Alan Wake 2 Night Springs - Key Art

Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC Review – Fiction Becomes Reality

Releasing 13 years after the first game, Alan Wake 2 had an uphill battle ahead of it. Published by Epic Games as a digital-only game, it needed to be good enough for gamers to come out of their comfort zones and give it a chance, despite the odds against it. Luckily, the team at Remedy Entertainment delivered one of the best games of 2023. 

In a year full of amazing titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Resident Evil 4 Remake, Alan Wake 2 stood on its own two feet and offered an amazing story, gorgeous graphics, and a stellar soundtrack. And just like most of the past Remedy games, it was announced that it’ll get two story expansions post-launch. 

Night Springs is the first DLC to Alan Wake 2, expanding its world and giving fans a taste of what’s to come down the line in Remedy’s connected universe. But is it substantial enough for you to pick up a Season Pass right now or should you wait for the second DLC to drop before you dive in?

(For an overview of the original’s story and gameplay, see our Alan Wake 2 review)

TL;DR

Much like the original game, Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC is made with long-time fans in mind. It features three bite-sized journeys into Remedy’s multiverse, provides a few answers, and opens the door (pun intended) to a world of story possibilities.

A Three Episode Anthology

Before we discuss Night Springs, we need to set the stage for what it’s trying to do. Alan Wake and its sequel feature a fictional, in-universe TV show, Night Springs. It’s no secret that The Twilight Zone heavily inspires it. Alan wrote many of its episodes as a contracted TV writer. 

With Quantum Break and Control launching before Alan Wake 2, Remedy had already set the foundations for their ‘connected universe’. Control’s AWE DLC only cemented what fans suspected for years—all of Remedy’s games occur in the same world.

Night Springs (DLC) takes a TV series format, similar to the first Alan Wake. Technically, it takes place during Alan Wake 2, as Alan tries to find different ways to escape from the Dark Place. These Night Springs episodes represent drafts of his attempts to write an escape for himself. 

However, since that game is now out and ‘finished’ as a story (for now), these Night Springs episodes are fun little ‘what-if’ scenarios. Or are they? Let’s take a closer look.

Episode 1: Number One Fan

Number One Fan is a quirky episode starring Rose, Alan’s…well, guess what? She’s obsessed with Alan to the point where she sees the world through ‘rose-tinted glasses’, something that the game cleverly reflects in her point of view. 

Everything takes a shade of pink and Rose is minding her business tending to her diner. Suddenly, Alan, in the form of a talking fish, tells her he’s in danger and that she needs to save him. Rose, obviously, listens to the fish, grabs her shotgun and rifle (accessories as she calls them) and sets out to rescue him. 

Number One Fan is a charming but otherwise inconsequential episode. It’s fun to shoot Alan’s ‘haters’ as Rose calls them and explore the woods surrounding Bright Falls once again. But in terms of greater Remedy lore ramifications, it’s little more than an afterthought.

Episode 2: North Star

North Star is where things really pick up in Alan Wake 2 Night Springs. Players take control of Jesse Faden as she is searching for her missing brother in the leadup to Control. Jesse visits Coffee World, a tourist attraction outside of Bright Falls hoping to find clues about a mysterious government organization that kidnapped her brother.

Jesse controls much differently compared to Control given that she doesn’t have her Polaris powers yet. She plays just like Saga did in the original Alan Wake 2 and it works well enough. Her gameplay is more focused on survival horror and puzzles compared to Rose’s episode. She also comes across a mysterious police chief searching for people missing from Bright Falls (but more on him in a bit).

In this Night Springs episode, Sam Lake’s (the writer and creative director at Remedy) love for coffee really shines. The mysterious government organization is using coffee to control the population into doing their bidding.

So naturally, Jesse comes across plenty of funny but eerie videos and subliminal messages about how drinking coffee is good for you. The atmosphere of the original Alan Wake 2 shines through here and the episode feels like a natural part of the game’s world, even though Jesse comes from another. And speaking of…

Episode 3: Time Breaker

Time Breaker is a story of…Shawn Ashmore. He is a real-life Canadian actor working on a brand-new video game with Sam Lake, the creative director at Poison Pill Entertainment. Yes, they went there. 

In the original Alan Wake 2, Shawn Ashmore played Tim Breaker, the sheriff of Bright Falls who helps Saga solve the mystery of the Cult of Words. Here, he plays a ‘Time Breaker’ a multiversal agent who travels through parallel universes searching for Mr Door, his nemesis. 

Mr. Door is looking for different versions of Tim Breaker throughout the multiverse and eliminating him because he believes that one of these versions is The Chosen One. What this means, we’re still not sure. However, things quickly go south when the script Shawn is working with starts becoming a reality, just like the manuscript pages in Alan Wake 2. 

Shawn then hops through different realities, meeting different versions of himself, Jesse, and other Remedy characters hoping to find the right universe. It’s an amazing piece of storytelling that truly takes full advantage of its medium. After all, what are video games if not an interactive playground ripe with creative potential?

A Short and Sweet Experience

Even with its diverse range of stories and locations, Alan Wake 2 Night Springs will take you about 3-4 hours to complete in total. It’s a bite-sized DLC in every sense of the word, but that’s not a bad thing. 

Long-time fans of Remedy’s games will rejoice at the fact that Quantum Break has finally, kind-of, sort-of, become a part of the official canon (in no small part due to Microsoft holding the rights to that game with an iron grip).

The DLC also does a great job of balancing the three episodes’ unique atmospheres. Rose’s pink-coloured fan fiction is distinct from Jesse’s exploration of Bright Falls with Polaris by her side. As for Shawn, well, his journey gets very Dr Who-esque and saying anything more would be a massive spoiler.

On the other hand, players who only played Alan Wake 2 and were expecting a more traditional DLC that adds more story to the original scenario may be in for a disappointment. This is not Alan Wake 2.5 or an epilogue to Saga’s story. The gameplay and presentation are identical to the original game as well, so there’s nothing ‘new’ here. As with any other entertainment product, your mileage will vary.

Conclusion – Should you Play Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC?

Night Springs is a creative, charming, but ultimately very short DLC. Objectively, players should wait for the second DLC, The Lake House, to drop before picking up the Season Pass. Then, two very different but complementary DLCs will be available to you with more value overall. 

For anyone who picked up the Deluxe Edition on launch, this is a great little DLC to sink your teeth into as we anticipate the bigger, Control-oriented expansion to launch sometime later in 2024. Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC is available now on the Epic Games store on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S. Likewise, a physical release has been announced for October 22nd, 2024.

Rastislav Filip

Posts published: 51

Professional copywriter, full-time nerd, and a loving husband. Loves playing JRPGs and story-driven games, binging TV shows, and reading sci-fi/fantasy books. Probably writes content in his sleep.