Alan Wake 2: Night Springs is bizarre and brilliant in every way

Alan Wake 2's Night Springs DLC is an incredible, surreal trip through Remedy's video game history.
alan wake 2 night springs dlc

The final moments of Alan Wake 2: The Final Draft left plenty of exciting questions. Who is Alan Wake now? Does he retain the power of the Dark Presence? Do his words still alter worlds? In true Remedy Entertainment fashion, the follow-up to this chapter – Alan Wake 2: Night Springs, a major DLC expansion – answers none of these questions. In fact, it only raises more. And arguably, it’s all the better for it.

Night Springs is a collection of three unique episodes which feature peripheral characters in the Alan Wake universe. Notably, none of the chapters are set in the same universe or town as the game – rather, they take place in a fictionalised version of Alan Wake’s world, known as Night Springs. Alan Wake is the writer of these episodes, which is what complicates matters.

In the canon of Alan Wake, the writer has the power to change the universe by writing events into manuscripts. He gained this power at the beginning of Alan Wake (2010) and was not able to control it until much later. In this first game, it’s established that Alan wrote for the Night Springs TV show prior to his trip into Cauldron Lake. That said, it’s also implied that Alan may have this power inherently, and so his Night Springs scripts may be infused with reality-altering abilities, or at least, provide a window into genuine alternate universes.

Read: Alan Wake 2 Review – Save The Writer, Save The World

There’s a whole lot of context to Night Springs becoming its own DLC chapter in Alan Wake 2 that you don’t necessarily need to know, but the knowledge does enhance the experience, and provides a narrative link between each chapter, which focuses on a separate subject matter.

Number One Fan: Rose-coloured world

The opening chapter, which follows waitress Rose – an obsessed fan of Alan Wake – is arguably the brightest spot in these chapters, and the one with the strongest ties to the story of Alan Wake 2. This bite-sized slice of action follows Rose through a romanticised version of her day waiting tables at Nite’s Diner.

Screenshot: GamesHub

Rose is the purveyor of her own life in this chapter, with her day seen through a literal rose-tinted lens. Customers who greet her are over-friendly and full praise, and they all love her for her idealised self: the devoted fan of Alan Wake, who will do anything to appease her writer. When Wake calls for her help through a talking fish statue, Rose must go on a quest to find him, while also contending with the forces of his evil brother.

The chapter is, in many ways, a love letter to fandom. It pokes loving fun at the idea of obsession, and lampoons the world of fanfiction in a bizarre, incredible final battle that ties the whole chapter together. As a concoction of Rose, who serves as the shotgun-blasting hero of the chapter, it can also be seen as a direct tie-in to Alan Wake 2.

It highlights and expands Rose’s motivations for helping Alan in the game, and illuminates the strength of her love and character. It doesn’t belittle her for obsession, but explores how fandom can empower and embolden individuals in need of a guiding light. While short, it’s an incredibly punchy tale that feels well-rounded, and well-realised in execution.

Read: Alan Wake 2 is GamesHub’s Game of the Year 2023

North Star: The guiding light

North Star, the second chapter of Alan Wake 2: Night Springs, is only a minor step down for its surreal, cliffhanger ending, and all the questions it trails behind it. This chapter features the return of Control protagonist Jesse Faden, as she enters Coffee World to find her estranged brother, who seems to have gone missing at the hands of a cult.

This chapter is the shortest of the Night Springs episodes, and focuses largely on puzzle gameplay and exploration. There’s some neat tricks here, and a very cool stealth segment, but Jesse does take a back seat to the action, and rarely gets a chance to shine as her own hero.

Rather, she’s a stand-in with very little to do, until a late-episode reveal that should feel very significant – only as long as Control 2 picks at some of its threads. Should Jesse’s tale here be a genuine alt-universe tale with little implications for the future, it’s fair to say North Star is a strange aside.

Time Breaker: The world converges

Screenshot: GamesHub

Time Breaker, the final chapter of Alan Wake 2: Night Springs, is a much more powerful entry in the canon of Alan Wake that, for all its surreality, does seem to have implications for this universe – and for the universes of Control and Quantum Break.

While it initially appears to be a follow-on for Sheriff Tim Breaker, it actually features actor Shawn Ashmore as a fictionalised version of himself, working with “Poison Pill Entertainment” director Sam Lake on a new multi-media video game franchise. They quip together on stage, and make reference to Ashmore’s time playing a superhero (Bobby Drake / Iceman in the X-Men franchise).

Of course, this is all a front for something much deeper and darker, as Ashmore is swept up in a multiversal tale where a strange, dark force is hunting his alters, and killing them in each universe. Jesse Faden pops in to warn of a coming darkness, and there is reference to Quantum Break in her arrival.

Notably, this chapter also expands the lore of Mr. Door, and reveals some backstory which may play a part in the future of the Remedy Connected Universe (RCU). There’s clever nods in this longer episode, and there’s also a final stanza that proves wildly innovative – in a way players really must experience for themselves. Remedy has outdone itself in Time Breaker – experimenting with new mediums and storytelling in ways that make your mouth hang open.

alan wake dlc review night springs
Image: Remedy Entertainment

As a bow on the Night Springs DLC expansion, Time Breaker is an incredible, vivid experience. As mentioned, there’s not a whole lot of narrative thread between all the chapters, despite tiny hands linking their subject matter, but regardless, Night Springs is a fantastic extension of Alan Wake 2 and its meta-narrative.

Night Springs explores so many facets of the RCU, and Remedy’s brand of storytelling. Alan Wake himself is a peripheral character, but it hardly matters. In fleshing out its bizarre, ever-expanding world, Remedy has crafted three individual artworks that brim with cool, gripping ideas – the very possibilities of which are tantalising. While the short scope of each chapter leaves a desire for more, that longing only speaks to how strong Night Springs is, as a deeper dive into the waters of Alan Wake 2.

The game’s next expansion, Alan Wake 2: The Lake House, has enormous shoes to fill.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.