Alan Wake 2: Night Springs DLC review — Poetry in brilliant, ridiculous, and violent motion

After a little bit of time to digest everything it did, Alan Wake 2 was my game of the year for 2023. It did things no other game that year had, and you won’t play anything like it (my review here). I’ve been patiently waiting for the DLC, and once Sam Lake danced across the stage at Summer Game Fest, I knew it was soon. Didn’t expect the next day, and after a crazy week at the show, I finally made it to my home and was able to dive into Night Springs.

Alan Wake 2 – Night Springs Expansion Trailer | Summer Game Fest 2024

First off, the Night Springs motif is perfectly chosen. This isn’t anything canon (we think), but instead a Twilight Zone-esque look into the multiverse where we get different possibilities. I love it, because that allows Remedy to go absolutely insane with their creations and let their innate creativity shine through.

I also have to applaud the choice of characters. I’m not exactly sure who I would have chosen for the three episodes, but these are the best ones possible. Rose, the Alan Wake obsessed diner girl, Jesse Faden from Control, and Tim Breaker, the sheriff who randomly pops up in Alan Wake 2, all are fantastic choices that are iconic enough to make you curious as to their place in the wider multiverse. Also, these are not at all the same characters present in their video games, as each introduction makes mention of their resemblance to the ones existing in Alan Wake. And can we give David Harewood some credit for another outstanding performance as Mr. Door?

Episode 1 begins with Rose in “Number One Fan”. This one is just straight up violent and chaotic; over the top in the best ways possible. You play as Rose, but in this bonkers reality where everyone is in love with how great Rose is. Everything from her waitressing to how well she supports Alan is being praised. Suddenly, a message from Alan comes from the trophy fish on the wall of her office and, after procuring some supplies from the kitchen, it’s time to save her man.

This all plays out in a way that is tough to describe, and that’s because the premise is so ridiculous. It’s loads of fun though, with a nearly unlimited amount of ammunition and hilarious soundtrack. There’s nothing to this episode that has any of Alan Wake 2’s horror vibe beyond the Taken, and the bright flourish to everything is much appreciated. The dialogue tends to be a bit on the nose, but it works in this instance. I think the only complaint I can even have is that it’s very short, and I want more (which I could say about the entire DLC, even if it’s reasonably priced). Rose gets her own game when?

The second episode is North Star, following another version of Jesse Faden, referred to as “The Sibling”. She’s still looking for her brother, and this is a timeline in which she doesn’t go to the Oldest House, meaning she has no superpowers. This did put a damper on my spirits of this one, as though it has some great storytelling, it’d have been crazy to experience Alan Wake 2 with the supernatural abilities Jesse eventually receives.

Jesse arrives right outside of Coffee World, with Polaris (her invisible alien friend) guiding her to the password to get in the gates. Something to mention about all three of these episodes is the proper reuse of assets in a DLC. Here, it’s about the setting, and how those settings have been intentionally recrafted for the stories they’ve made. Remedy is a master of their craft, and it shows in how they’ve built this world.

What ensues here is definitely much more horror than Rose endured. There’s a melding of the Dark Place and real world with the shadows that attack, and though this one mirrors the previous in having loads of ammo, the tension is heavy. What comes across as funny is that this is all over a government conspiracy told to us by Tim Breaker of… deep state coffee science. The coffee propaganda is real folks.

Another thing that’s different is how North Star is less straightforward than Number One Fan. There are layers here in discovering how to open a warehouse to find your brother, which involves back tracking and uncovering new details. It’s not hard or takes too long by any means, but in overall length, it feels just right. After you get into that warehouse, there’s a quick gameplay moment that is unique, trying to find the key to the office while the coffee mascots roam, knowing that if they find you, you’re a goner. There are some Amnesia vibes here, if only for a moment.

Moving into the third episode, we find Tim Breaker in “Time Breaker”. Except, this isn’t Tim Breaker, but a real fourth wall break with an alternate reality Shawn Ashmore shooting a video game FMV scene with Sam Lake at Poison Pill Entertainment. It starts with so many laughs, listening to Sam going interdimensional with his explanations of the multiverse in how the video game’s story will work. There’s also a cheeky reference to Shawn knowing how to play a superhero, appreciated by myself. Overall, this feels like a natural conversation the two would have (they could have shot this during a regular day at the studio and I wouldn’t be surprised). It also is one that makes you at least question what Remedy might be going for in this Remedy-verse they’re constructing.

As Shawn makes his way to his dressing room, he finds another version of himself dead, with the pages Sam has written on the floor describing that exact situation. It’s a meta moment, almost a recreation of Alan Wake’s original idea. The story leans into what we found in Alan Wake 2’s version of Tim, with him trying to find Mr. Door and that he might be a bigger villain than we think. It adds some very interesting context to Mr. Door as well, and like the explanations of the multiverse earlier it makes you wonder what might correlate to the Mr. Door of AW2.

This adventure is the longest and maybe most mind-bending of the three. There is so much happening, with so many twists in both the story and gameplay that you’ll really have to play it yourself to see what I’m talking about. Like Jesse’s Coffee World expedition, Remedy’s reuse of the Oceanview Hotel is awesome, again proving to be a worthwhile bet to recycle a level into something fresh. Also, a specific artistic direction in the third act is especially satisfying.

While I smiled at one of the gameplay changes Remedy tried out, a big grin spread across my face at their final gameplay choice at the end. I know I’m being cryptic, but this is really something I don’t want to spoil. Time Breaker makes great use of its experimental medium, and its remix of familiar mechanics, like the PRS equaling the Angel Lamp. The ending is also spectacular in a way only Remedy can do it. When can we get this Tim Breaker in his own video game? I know y’all will say Quantum Break but it’s not the same.

There’s plenty more I could say, like how we finally have photo mode, how the gameplay is just as satisfying as Alan Wake 2, and how it’s still drop dead gorgeous. In the end, it’s more of one of my favorite games. It’s a bit short, but it’s great to jump back into something from Remedy.

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David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.



Alan Wake 2: Night Springs

Review Guidelines

Where some teams would stay safe in their additional downloadable offerings, building on the foundation laid by the full game, Remedy has gone wild. This is exactly the kind of episodic content I’m looking for. While I’m sure the upcoming Lake House DLC will further our connections to Control, I’m glad Remedy took the time to make something wholly unique, which is what that studio is.

David Burdette

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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