Alan Wake 2 - snooze fest?

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continuing where I left off yesterday, I had a blast with the game for another 3-4 hrs this evening. Not just with the story, but the exploration part as well. When the game tells you that you can optionally go and expolore areas that were unaccesible before, do that, there's a lot to see and find there. I very much like the puzzle solving activities and free roaming, so I definitely will take a detour if I have a chance

managed to get into the overlap to face Cynthia and free Tor
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the taken got a little scarier in this chapter
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still, made it to the jukebox and it led me to the overlap in the pond
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the story got connected to Tom Zane,whom Alan previously met in the hotel chapter.Tom turned out to be Cynthia's fascination and the fear of losing him the source of her madness. The taken need to have a weakness for the dark presence to exploit, Tom turned out to be Cynthia's.
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The loops in the overlap again, part of building suspense. Might be simple, but you never know which lap is the one where you face the dark presence.
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right they were, the old hag grabs you from under the water if you're not careful.
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managed to find Cynthia Weaver eventually and take her down. tougher than previous overlap fights. took a flare, five rifle rounds and about four or five sawed off reloads to get rid of her. the shotgun is a great weapon and there's plenty of ammo for it, but takes way too long to reload, so as soon as I gathered enough weapon points (newspaper scraps from lunchboxes), I upgraded the reload speed. I don't get why they made the pistol so useless though, it takes a few headshots to bring down a normal taken, I can't imagine taking down a boss. You'd need a hundred shots with it.
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Alan still needs to play his part in this yet if there's to be a happy ending. Nothing's set in stone yet. There's hope and thanks to Tor, Saga knows her gift is more than intuition now. The mind place is the Anderson family secret that her mother kept hidden from her, fearing it's too powerful and risky to know she can read people's thoughts.
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bright falls area exploration (light spoilers, not main story related, but still gonna hide it just in case)

The Valhalla Nursing Home used to be Tom Zane's manor that he bought at the peak of his success, later on turned into a nursing home that someone was supposed to renovate but ran off with the money and left the place in bad condition, with a lot of leaks-basement completely flooded. It might have a connection to the dark presence, as it was mentioned that the overlap always has something to do with water (first one was a lake, then a pond). Now that I think about it, I could have checked if the flooding in the basement is gone after Cynthia was driven away from the place. Might still do it today, though it'd require a lot of backpeddling just for a tiny nuance. Wake was involveed in this too.
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The sunset in the woods that lead to the Bright Falls shore. Screens don't do it justice, you have to see how amazing the light is in game with PT enabled when everything is basking in the orange, setting sun. The light blending with every object in the environment is spectacular.
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Hate those beasts
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A cabin that turned out to be one of FBC's bases in the area. There were emails on it about being attacked by those damn rabid wolves. Also, another riddle with a pretty unique, one-off charm. Might use that later for some boss.
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Getting even creepier......
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found a new type of weapon in a cult crate, a flare that works like a rocket. great for enemies grouped together or single, powerful ones.

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more riddles, getting better at solving them

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the boatyard looked really cool in the sunset
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back to town to continue with the story
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made my way back to the Valhalla Nursing Home to check the basement, again having to deal with the taken in the deep, dark woods on the way. And no, the flood water didn't recede like all other ones after closing the overlap. It must have not been related to the dark presence, just some guy neglecting house repairs. Turns out water is sometimes just water.
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Gonna switch it up a little bit tomorrow, playing as Wake. It's so cool you can play the game from the perspective of the writer and the characters interchangably at any moment, and they both click.
 
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Back to NYC part of the story

First there was the subway, then the hotel, now a cinema. Zane featured in the story again, and early on was revealed to be the directorof a film worshipped by the cult. Alan had met Zane before, in the hotel where he was chasing Scratch, but Alex Casey was only now figuring out that his films had a major role in the ritualistic murders.

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Zane revealed to Alan the next ritual murder took place in a cinema, and was part of the plot of his movie. Or maybe the movie and the ritual were both real.....
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The events were to be revealed through the movie

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The clues led to Casey hot on the trail of the cult i nthe movie theater, but confused by what he's chasing after.
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The shadow of Casey's conversation with one of the cult leaders (looked like the Koskela brothers) revealed the cult was aware of Casey, and would have a plan prepared to deal with him

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The plot only got darker after finding the theater hall, something nasty invloving the cult, zane's film and Casey was about to be revealed......

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Alan had to make his way to the projection room, through some unobvious routes, among hordes of shadowy figures, switching between parts of the ritual, and with the use of his lamp....
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the cops were in cahoots with the cult
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Alan found himself in a mazy loop leading to the grandmaster of the cult, and Alex Casey being held by the cult

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The cult of the word planned to do to Casey and Wake what they did to them in Bright Falls. Turn from hunted into hunters
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the loop finished with Alan finding the projection loop, the central part to revealing the ritual in the movie
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.....and that's where I finished for now. Another absolutely brilliantly constructed chapter, not yet seen the end of it though.
 
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The Real-Barca game got settled pretty quickly, so I went back to finish the chapter after all.
The projection room was the scene of pretty nasty stuff, involving the cops' cult initiation ritual.
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Wake and Saga met again, in between the worlds
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Nightless Night was playing in the hall when Wake left the projection room, pretty gruesome stuff, the inspiration behind the cult's ritual. Featured Sam Lake but not as a detective Alex Casey, he was a finnish man that was targetted by a cult hidden behind masks.
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I'm yet to figure out the role Ahti the Janitor has in the story. He features in almost every chapter, background parts, but seems there's something about him too. Sam seemed to trust him in the movie
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the cult in the movie was just as mad and ruthless as in Bright Falls. The actual cult even adopted the same symbol. Jakko Koskela, or the same character by other name, was Sam's brother in the movie, and the leader of the cult, like in Saga's story.
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the acts of the cult left a pretty bad mark on Alex
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Alan had to get back to the Parliment Tower to save Alice, but before he can do that, Saga's part of the story needs to progress further. I guess she needs to grab the real Wake from the hands of the FBC, not his book alter ego, and finally figure out to act in unison.
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Alan got a call from his latter self, with instructions to grab and deposit his wife's photos from the late night show's studio basement, as he'd apparently need them for something later on.
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Absolutely fascinating stuff this game is !
 
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35hrs in, progressed the story far enough that I'll just take my time now to go back to finish with the exploration/puzzle solving stuff, and then back to story finale.

If you wish to see some cool shots of what led to Saga coming close to figuring out a way to solve the case, along with some world exploration ones, here they are.
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Watery area cleared:
-all cult stashes
-all doll puzzles
-all lunch boxes

Cauldron Lake area next.
edit: nah, I just had to see Cauldron lake again like now, it's the best looking area of the game, and I haven't visited it since the early chapters.

dam doze skwerlz
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RT means we can hide more on screen and pretend it looks better?
stop being so sour
we can have environment that looks accurate, like a cabin in the middle of the forest actually be dark where it's not lit and light where it is lit.
stop pretending like all RTGI does is make things dark. It makes dark places dark, and light places light.
which one actually looks like 4AM in a medieval building without electricity ?
 
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I went to the Valhalla Nursing Home to look for Rose in order to ask her a few questions about the boxes she left for Saga. Didn't find her, the old folks say she runs off into the night at times. But since this used to be Tom Zane's mansion in the past, I found what I assume was an early draft of Nightless Night in the flooded basement. It blows my mind that now we have pt reflections in games, that not only look perfect, but actually get accurately distorted when Saga moves in the water they're being reflected in.

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Past the point of no return, but not yet at the end of the journey
Saga arrived at the place in Cauldron Lake where it was all going to get down, was supposed to be a simple operation with Casey and the FBC- get Wake out, trap scratch, but what would thrillers be if everything went according to plan. I was counting on a plot twist, and got it.
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loved the setting on the beach they created for the scene, glad I took a dozen shots of it cause it looked awesome.
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had to survive hordes of taken, quite hard to do, but I managed.
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when the stage was set for scratch to come out of the darkenss, Wake was finally able to enter the tower and uncover the truth about him, that Saga already learnt before. There was never any Alan Wake that washed up on the shore after 13 years missing, it was always scratch trying to get the object of power (the clicker). Alan was trapped in the loop of his own book, tricked by scratch to confuse him with Alan's own self trying to fix the story so that Alice lives. The evil works in really evil ways in this game. A dark, tormenting presence that'll make you lose control over what is real and what isn't.
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Saga, with the help of FBC equipment and Casey, was ready to trap scratch in the special conrtainment unit that the FBC brought. I do remember those containment units from Control, though they served the purpose of storing objects of power (OOP's), not altered world events (AWE's).
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the fight was tough, but eventually I figured it out. Saga trapped scratch in the containment unit
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didn't take him long to explode it to pieces though, not really what the plan was.
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dark presence got out and got into Casey. Some luck this guy has...... In the NYC part of the story, he was eventually hunted down by the cult, now he gets posessed by the presence that caused the murders he came to investigate in Bright Falls.
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At least good news was, with Scratch now hosted by Casey, Wake was finally Wake, for the first time since the game started. And ready to actually try to use his writing to undo what scratch made him write.
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The FBC agent was not impressed, but at least now the person who needs to rewrite the events is not being driven by the dark force, so there's a chance... There was all of Alan's gear waiting for him there at the shore, to chase after scratch and maybe do some damage control.
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I really liked the way the things progressed, turns out even this late the game can surprise you with its storyline. I heard a lot of people complain about those late stages, I personally enjoy them a lot, and I'm glad the story is not over yet. In contrary, the dark presence only seemed to grow in power instead of being eradicated, but at least the hero is his old self now.
Made my way through those damned Cauldron Lake woods back to Bright Falls again
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the flare gun doesn't do to the taken what it did to the shadows, but at least I can hide in the light now, whereas in the NYC part, the light was what exposed Alan
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oh yes ,the dark presence is there, and stronger than ever

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oh wait, is it ?
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completed the first , let's call it a playthrough for now before the spoiler, of the game. Managed 64 out of 66 achievements, incl. most of the the very rare ones
Having entered the dark place again, Alan found himself in the middle of Deerfest, as written by scratch in "Return". Scratch made Wake's book a huge success, and the Deerfest a means of promoting the book, thanks to which more and more people would keep coming there, and being affected by the dark presence.
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The real Wake had to get his hands on a copy of Return in odrer to add to the ending.
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Once the book was in his hands, and he knew what scratch put in the ending, he had to find the access to his writing room. It was in Zane's old mansion. Scratch, in the form of agent Casey, tried to get to him, but he made it.
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Once in there, he had to come up with an idea of what to add to scratch's story to prevent the eternal deerfest
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Saga reached out to him through the overlap in her mind place, to establish what the goals of the story would be
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The dark presence tried to trap Saga in her own mind (to make her go insane by trying to make her blame herself for what happened to Casey and Logan in Scratch's version of the book), but she managed to find the way out through (regain common sense)
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Having escaped, Saga found herself being written into the part of the book that took place in Alan's imagination/dream (NYC), where she found sargeant Tim Breaker talking about a piece of paper that he got from Mr. Door, the talk show host he was investigating. It was something he couldn't understand, but it was related to Saga and Wake. Door said something about two rooms always needing just one door to be connected.
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Saga got a phonecall instructing her to collect something from the shoebox by the statue in the Parliament Tower Plaza.
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It was the clicker and some mysterous bullet made of light. Then she had an idea to contact Wake through the overlap in her mindplace to speak to him about the ending (what Wake experienced earlier, in his writer's room).
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Saga made her way through the dark place entrance (the fountain in NYC) into the writer's room
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The hero had the pay the price, the bullet of light giving them a second chance to make it through another reality loop, but maybe a different one this time.
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Casey was freed from the dark place
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the loop was not just part of the game. the game is a reality loop. every playthrough. brilliant idea. let's see what the next one brings.
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Remedy really brought a fascinating idea for a game into life. Kind of a niche one, I don't expect most people actually completing consecutive playthroughs to complete the story, but it is a brilliant concept for a story driven thriller imo. It's not for those who play games for casual relaxation, but if you're seeking to find fresh storyline ideas in thriller games, and not just kill zombies or aliens, this is an absolute classic. According to the achievement stats, only 29% of players completed the last chapter, so even the first loop had 71% of people quit. Not surprised, most people buying a thriller game expect a resident evil type of game, with focus on weapons and survival, not the depth of story.
Now even I need something else to play for a change, before going back for a second playthrough. Maybe shortly before the DLCs are released. Ghostwire tokyo maybe ?
 
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I know I said I'm going to wait till just before the DLCs for the NG+, but try to stop me ha ha......

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especially when the game is incomplete without the second playthrough

I'm playing on "story" difficulty now, combat in this game is irrelevant for me.
 
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the references that I found in Control

the thermos is an altered item that FBC were aware of

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the dark presence taking over people was reported too

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tampering with the equipment in the FBC station in Bright Falls was referenced in a report as well. They also referenced sending this technician guy to look into it.......

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Alex Casey contacted the FBC about Wake.

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Jesse appeared in Wake's writing. He was already working his way out of the dark by writing.

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there were also a few reports on interviews with Alice Wake conducted by the FBC where she's saying that Alan, or rather an entity that took his physical form, haunts her.
 
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upgraded base to deluxe edition, includes two expansions (coming later in 2024), this trench coat and shotgun skin for saga (there's a new suit and shottie skin for alan too, but i'm playing saga atm)

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