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I sobbed like a baby at the end of this game.
I can't believe RGG managed to make a short game that bridges Kiryu's story between LAD 6 and 7 this damn good. Kiryu is one of my all-time favorite characters in gaming and fiction as a whole, and getting to play as him again after so long was so nice. The combat was as good as it's ever been and the final boss fight was a satisfyingly tough fight that I really enjoyed. The new characters were all great and the story, while short, did a great job at explaining what happened between 6 and 7 before Infinite Wealth comes out next year.
I love this series so fucking much, and this is up there with 0, 6 and 7 as one of my all-time favorites. Kiryu is such an amazing character, and I truly can't believe how much of an emotional gut-punch the ending was; I don't often cry at games but I feel like I've invested so much time and emotional energy into this man's journey that it almost felt cathartic to cry. This was a such a special gaming experience and I'm so glad I got to play it.
I've been waiting to write this review since I played the campaign early. This is the worst CoD campaign by far (even Ghosts has a better campaign and that game is objectively bad) and a major disappointment for me as a long-time CoD fan.
I was cautiously optimistic about the new open-combat missions; I'm always supportive of studios trying to change up their gameplay formula in order to innovate on existing ideas. Unfortunately, they missed the mark entirely with these missions. The missions have essentially no narrative focus outside of a brief cutscene at the beginning and end, and some incessant radio chatter in-between if you're not completing your objectives fast enough. These missions essentially feel like watered-down versions of DMZ maps in Warzone and I ended up dreaded seeing the "open-combat mission" pop-up while I was playing.
Speaking of Warzone, the blatant re-use of assets from Verdansk is wild. I immediately recognized several parts of the map while I was playing and couldn't believe that they had cut this many corners in trying to ship this game out in less than a year.
I've always given this series the benefit of the doubt since I have a soft spot for it, but this kind of feels like the last straw for me. The fact that I paid $70 for a campaign that barely lasted 4 hours and was this low quality is infuriating, and this feels like a low point for the series. I'm hoping with the recent Microsoft acquisition that the CoD teams can take a step back and re-evaluate because this emphasis on micro-transactions and Warzone over a good campaign just isn't it.
An absolute masterpiece from Remedy. This game is leaps and bounds better than the first game and is my favorite game in their catalogue by a mile.
Alan Wake II is such a wonderfully strange and passionate project - I'm so glad we have games this weird being made in 2023 without developers needing to compromise on their vision. Remedy has perfected their craft here - the story is absurd and entertaining, the graphics, art direction and presentation are absolutely insane (the mix of in-engine and live-video cutscenes was genius) and the gameplay is fun and doesn't overstay its welcome (probably the weakest part of the package but not bad at all; it felt much better than the first game).
I have to give a special shout-out to the sound design in this game - it's truly top notch. I highly recommend playing with headphones; the music and sound effects create an incredibly tense atmosphere that immersed me the entire time. I was genuinely creeped out from the sound design alone and it made the experience that much better.
As I've slowly been making my way through Remedy's catalogue the last few years I've realized that they're one of the most talented developers working today. You can tell that they put their all into their projects and that they're true labors of love. Alan Wake II was one of the best gaming experiences I've had this year and I'm beyond excited to dig deeper into their Remedy Connected Universe in the years to come.