you didn’t like my low numerical wokeness rating? On the off chance you’re not like so many other people online who are out to land a “zinger” on someone rather than have a rational discussion, and for the benefit of other folks who are curious about my rating, I’ll try to explain. It can be challenging to put a number on something so subjective as wokeness. I could have weighed the number of minutes Saga was onscreen vs the number of minutes Alan was onscreen, and then I’d have come up with something closer to 50/50 – assuming that I didn’t have more trouble with Alan’s puzzles than Sagas and take longer to solve them. But almost nothing she actually did was woke. Saga could literally have been swapped back for the original caucasian actress and the game would have been identical except for a few racist lines she spews towards the very end. If they undid the race swap, how many people would still find it intolerably woke, because you play half the game as a woman instead of Alan? Should everything with any wokeness be labeled as 100% woke? (Because it kind of is.) What I chose to do instead, and I will explain again, was to compare the woke elements to the other story elements and explain the woke elements in explicit detail so you could make your own assessment based on your own values. Expect to always disagree with me, but expect me to always report what’s there so you can make your own assessment without having to play it yourself.

      1
      6

      Reply

      • Paul

        January 3, 2024 at 12:11 pm

        I just wanted to put that possibility out there, for balance. We can all be susceptible to corruption at any time. Lets say your website really blew up, you would be approached by somebody looking to butter you up at some point. This could have happened with a review that most seemed to disagree with, which is odd. Hopefully your motives are pure. If so, I thank you for what your doing, it’s sorely needed

        Reply

        • Simon Westen

          January 5, 2024 at 1:47 pm

          Thanks, Paul. I’m doing this because I couldn’t find anyone else who was willing to. As far as I know the publishers aren’t even aware this site exists, and when they become aware of it, I imagine they would rather pretend it doesn’t exist. But I promise if they ever do attempt to bribe me to throw a review, you’ll be able to read about it IN the review where I publicly shame them. Crooked reviewers are scum.

          Reply

  • Simon Westen

    January 3, 2024 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for your feedback, Paul. You didn’t say it directly, but it seems like you didn’t like my low numerical wokeness rating? On the off chance you’re not like so many other people online who are out to land a “zinger” on someone rather than have a rational discussion, and for the benefit of other folks who are curious about my rating, I’ll try to explain. It can be challenging to put a number on something so subjective as wokeness. I could have weighed the number of minutes Saga was onscreen vs the number of minutes Alan was onscreen, and then I’d have come up with something closer to 50/50 – assuming that I didn’t have more trouble with Alan’s puzzles than Sagas and take longer to solve them. But almost nothing she actually did was woke. Saga could literally have been swapped back for the original caucasian actress and the game would have been identical except for a few racist lines she spews towards the very end. If they undid the race swap, how many people would still find it intolerably woke, because you play half the game as a woman instead of Alan? Should everything with any wokeness be labeled as 100% woke? (Because it kind of is.) What I chose to do instead, and I will explain again, was to compare the woke elements to the other story elements and explain the woke elements in explicit detail so you could make your own assessment based on your own values. Expect to always disagree with me, but expect me to always report what’s there so you can make your own assessment without having to play it yourself.

    2
    3

    Reply

    • Simon Westen

      January 5, 2024 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks, Robert. I originally had that linked in the review, but the link was accidentally removed.

      Reply

  • MrDraxs

    January 7, 2024 at 11:18 pm

    that’s enough information to know how woke this game is
    this review is wrong the game is woke and don’t even try to hide like spider-man 2.
    the game reviewer of this site should be analyzed and if deemed inappropriate changed.
    don’t come crying to say “oh but i only analyze what i see, please don’t be to harsh to me” this site exists only because people are tired of fake and wrong reviews made by people that are either buyed or follow THE MESSAGE.
    if is to write wrong reviews i recommend leaving or closing this site(if you are the owner of the site) and go to work for the other fake reviewers that are buyed by the industry.

    2
    1

    Reply

    • James Carrick

      January 8, 2024 at 12:08 am

      Reactionary binary thinking is the purview of the Left. If you disagree with Simon’s review, that’s fine. We leave the comments open for dissenting reviews as much as we do for anything else.

      So, feel free to leave a thoughtful review of your own. But simply attacking the reviewer and the site because you disagree doesn’t help anyone.

      Regardless of what the progressives would have us all believe, those on the Right are not ideological monoliths.

      It’s childish to judge the entire site on the basis of a single review that you disagree with.

      Reply

  • Alan Wake Up

    January 29, 2024 at 1:46 am

    After pushing through this game, I’m heartbroken that I waited so many years to play a race-swapped female that took the place of what was supposed to be the protagonist, Alan Wake. Then even after trying to ignore the wokeness in this game, I get slapped with a completely racist anti-white slur. You’re right, if anyone had said this about another race, this game would have never seen the shelves. I wish I could sell my digital copy or burn it. I’m over gaming. I’m just over it.

    Reply

    • Paul

      January 29, 2024 at 3:52 pm

      I really feel for you. That’s why I couldn’t go anywhere near this game. I would have been seething for days. Worst thing is, if I ever try to convey any of this wokeness in media to my wife, her conclusion is that I must just be a massive racist

      Reply

      • Robert Smith

        February 21, 2024 at 5:46 pm

        I feel you, Paul. The whole “If you don’t like this specific expression of racism, then you must be a racist!” lunacy is enough to make you lose your mind, especially if it is coming from someone you are close to. I’ve had my struggles with my wife on this issue as well, but I’ve slowly got her to come around, helped by the fact that some examples of woke racism are just so blatant, they’re hard to ignore (IF you are aware of them that is).

        I think it all comes down to ideology. To ideologues, the way they feel about their beliefs is all that matters, not the evidence or lack of same that might support or undermine those beliefs. It’s a very cult like way of thinking and I’m sorry to say it happens on both the left and the right, though the left has all the cultural power to push their ideology now in a way the right simply does not.

        Anyway, hang in their brother. I know how troubling this situation can be.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

   

GET NOTIFIED!

Latest Reviews

We'll email you a heads-up when we publish our latest reviews.

Look for your confirmation email

Look for your confirmation email

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply