With Alan Wake being heavily discounted on the weekly Humble Bundle sale, I thought it would be a good time to write a simple guide for beginners, based on my experience so far on Normal difficulty. The combat in Alan Wake is really hard, and if you want to save yourself some hair-pulling frustration, the best tip of all is to just play on Easy mode. There is absolutely no shame in doing so.
1. Save your sprint for when you really need it.
The protagonist has a very, very short stamina. After sprinting about 20-30 metres, he’ll start to tire, and you will lose the ability to sprint until the cooldown rest timer is complete. If there are no enemies on screen, take your time and slowly walk to your next objective: you’ll never know when a group of baddies will suddenly spawn. Having full access to your sprint will allow you to quickly move to a better defensive position, or to just simply dash to the next save-haven checkpoint.
2. Kill your enemies as fast as possible.
Due to the nature of the game mechanics and combat system, it is extremely difficult for Wake to survive a prolonged fight against huge groups of enemies. Therefore, when encountering a mob of three or more enemies, you must find a way to kill them as fast as possible. Don’t hoard your grenades — if you see a golden opportunity to take out multiple enemies at once with a flashbang or flare gun, just do it!
3. If you have access to a vehicle, use it to ram your enemies.
There are quite a few sections in the game where Wake will be able to drive a vehicle. Use the vehicle headlights to remove the darkness from your enemies, and then just ram them over. It’s an instant kill, and it allows you to save ammo. Take note however, that if your enemies get too close to your vehicle, they can pull you out of the driver’s seat through the car door. Be alert and make sure you don’t get flanked while driving.
4. You can interrupt your reload to fire your remaining bullets.
When reloading your pistol, shotgun, or hunting rifle, you can actually interrupt your reload animation to fire whatever bullets are already loaded into the gun. This is a useful trick if you need to reload urgently in the middle of combat, but don’t have sufficient time to finish loading all of your bullets.
1. Reload your batteries early.
Using a battery will restore one-half of your flashlight’s power, or one-third if you are using the heavy lantern. Therefore a good rule of thumb is to immediately reload a battery once your flashlight’s power drops below half. Never wait till your flashlight is almost empty before reloading. There are lots of battery supplies in every episode, so don’t worry about ever running low on spare batteries.
2. Use the focus beam to slow down and stun your enemies.
The flashlight’s focus beam will allow you to shine away the dark presence faster, at the cost of battery power. It also has another purpose: it will significantly slow down most of your enemies, and some of the weaker baddies will be momentarily stunned from the blinding light. You can use this trick to buy yourself some precious seconds to switch weapons, or to reload your gun. This is another reason why it is important to reload your flashlight battery early: you want to have full access to your focus beam at all times.
I hope these tips were useful. Enjoy the story of Alan Wake, and try not to get too frustrated with the combat!