Alan Wake 2 may not be the most complicated game out there, especially when it comes to its gameplay, but its survival horror trappings have the potential to throw players that may not be used to the genre off. While the game quite certainly makes use of horror tropes, like ammo scarcity and enemies that, while tougher than other games, are fewer in numbers, the game also has some quirks unique to itself, especially when it comes to using tools like the flashlight. Without further ado, here are 10 tips and tricks to help you start off your investigation into spooky cult stuff right.
Keep an eye on your reserves
Above everything else, Alan Wake 2 is still a survival horror game, and like other titles in the genre, it can get rather stingy with how many resources you’ll have on hand. It’s worth keeping an eye on not only your ammo, but also other consumable items, like flashlight battery packs, trauma packs, and painkillers. Especially in the early chapters, you’ll often find yourself carrying little more than 12 extra bullets and a single bottle of painkillers, with a couple of strong enemies breathing down your neck. While it never really gets unmanageable, getting a handle on resource management early on will pay dividends as you get further into the game.
The head isn’t always the enemy’s weak point
While most of the enemies you fight in Alan Wake 2, especially early on, are essentially human-shaped, it’s worth keeping in mind that the head isn’t necessarily the weakest part of the monster. In fact, you’ll have to make use of your flashlight and its precious batteries to try and expose the real location of the weak point. As such, constantly trying to take down enemies with headshots will ultimately amount to little more than wasted bullets.
Heal between fights, and dodge often
Healing items in Alan Wake 2 aren’t quite as efficient as they are in other horror titles; actually using a healing item involves quite a few steps, from going into your inventory to equip them to holding down a button to actually use them, all the while trying to potentially avoid enemy attacks. With how the combat in Alan Wake 2 is designed, it will always make more sense to put off healing for as long as you possibly can. Instead, make heavy use of the dodge button. Take the time to heal up between combat encounters, since the game is generally good about giving you a few seconds to catch your breath between fights.
Explore as much as you can
Since Alan Wake 2 is a survival horror game, sticking to the main path as you make your way through the game’s story will ultimately mean you lose out on quite a bit. Aside from collectible items and fun references to Remedy’s other titles, you’ll also quite likely miss out on quite a bit of extra story that can be found all over the game’s setting. A lot of this extra story—primarily helping out with world building—is also combined with an item you need to find to upgrade protagonist Saga Anderson’s weapons in the form of torn up manuscript scraps. Exploring on the side path can also quite often reward you with extra supplies, like ammo and healing items.
Don’t be afraid of the dark
Light and dark are a major part of the themes in Alan Wake 2, and with enemies being as strong as they, your own scarce resources might compel you to to avoid exploration, or even combat at certain points. Getting used to the darkness all over Alan Wake 2 is an important thing to master, since exploration is often quite rewarding. It also helps that your flashlight is more than capable in helping you fight off just about any enemies you find. Exploring through darker places will also inevitably lead you to brightly-lit safe zones where you can catch your breath, and even charge up some of your flashlight’s batteries.
Weapon upgrades, while small, can add up
The single biggest reward you can get for taking the less-traveled path in order to explore your surroundings properly will be items that let you get some upgrades. It’s worth noting that, especially in the early game, these upgrades won’t really be that notable; you might be able to upgrade your damage, or maybe even get a bigger magazine. Over time, however, these upgrades definitely add up to the extent that ignoring this aspect of the game just isn’t all that feasible. You’ll want to get your hands on as many upgrades as possible, especially since the game will eventually start throwing more and more tougher and stronger enemies at you.
Use and abuse the safe zones in combat
A lot of the core combat for Saga Anderson will revolve around trying to make your way to the next well-lit safe zone, especially early on when you’re severely lacking in resources. Thankfully, Alan Wake 2 also encourages you to make good use of these safe zones, especially if you have enemies chasing you. Standing in light makes you essentially invisible to all enemies, and you can even take the chance to charge up some of your flashlight batteries.
The Case Board explains a lot of the story
The most complicated thing about Alan Wake 2 is most certainly its mind-bending story, and the single best aspect to help you out in that department is the rather exhaustive Case Board in Saga Anderson’s Mind Place. The case board lets you throw up clues on the wall to figure out how they connect with each other. You also get to have multiple active cases going on at any given time, each neatly separated through the use of “folders” in a cabinet. Getting used to the case wall is a big part of properly deciphering the game’s story, and is well worth your time.
Profiling characters will often lead you to your next objective
It’s easy to get stuck, especially in some of the earlier parts of Alan Wake 2, since you’re scrounging around for as many clues as you can possibly find to figure out a way forward. Thankfully, the game also provides Saga Anderson with the ability to profile certain characters. This means that Anderson can essentially try and deduce that character’s next move. Profiling characters also sometimes helps fill in more of the case board, giving you a much clearer picture of exactly what’s happening in the world.
The Mind Place is not always a safe space
As useful as the Mind Place can be when it comes to figuring out the main story of Alan Wake 2—and you’ll definitely be spending quite a bit of time in the Mind Place as you read through Alan Wake’s manuscripts, catch up on some tunes at the radio, or even check out some of the fantastic live action cutscenes at the TV—it’s easy to forget that the game doesn’t really pause when you’re there. This means that, if you pick up a clue in the middle of a fight, you might want to put off visiting the case board until you either finish the fight, or at least find a lit-up safe spot before you head to the Mind Place.