Night Springs DLC makes Alan Wake 2 even wackier — but I wish it was longer

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC
(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)
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I can’t say no to a good horror video game, so when I got my hands on Alan Wake 2 earlier this year, it quickly became one of my favorites. That snowballed into a hyperfixation, resulting in me getting an AW2 t-shirt and a tattoo. This should give you a pretty clear image of how excited I was at the prospect of getting two DLCs: Night Springs and Lake House. Night Springs got its first trailer and a next-day release date at Summer Games Fest last weekend, and the following afternoon, I updated the game on my PS5 and strapped in for what I hoped would be a crazy adventure. And I was not disappointed.

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

The Night Springs DLC is named after the in-universe TV show which is heavily inspired by The Twilight Zone. You get access to three alternate-world episodes revolving around three existing characters in various locations in the Remedy Connected Universe (RCU). Fans of the franchise will know that Wake began his career as a writer for the show. The crux of the DLC is similar to the base game: it’s a medium for Wake to try and escape the Dark Place. Unlike many DLCs that are unlocked after you reach a certain point in a game, such as Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, you don’t need to finish Alan Wake 2 as Night Springs can be accessed via the main menu from the get go.

There might be a few minor spoilers here but I’ll try not to spill too many because this is a DLC you can’t miss out on, especially if you’re a fan of the RCU.

Ring a Ring o' Roses

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

The first episode is titled Number One Fan and follows The Waitress who, you guessed it, looks strikingly like Rose Marigold — Wake’s obsessive fan who works at Oh Deer Diner in Bright Falls. This episode blew me out of the water because it strips the game of any horror/survival components and instead, gives Rose a fully automatic shotgun and an ever-expanding inventory so she’s always packing a lot of heat. Uplifting graffiti reading “Love him, save him” and “You got this, he needs you” adorns Bright Falls’ walls, and so does a pink banner which says, “1 Waitress + 1 Writer = 4ever.”

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

So what’s the premise? Wake speaks through a Big Mouth Billy Bass on Rose’s wall and urges her to rescue him. And who does she find holding Wake hostage? His evil twin brother who is, of course, Scratch. See, It all comes together. And what’s a rescue mission without Remedy’s crazy enemies? Instead of fighting cultists and frenzied shadows, you fight the haters instead in Number One Fan. These people hate Wake’s work, and you’ll hear them taunting Rose with, “I found numerous typos” and “No one likes confusing endings,” to name a few. And Rose quips back, of course, often yelling “Yahtzee!” after blowing a hater’s head off. All this takes place in Bright Falls’ woods, a pink hue washing over, and is accompanied by campy 50s rock music.

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

This episode is truly a power trip and is the goriest of the collection, but it’s also the goofiest. There are other nice touches too, with a “Becoming the Alpha” book sitting on the evil twin’s table, and instead of black and white hyper realistic jumpscares, a wolf jumps at you instead. And seeing Rose covered in blood splatters, looking so pleased with herself with a maniacal twinkle in her eyes, does make you chuckle.

Who is in Control?

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Night Springs’ second episode, North Star, is slow compared to the first, and it’s closer to the base game. You play as the Sibling but fans of Control will recognize her as Jesse Faden. In search of her brother, you control the Sibling as she makes her way through Coffee World after dark, armed with a flashlight and a pistol. You’re accompanied by Polaris from Control, who points you in the right direction, and thank goodness for that because this episode is nearly as poorly lit as House of the Dragon. But I was disappointed that I didn’t have access to Jesse’s shapeshifting gun and supernatural powers.

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Regardless, the episode is still fun and does what the base game did really well: confuse the hell out of you with its puzzles. That’s one thing I loved about Alan Wake 2 so it was a welcome return. I enjoyed cracking the code to the right brewing temperature, and running from the gazebo to the ferris wheel to retrieve a code and then all the way back to the warehouse. North Star borrows themes from Control too, alluding to government agencies and conspiracy plots.

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

There are also a few goofy elements. Shadows in the base game would often growl “WAKE” which always terrified me. Here, shadows mumble things like, “BEANS” or “DARK” which did get a chuckle out of me. Towards the end of the episode, you have to make your way through the warehouse while keeping out of view of Coffee World’s mascot dressed up as a thermos. 

In my opinion, this is the weakest episode of the three as it feels a little underwhelming and nothing that the base game and every other survival horror game hasn’t done already.

Mind-bendingly meta

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Now the third episode is where things get really meta. Time Breaker follows the Actor named Shawn Ashmore who is played by real-life Shawn Ashmore, who played Sheriff Tim Breaker in the base game, who bears a striking resemblance to Jack Joyce from Quantum Break, who was also played by Shawn Ashmore. We see him acting as the lead in a video game about time travel (which is, of course, not Quantum Break), and it’s being directed by Sam Lake but also not the Sam Lake who has played different roles in the base game. Are you with me so far? You control the Actor as he’s transported to another reality and must face the big bad Mr. Door.

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

The best of the three episodes, not only does Time Breaker bring together all RCU games, but it’s also visually stunning. This episode feels surreal and delivers one of the most mind bending sequences in the entire game as you stumble through hotel corridor loops that feel even more disorienting as the colors change from monochrome to vivid. There are some out-of-the-box sequences as well, as part of the story is narrated through comic strips created by Christian Ward, the artist behind Batman: City of Madness.

Leaves you wanting more

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Night Springs feels like Remedy decided to let loose and have a little fun, and why shouldn’t they? Alan Wake 2 is an excellent game, and the first of two DLCs feels a lot like fan service that many players will be happy with. While North Star isn’t as strong as the other two episodes, I still enjoyed playing it and it has me hyped for Control 2.

A screenshot from Alan Wake 2 Night Springs DLC

(Image credit: Remedy Entertainment)

Night Springs feels WandaVision-esque — it’s wacky, makes you laugh but also hurts your brain (in the best possible way) with its meta-ness. I only wish it was longer as the bite-sized episodes which you can wrap up in just under three hours leave you wanting more. I can’t wait to see what Remedy does with the Lake House DLC which I know I’ll be playing on day one. In the meantime, I’m jumping back into the Final Draft and then taking my shotgun for a spin in…(in my best Mr. Door voice) Night Springs.

Alan Wake 2 and its Night Springs DLC are available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows. The Physical Deluxe Edition is set for release on October 22, 2024.

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Nikita Achanta
Staff Writer, Reviews

Nikita is a Staff Writer on the Reviews team at Tom's Guide. She's a lifelong gaming and photography enthusiast, always on the lookout for the latest tech. Having worked as a Sub Editor and Writer for Canon EMEA, she has interviewed photographers from all over the world and working in different genres. When she’s not working, Nikita can usually be found sinking hours into RPGs on her PS5, out on a walk with a camera in hand, at a concert, or watching F1. Her work has appeared in several publications including Motor Sport Magazine, NME, Marriott Bonvoy, The Independent, and Metro.