The all singing, all dancing Alan Wake 2 told our favourite story of the year—progressing Remedy’s shared universe in myriad weird and wonderful ways. For more awards, head to our Game of the Year 2023 page.
Jacob Ridley, Senior Hardware Editor: A blend of entertaining horror and surreal scenes, Alan Wake 2 manages to keep you along for the ride through every twist and turn. You might find yourself trapped in the Dark Place and a never-ending talk show, but you can always rely on quality case work and a fine attention to detail to figure out what the heck is actually happening in the woods in Washington.
For my sins, I’ve started to get the itch to drop back into Alan Wake 2 even after completing it. I feel like I wasn’t quite ready to put it down by the end, which is not something I say too often of a horror game. Between the gorgeous and year-making graphics and the light-hearted musical moments, I’m stuck spiralling until the sequel or a morsel of DLC.
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: I’d be happy to play an entire game as Saga, Alan’s new FBI buddy. I don’t like playing as a cop, and the FBI are the worst kind, but I’m a sucker for a game that properly lets you get stuck into the investigative side of police work. Connecting clues with string and profiling characters with Saga’s supernatural skills was honestly a lot more fun than shooting spooky shadow monsters. I know we’ve given this Best Story, but for me it’s all about the police procedural stuff.
Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: When it comes to videogame Twin Peaks riffs released in 2010 and filtered through a non-US perspective, I always preferred Deadly Premonition to Alan Wake. Alan Wake 2, though? This is the first thing, the first work of fiction to hit the same sweet spot for me as Twin Peaks’ perfect third season, The Return, showing the passage of time weathering characters you’ve come to know, their unresolved crises rising to the surface once again in an America gone sour. I am now so much more appreciative of that first game, knowing it led to this.
As much as Alan Wake 2 consciously references The Return and the 2014 mystery classic, True Detective, it doesn’t feel imitative. This is a phenomenal horror story, and a technical achievement as well, marrying some of the most photorealistic graphics I’ve ever seen with inspired art direction.
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)
Robin Valentine, Senior Editor: We’re giving Alan Wake 2 Best Story, but you could just as well call it Most Story. The thing that’s so striking for me about the game is how many different, layered ways it gets its narrative across—the seamless blending of traditional cutscenes, live action sequences, conversations, manuscript pages and documents, radio programs, TV commercials, music, environmental design, investigation pinboards… it’s a game about writing but also a game full of writing, all of it woven together so densely into this big, weird, messy, totally unique perspective.
Remedy’s enthusiasm and creativity just bursts out of every pore of the experience, and that’s such a magical thing to see in a big budget, technical showcase of a game like this. So it’s all the more exciting that this feels like only the beginning of a new connected universe that brings together all of the studio’s work to date.
Sarah James, Guides Writer: I’m the opposite of Fraser and found the investigation stuff a bit tedious. Playing as Saga and investigating crime scenes or following leads was fine, but having to return to the Mind Place to mess around with clues on the board or to profile the people you met got annoying fast and I’d find myself rushing through it so I could get back out into the “real world”. The concept itself is solid and I’d probably have enjoyed it if it wasn’t in a survival horror game.