Alan Wake 2 guide to the best weapons and Words of Power upgrades

By Jason Rodriguez, Contributor
Alan Wake 2 is the newest survival horror game from Remedy Entertainment. Your enemies are relentless, and they will take you out if you’re not careful. Still, there are various ways to even the odds, including perks that significantly boost your character’s combat capabilities and survivability.

Fear not: You've got our guide on the best upgrades in Alan Wake 2. First, we discuss the ideal options for your weapons when playing as Saga Anderson. Likewise, we talk about our top picks among the Word of Power glyphs that you’ll discover while playing as Alan Wake.

How to unlock the best weapon upgrades as Saga Anderson

You begin the campaign proper as Saga Anderson, an FBI agent investigating a case in the towns of Cauldron Lake and Bright Falls. As you continue to progress further, you’ll acquire various armaments, including the Crossbow and the Pump-action Shotgun.

As for weapon upgrades, the materials themselves are called Manuscript Fragments. These come from Alex Casey Lunchboxes, a type of collectible found in various areas that you visit during Saga’s chapters. While exploring, you might notice colorful ornaments that hang from trees, as well as painted rocks. These indicate that a lunchbox collectible is nearby, and Saga herself will make a remark if you’re close to one.
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The best weapon upgrade options

You can upgrade your weapons as Saga by going to your Mind Place and selecting the option on the workbench. Each weapon upgrade requires a specific amount of Manuscript Fragments. Once obtained, the perk will remain permanently active. You may then select another perk or save your materials for other firearms.

However, bear in mind that materials are limited, even when you’re almost finished with the campaign. As such, the best weapon upgrades in Alan Wake 2 still depend on your preferred armaments and playstyle.
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Pistol upgrades
  • Again and Again—Hold the fire button to activate automatic fire.
  • More Bullets—Increases the magazine size by 50%.
  • Another Headshot—Land two headshots in quick succession to stun an enemy for an extended duration.
The Pistol is a weapon that you’ll often use throughout the campaign. We preferred the More Bullets upgrade, so we didn’t need to reload as often.

Sawed-off Shotgun upgrades
  • Fluid Motion—Increases reload speed.
  • Out of Action—Deals increased damage against enemies that are stunned, blinded, or knocked down.
  • Ready For More—Kill an enemy to restore health; the amount restored depends on the strength of the enemy.
Ready For More is one of the best upgrades in Alan Wake 2. The Sawed-off Shotgun’s devastating blasts at close-range take out hostiles which, in turn, replenish a bit of your HP. It's very useful in a survival horror game with limited healing.

Crossbow upgrades
  • Pull the String—Hold the fire button to draw the Crossbow further for increased damage and a straighter arc.
  • Two Shots—You can shoot two bolts before needing to reload.
  • Magnetic Pull—Bolts lodged into enemies will attract bullets fired near them.
Sadly, we didn’t use the Crossbow that often. The Taken enemies in Alan Wake 2 tend to move erratically, which means perfect headshots are required. If you miss, the Crossbow’s long reload time will put you at a great disadvantage.

Hunting Rifle upgrades
  • Feedback Loop—Consecutive successful hits significantly reduce the time between shots.
  • Kill Shot—Stand still to enter an improved focus mode, granting perfect accuracy, shots that pull toward enemy weak spots, and increased damage.
  • Way Home—Bullets penetrate an enemy’s darkness shield.
The Hunting Rifle is extremely powerful, and is a viable option in medium-to-long-range engagements. The only downside is that you’ll spend most of the game in cramped areas and narrow pathways. Still, you can’t go wrong with Kill Shot, as long as you remember to dodge blows when necessary.
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Pump-action Shotgun upgrades
  • Stay On Course—Stand still and aim steadily at a target to reduce kickback and pellet spread; increases damage.
  • Under Control—Move faster while aiming.
  • Faster and Faster—Hold the fire button to activate automatic fire.
The Pump-action Shotgun deals unrivaled damage in terms of raw and sustained output. This is further complemented by Faster and Faster—the automatic fire might use up a lot of ammo, but you’ll shred most foes with ease.

How to unlock the best Words of Power upgrades as Alan Wake

Alan Wake, meanwhile, has his own upgrade mechanic, which involves Words of Power. These are glyphs that you can only see when you have your flashlight turned on.

In certain areas, you might notice glowing arrows that point toward a spot. As you approach the location, you’ll discover a circular glyph. Center your aim to make the screen flicker, and the Word of Power will be granted to you.
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The best Words of Power upgrades

When it comes to the best Words of Power upgrades in Alan Wake 2, it’s important to remember that each Word of Power glyph belongs to a particular type or category—there are seven categories with three perks each. These perks might also have additional nodes or levels, which means you can discover more of the same glyphs as you explore to increase a perk’s effectiveness.

Likewise, you should consider your preferred playstyle and game difficulty. At Normal or Hard difficulty, survival is of the utmost importance and, as such, you’ll need increased healing and damage to overcome the odds.

Words of Fix perks
  • Wellness Retreat—Increases maximum health.
  • God Rays—Increases the maximum amount of health restored in Safe Havens.
  • Wheels Within Wheels—Restores a percentage of your maximum health whenever a new Word of Power is discovered.
Wellness Retreat is the most reliable option here, since you’ll gain a permanent boost to your max HP. Once you’ve obtained the highest tier, you can choose God Rays so you can replenish more HP in Safe Havens.

Words of Gun perks
  • Roulette—Provides a chance to not consume ammo when firing your Revolver.
  • Personal Space—Increases the knockback force of the Double-Barreled Shotgun.
  • Sunny Skies—Increases the area of effect of the Flare Gun’s explosion.
Sunny Skies is a great option if you like using your Flare Gun. There’s also Personal Space for those who like to get in the fray with the Double-Barreled Shotgun.

Words of War perks
  • Full Stop—Increases the damage dealt by the last bullet in the Revolver’s chamber.
  • Paint the Town—Increases the damage of the Double-Barreled Shotgun when hitting multiple enemies with a single blast.
  • Goes Around—Restores a percentage of your max health when you land a direct hit with the Flare Gun.
Both Paint the Town and Goes Around are good upgrades to have. The former is a bit situational, since you do need to have shadow hostiles already revealed as corporeal enemies, and you need to hit several with a single shot. The latter is more useful, especially for the extra healing, which is especially nice to have.

Words of Stuff perks
  • Tourist Map—Marks all nearby resources and points of interest on your map.
  • Magic Pocket—Expands Alan’s inventory by one row.
  • Battery—Adds one charge to Alan’s flashlight.
Tourist Map does seem like one of the best Word of Power upgrades in Alan Wake 2. However, bear in mind that Tim Breaker, a character played by Shawn Ashmore, already has maps that reveal nearby collectibles and resources. As such, Magic Pocket would be a safer bet, since Alan’s inventory space is even more limited compared to Saga’s.

Words of Aid perks
  • Torchbearer—Increases the Hand Flare’s area of effect and duration.
  • ER—Increases the healing effectiveness of Trauma Pads.
  • Prescription—Increases the heal-over-time duration of Painkillers.
The ER perk is immensely useful due to how often you’ll make use of Trauma Pads. By default, they’ll only heal roughly 35% of your HP. Once upgraded, though, you’ll see improved restorative capabilities.

Words of Action perks
  • It’s Personal—Increases the damage dealt to enemies in close proximity.
  • Never There—Makes Alan harder to detect.
  • Turning Tables—Decreases the damage received from darkness projectiles.
It’s Personal and Never There are both decent picks. The former is useful because enemies tend to close the distance, whereas the latter prevents shadow hostiles from becoming aggressive too often. However, they’ll still detect you eventually, so watch out.
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Words of Lamp perks
  • Main Attraction—Restores a percentage of your health when using the flashlight’s boost against hostile shadows.
  • In the Headlights—Provides a chance to stun enemies with your flashlight boost.
  • Lucky Strike—Provides a chance to regain a flashlight charge when you kill an enemy.
Lucky Strike is certainly one of the best upgrades in Alan Wake 2. At Normal or Hard difficulty, it’s imperative that you learn how to manage your flashlight charges. However, if your flashlight boost leads to enemy kills, then you’re likely to see that charge restored, which can be very helpful when you have a lot of enemies on you.

These are what we consider the best upgrades for your weapons and Words of Power in Alan Wake 2. For those new to the series or genre, you may also take a look at our beginner’s guide to the game.

Alan Wake 2 is available now on the Epic Games Store. Likewise, those who’ve yet to experience the first harrowing adventure should pick up Alan Wake Remastered, as well as the standalone expansion American Nightmare.