Alan Wake II: Night Springs Review – Fanfiction, Demonic Coffee, And The Multiverse

Summer Games Fest (SGF) and the days surrounding it with all the showcases and game reveals are one of the most exciting times a year for some of us; at least they are for me. But this year what I was looking forward to most wasn’t a new announcement from a favorite developer or the gameplay reveal of a previously announced game. It was nothing more than a DLC. Developer Remedy Entertainment had been teasing heavily that an expansion for their horror game Alan Wake II (2023) would be revealed at SGF, but I didn’t expect Night Springs, published once again by Epic Games, would drop only a day after its reveal too. Not that I mind; I gladly dropped everything else to continue the story of my personal 2024 game of the year.

Anyone who goes into Night Springs expecting a direct continuation of Alan Wake II’s story will be disappointed because that’s not at all what this is. Night Springs is pretty clearly inspired by The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964) and features three episodes, each with an introduction appendix from Warlin Door, of alternate universe ‘what if’ takes on characters and locations from Alan Wake II (and Control (2019)). While one of them does hint at the future of Remedy’s universe, this DLC is more about the absurdity of these alternate scenarios and the fun that can be had if you don’t take your silly characters too seriously at all times. Something Remedy admittedly never had much of a problem with. We all still remember the musical scene.

Bask in the glory of Rose’s pink sun

In the first episode Number One Fan, we finally get to play as fan favorite Rose, as it’s her time to step up and save her personal hero Alan Wake, who desperately needs her help. Since all three of these episodes are rather short at about an hour each, I will refrain from talking about narrative too much outside of their basic setups so as not to spoil any surprises, but it’s hilarious how this episode plays with the common tropes of fanfiction. So naturally it doesn’t take long for the story to introduce Alan Wake’s evil twin brother, who, unlike the well-mannered and innocent Alan Wake, is a bad boy with an attitude who wears a leather jacket and is never found without his motorcycle. The whole episode plays into Rose’s delusions in delightful ways. Even before she becomes a kickass action hero, she’s the most revered person in the town with her trusty diner.

While the episode reuses familiar locations from the base game (all three episodes do for the record), the aesthetics have changed to adapt to this kind of story. The diner itself is gorgeous, with pink walls and teal highlights and good vibes all around. Even the sunset outside only bathes the landscape in bright pink light that washes out any color you would expect to find here. In Number One Fan, it truly is Rose’s world, and we’re just lucky to be living in it.

Whatever’s in there can’t be too bad… right?

In episode two of North Star, we get to play Jesse Faden, the main character from Control (2019), although she’s not technically the same Jesse Faden, even if she looks suspiciously similar and has basically the same backstory. She comes into town looking for her lost brother and starts to uncover a mysterious conspiracy. Could there be a cult worshipping coffee hiding here? It’s up to her and officer Tim Breaker to find out. This is definitely the silliest episode of the bunch, as you try to find a way into the coffee warehouse without being unwillingly indoctrinated into the coffee cult. It’s also easily the weakest one, which isn’t to say it’s bad; I enjoyed the silliness of it all, but there’s not much to hold on to here once you’re done.

The last story starts with Shawn Ashmore—yes, a fictionalized version of the actor himself—and Sam Lake in a film studio as they’re shooting footage for the new video game they’re working on together. One that in parts sounds suspiciously like a sequel to Quantum Break (2016)—although for legal reasons it could of course never be that—that introduces the idea of the multiverse, a world in which endless parallel realities can coexist next to one another, leading to endless possibilities. Unfortunately for Shawn Ashmore, he might soon find himself within that video game. This one is the hardest to discuss, but let me just say that the creativity on display here is unbelievable and exactly the kind of thing you expect Remedy to deliver more than anyone else in the industry. It’s clearly the strongest of the three stories and by itself would probably garner a perfect score from me. It also reintroduces the comic book presentation that we’ve seen in past Remedy titles, most notably Max Payne, but this time illustrated by artist Christian Ward, someone who I’ve been a personal fan of already, and he absolutely kills it here as well.

I simply adore Christian Ward’s artstyle

Night Springs suffers from the same issue any anthology does, which is very simply that not all stories are of the same quality. Nevertheless, all three episodes are fun in how joyfully they embrace the silliness found in Remedy’s work and dial them up to eleven. If you’re a fan of Alan Wake II or just Remedy at large, there’s really no good reason to skip this.

Nairon played Alan Wake II: Night Springs on PC with his own copy.

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