Alan Wake Remastered review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Switch
Also on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
Publisher: Epic Games
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Up until now, I?d never played Alan Wake before. I remember hearing nothing but good things about it back when it came out on the Xbox 360, and the Remastered version was constantly tempting me. It wasn?t until it came out on the Switch, though, that the stars aligned and I finally got to play it.

Without knowing anything about the other versions of the game, I feel confident in saying that this was a bad way to experience the game for the first time.

To be blunt, Alan Wake Remastered?s performance on the Switch is absolutely abysmal. First and foremost, it?s hideous. While the cutscenes are mostly passable, the moment it switches back to the game, it looks atrocious. Everything looks blurry and unfocused, the characters look like they stepped out of a game from the original Xbox, and the scenery looks flat and unfinished.

Unfortunately, everything looks even worse when action switches to nighttime, when on top of the above issues, everything suddenly gets a lot darker and harder to see. Seeing as Alan Wake is, rather famously, a game where your flashlight is your greatest weapon, you can probably guess a) how much of the game is spent in darkness, and b) what this means for the game?s performance on the Switch. In theory, I guess, this could?ve added to the tension by making things hiding in the dark that much more mysterious, but in practice, it just looks even uglier.

What?s especially frustrating about Alan Wake Remastered on the Switch is that it?s not hard to see why the game is so well-regarded. The story, about a writer searching for his missing wife, is still creepy, and its world is populated with a cast of interesting characters. The voice acting is very good, and the setting of Bright Falls seems well-imagined. On top of all that, this remaster includes the two story expansions, The Signal and The Writer, as well as a commentary track by the game?s creative director. All of those are huge pluses in the game?s favour.

But even with all those pros working in the game?s favour, it?s hard to recommend Alan Wake Remastered when it means suffering through such a terrible port. Unless you?re a Switch-only gamer, you?d be well-advised to ignore this altogether, and playing the game on any of the many other systems this is available on. And if your only option is the Switch? Maybe skip this one and just trust everyone who says it?s a game well worth playing.

Epic Games provided us with an Alan Wake Remastered Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C