If you know me and what I like, you shouldn’t be surprised that my game of the year is Alan Wake II. I’m a big fan of Remedy’s work, even calling Control my game of the year for 2019. And I’ve been waiting for a sequel to Alan Wake since beating the first game the week it launched back in 2010. So of course I was excited to play this latest Remedy joint.
But while I was prepared for something great, what I wasn’t ready for was something as transcendent and confident as Alan Wake II. In an era when so many big AAA games (and even indie titles) play it safe and carefully avoid big risks, Alan Wake II swings for the fences whenever it can and more often than not hits it out of the park. It’s the kind of game that doesn’t care if you get what’s happening or if you missed something. It keeps on going and assumes you’re smart enough to catch up or fill in the blanks. It respects the player and doesn’t feel like it needs to spoon-feed you anything or pull back out of fear it might alienate some fans. All it cares about is telling the story it wants to tell, how it wants to, and that’s it. You either come along for the amazing and trippy ride or you don’t.
In a time when it feels like every game I play is worried I’ll stop playing, move on to something else, or leave a negative review on Metacritic, Alan Wake II confidently stands up and says, “This is a creepy horror game about twisted interdimensional paranormal nonsense and the artists who make the art we consume. Enjoy it or don’t.” And I love that.
I hope more game developers and studios stop pulling punches and playing it safe in 2024 and beyond and make what they want to make, fan demands be damned. The world needs more games like Alan Wake II.
So there we go! If you want to read my 2022 picks, 2021 favorites, 2020 list, or 2019 notables, just click those links and enjoy.
Oh and before I go, some honorable mentions. I liked Baldur’s Gate III a lot, but got about halfway through and just ran out of interest anytime combat started up. The Dead Space and Resident Evil 4 remakes are both great, but so many original games I played felt more deserving of a spot on my top 10 list. Remnant II is excellent so far, but I’m not far enough into the game to place it on my list. And finally, Jusant is a rad climbing game that just missed making it on here.