Alan Wake II: Night Springs DLC Review (2024)

Alan Wake 2: Night Springs

Standalone in the dark.

When you buy something from this article, IGN Nordic might get a part of the revenue.

byTristan Ogilvie

Posted June 12, 2024, 6:34 a.m.

There certainly weren’t many flaws to shine a shaky flashlight beam on in Alan Wake II, but one thing I did lament in 2023’s excellent survival horror sequel was the total absence of Night Springs episodes on the in-game televisions. These quirky, Twilight Zone-inspired tales were a consistent joy to discover in Alan Wake’s original 2010 adventure, so to find them seemingly off the air as though they were the casualties of some sort of in-game writers’ strike was a touch disappointing. The good news is that the series has returned in a now fully-playable form thanks to the Alan Wake II: Night Springs DLC, which serves up three standalone stories that take us back to the small town of Bright Falls and beyond. They’re admittedly a little on the short side since I was able to knock all three episodes over in a single two-hour sitting, but I certainly had a blast with these twisted new nightmares while they lasted.

Night Springs’ first episode, Number One Fan, is definitely both the goofiest and goriest in the collection, allowing us to play as obsessive Alan Wake fan Rose Marigold as she waits tables in Bright Falls’ Oh Deer Diner. This action-heavy installment begins with Rose topping up coffee cups and clearing away pie crumb-covered plates, but she’s soon compelled to blaze a trail through a bloodthirsty mob after she’s sent an SOS from Alan Wake himself, who’s apparently been kidnapped. How does she receive this request for help? Via an unexpected transmission through the puckered maw of one of those wall-mounted Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fishes that thousands of disappointed dads unwrapped on Fathers Day in the year 2000. Yep, things in Night Springs are enjoyably off-kilter almost from the very outset.

Number One Fan completely strips the survival component out of Alan Wake II by strapping a fully automatic shotgun to Rose’s shoulder and lining the pockets of her apron with an almost limitless supply of shells. The whole episode takes place during the magic hour shortly before sunset so none of the enemies are cloaked in shadowy shields, and therefore there’s no need to burn the darkness away with a battery-hungry flashlight before you can dispatch them. Instead, the combat in Number One Fan swaps the series’ signature light-based fights for more high tempo running and gunning. Although its crunchy gunplay may be more straightforward, it still manages to be an ultra violent delight thanks to the campy ‘50s rock music that propels it and the cutesy quips that Rose spouts with each axe-wielding maniac she mulches – like she’s a pump-action-toting Princess Peach. Night Springs’ first episode kicks the collection off with a concussive sequence of skull-shattering bangs in Rose’s relentlessly entertaining and revved up rescue mission.

Night Springs' first episode kicks the collection off with a concussive sequence of skull-shattering bangs.

Guest Side Story

The second episode, North Star, slows the pace down considerably as you plunge into the inkiest depths of darkness you’d expect from an Alan Wake adventure. I was initially thrilled to step back into the shoes of Jesse Faden from Control here, however my enthusiasm took a bit of a hit when I realised that she hadn’t brought her amazing shape-shifting gun and spectacular suite of superpowers from the 2019 action epic along with her. Still, this midnight stalk through the creepy Coffee World theme park featured in Alan Wake II’s main campaign successfully ratchets up the tension after the comparatively carefree murder spree of the previous episode, arming Jesse with a flashlight and regular, non-transforming pistol as she is pit against the same spooky silhouettes that had me nervously shooting at shadows in last year’s game.

North Star is also the more puzzle-oriented of the episodes featured here, and I enjoyed cracking keypad codes and manipulating the mechanical controls of a ferris wheel during this brief investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Jesse’s brother. Still, I can’t help but feel that of the three episodes included in Night Springs, this second one is the least remarkable. It fails to leverage the jaw-dropping skill set of its guest star, and a lot of what transpires in it feels like well-made but fairly standard survival horror fare. This whole second episode effectively went down like a hot beverage from the Coffee World concession stand – stimulating enough, but it also left me with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.

Serling Silver

Thankfully, Night Springs’ third and final episode, Time Breaker, is the best and boldest of the bunch and rounds out this collection in the most mind-bendingly meta way possible. Here we’re cast as the real-world actor Shawn Ashmore, who we find reprising his role as Sheriff Breaker from Alan Wake II in a brand new game being directed by developer Remedy Entertainment’s creative director, Sam Lake. During a break in production and after a hilarious moment with Lake giving an extremely self-aware and exhaustingly acronym-heavy explanation of his new game’s plot, Ashmore is blinked into another time and space by Night Springs’ Rod Serling stand-in and multiversal maestro, Mr. Door.

What follows is a surreal string of sequences through ominous forest paths and disorientating hotel corridor loops, psychedelically shifting from the monochrome presentation of early television to the vivid colours of comic book paneling that seem to intentionally mirror Remedy’s past work on the Max Payne series. To say anything more would be to spoil too much, but there are some excellent story surprises and left-turn level designs to be found here that rival the most outside-of-the-box moments from the main Alan Wake II campaign, and it meant that Night Springs finished on a thoroughly hypnotic high note that left me wanting more.

The Verdict

Alan Wake II: Night Springs is a compact collection of standalone stories that veer from entertainingly violent shootouts, to tense stretches of survival horror, before settling on and reveling in the utterly batsh*t craziness that makes Remedy’s multiverse of madness so keenly absorbing to explore. There’s admittedly not much new here from a gameplay perspective, and it feels like a bit of a tease to play as a version of Control’s heroine stripped of her special abilities in the second episode. Even so, the highs I felt during my short return to Alan Wake’s universe greatly outweighed the lows, and I’d gladly play through another collection of bite-sized side stories if Remedy ever decided to bake another batch. Could there be more Night Springs in the future? Hope springs eternal.

When you buy something from this article, IGN Nordic might get a part of the revenue.

Alan Wake II: Night Springs DLC Review

8

Great

Alan Wake II: Night Springs veers from ultra violence to tense survival horror, before settling into the multiversal madness of the series at its best.

byTristan Ogilvie

Alan Wake II: Night Springs DLC Review (3)

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