Alan Wake 2 guide to surviving the horrors within

By Jason Rodriguez, Contributor
Your journey in Alan Wake 2 takes you to Bright Falls, a quaint town in Washington. But something evil stirs in the shadows, which leads you to delve deeper into the Dark Place and the Overlaps created between worlds. As you continue onward in this survival horror game developed by Remedy Entertainment, you’ll battle countless foes, unravel hidden mysteries, and watch mind-bending occurrences unfold all around you.

We’ve put together this Alan Wake 2 beginner’s guide with many tips to help you survive your adventure. Likewise, we discuss several facets that are integral to your progression in the campaign. Just remember: You have to finish the story before it finishes you.

Stay in the light

At its core, Alan Wake 2 is about the eternal struggle between light and dark (which is referenced several times during the campaign). The forces of darkness, the Taken, are numerous, and they can easily bring you down if you’re not careful.

This is where Safe Havens come in. These are areas of the map that have bright lights. Standing within the light replenishes a small amount of your health. Moreover, most shadow-infused enemies won’t detect you at all, so you can let them pass by as you get ready to make a run for it. However, if you attack or move away from that spot, the light will be disabled temporarily, so be careful.

Take note of Break Room locations and save often
Alan Wake 2 Our Guide To Surviving The Horrors Within Break
Break Rooms are akin to save points, and they’re found in various locations. These, too, have bright lights, so you won’t need to worry about hostiles. Still, be mindful of your surroundings, as certain huts that have Break Rooms might require you to activate a generator before power is restored. This is done by pressing the Enter key with the proper timing.

Once inside a Break Room, interact with the thermos to create a manual save or a quicksave. These should aid you in the tougher encounters and long treks that await.

Use the light against your foes and aim for their weak spots

Similar to the first game, you’ll be using your trusty flashlight in this sequel to blind, stun, and weaken opponents. The flashlight is turned on by pressing the “E” key, and you can activate a boost by pressing the middle mouse button. This removes the darkness shield protecting an enemy target, and usually stuns them temporarily. Moreover, if a weak spot is revealed via a red glow, you can shoot that to deal tremendous damage.

Be warned: Your flashlight only has a select few charges. Shining a light normally won’t deplete your charges, but activating the boost will. You need to be mindful of when you’ll use it against opponents and when to run away. Likewise, the flashlight boost is used to clear darkness orbs that block pathways, so you'll need them to make your way forward. Lastly, you should be on the lookout for batteries that you can pick up, as these add an extra charge.

Item drops are randomized (and based on difficulty)

You’re not always guaranteed to find items in every container in Alan Wake 2. It seems that a different system governs this particular mechanic, and it's also somewhat randomized. For instance, if you open a drawer in a specific room, there’s a chance you might find a Trauma Pad inside. However, reloading your save and reopening the same drawer might yield something different, or perhaps nothing at all. There are even instances when you might find a battery, perhaps if your flashlight charges are low. It’s the game’s way of lending you a hand when you need it most.
Alan Wake 2 Our Guide To Surviving The Horrors Within Saga
The campaign’s difficulty seems to affect this, too. Normal Mode offers a balanced experience, intended for those who are familiar with survival horror games. There’s also Story Mode, which yields more items and makes combat a lot easier. And, of course, there’s Hard Mode, which is definitely punishing. You may change these options by pausing the game at any time, so you don't have to stick to your original choice.

Manage your inventory by using quick slots and the shoebox storage

While we’re on the subject of items, it’s always a good idea to manage your inventory in Alan Wake 2. That’s because your characters have limited inventory space, and certain gear pieces take up two or more slots.

While you can acquire certain upgrades as you progress, it’s better to store gear pieces, ammo, and healing kits that you don’t need in shoeboxes, which can be found in Break Rooms. Likewise, you should be sure to assign a quick slot button for your weapons and healing items. This is done by opening your inventory, selecting an item, and choosing a quick slot key. This should help in case you need to swap weapons quickly or restore your HP.

Make use of the Switch Reality mechanic

The game features two playable protagonists: Alan Wake and Saga Anderson. You’ll go through their respective story arcs in a straightforward manner early in the campaign. However, at a certain point, just after Initiation 3: Haunting, you can make use of the Switch Reality mechanic.

This feature is available in Break Rooms with a Janitor’s Bucket. By interacting with the spilled water, you can swap between Saga and Alan. This allows you to jump to the other protagonist’s perspective whenever you feel like it, or if you just want a change of pace.

Use Saga's and Alan’s respective investigation techniques

Alan and Saga have their own means of investigating their surroundings. Saga, an FBI detective, relies on her Mind Place, where she pieces together evidence and profiles persons of interest. As you gather more clues, she'll come up with deductions, and more dialogue option will become available. These, in turn, allow you to progress further through her story. In the end, once you’ve found all the evidence, you’ll be able to close each case.

Alan, the celebrated author of mystery and horror novels, lets his imagination run wild, both literally and figuratively. His Writer’s Room has a board that allows him to pen another storyline arc or plot point, thereby changing the world around him. For instance, a hotel might have locked doors, but you can use a relevant plot point to change the scene, which opens the way forward. Alan also uses a device called the Angel Lamp, which gathers light and alters the layout of a room to reveal pathways.

Find all collectibles and upgrades

The zones that you can explore in Alan Wake 2 are full of goodies. In Saga’s story, you collect lunchboxes pertaining to a popular detective, unlock stashes left by cultists, and solve puzzles in the guise of nursery rhymes. As for Alan, you’ll discover echoes of a story that’s waiting to happen, as well as glyphs that can only be seen if you shine your flashlight on them.
Alan Wake 2 Our Guide To Surviving The Horrors Within Glyph
Both characters also have their own upgrade mechanics. The materials that Saga finds in lunchboxes can be used to upgrade her weapons. Meanwhile, Alan's Word of Power glyphs let you select passive perks.

Be on the lookout for Tim Breaker

Fans of Remedy Entertainment’s previous game Quantum Break are in for a treat. That’s because Shawn Ashmore, who played that game's character Jack Joyce, also has a role in Alan Wake 2.

This time, he plays a character named Tim Breaker, which is a funny nod to his role in Quantum Break. During Alan’s chapters, you might hear someone humming a tune, indicating that Tim is somewhere nearby. Chat with him and interact with the map on his board. This will reveal various collectibles and loot stashes in the general vicinity.

Backtrack to previously visited areas

Unlike the first game, Alan Wake 2 is far from linear. The zones that you get to explore might have hidden secrets, such as the aforementioned collectibles, that can only be obtained after certain events have transpired.

For instance, parts of Cauldron Lake are flooded at the start of the game. However, once you’ve solved the mystery, those areas become accessible, and you might find some cool rewards there waiting for you. In Alan’s case, certain echo scenes only appear once you’ve reached later chapters. It’s also worth backtracking to places that you’ve visited just in case you think you missed out on something.

These are our tips to help you survive in Alan Wake 2, which is available now on the Epic Games Store. Whether you’re escaping a dark realm or breaking reality, the horrors that await will test your mettle. Likewise, those who are keen on seeing how the story came to be should check out Alan Wake Remastered, as well as its standalone expansion American Nightmare.

If you’re wondering about which bonuses are viable throughout the campaign, we’ve got you covered in our best weapons and Words of Power upgrades guide.