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Should You Play the Special Episodes in Alan Wake?

Should You Play the Special Episodes in Alan Wake?

I recently had the absolute pleasure of experiencing Alan Wake just in time for the upcoming sequel. And, considering Remedy — the developer — had originally said that there would be no more games, I can only assume many other fans are just excited as I am for the next entry! That being said, some of you might be wondering if the Bonus Episodes are worth playing — or even maybe necessary — to fully enjoy Alan Wake 2, and to answer that, I'll be talking a bit about my experiences with them! 

Disclaimer: we will be heading into spoiler territory for Chapter 6: Departure's ending! 

1 Alan Wake 3

After nearly 20 hours of playing the game (most of that time spent looking for the manuscripts), the ending was a bit confusing. We know Alan gets to write the last page, and then we see Alice come out from the lake, along with a shot of the people in the town celebrating Deer Day, including Tor and Odin. And the only context we get? "It's not a lake; it's an ocean". The cryptic ending doesn't offer much to tell us what happened, and it left me feeling like there was barely a conclusion to Alan's story.

This vagueness wasn't cleared or explained by the developer, which left it up to us to decipher its cryptic meaning. So, if you — like me — are not into vague endings, then it's definitely worth playing the two special chapters. 

Throughout this extra bit of the story, Alan is stuck within the Dark Place in a state of dream-like confusion as he seemingly relives some of the events from his arrival at Bright Falls. Although we don't know for how long he's been like this, Thomas Zane mentions that Alan has been sinking deeper into the darkness and that he needs to focus on him in order to escape it.

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I felt like I got to understand more about who Alan is as a character within this additional content as we delve a bit into his subconscious and the struggles he faced before all the events of Bright Fall; his marriage, his insecurities, and his life before the darkness are touched on a bit more throughout this last bit of story.

Everything in the narrative unfolds quite quickly and without many detours or twists, so it doesn’t feel dragged out or needless, and you ultimately reach a much better conclusion to the narrative. This means that story-wise, it's definitely a good idea to play these two extra chapters — if not just to have more context, backstory, and understanding for Alan, then at least to set up a nice plot for Alan Wake 2.  

As for the gameplay, whilst the combat and enemies do not change — except perhaps more frequent boss fights than the main game — the narrative has some impact on how everything works. As an example, since the Dark Place has no rules or shape, you'll find yourself experiencing rather wacky situations, such as walking into a room and then finding yourself outside the house with no way back in. 

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Each chapter has its own collectibles and varies a bit in combat. As an example, during the first special chapter, you'll encounter quite a few possessed objects, and during the second one, there's more emphasis on bosses and waves of enemies. 

In my opinion, if you liked the game, it's worth diving back in to finish the two Special Chapters; they offer an interesting twist in gameplay, more context, and don't drag out too long. Plus, it's a great way to get hyped for Alan Wake 2!

Violet Plata

Violet Plata

Staff Writer

Liable to jump at her own shadow.

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