Alan Wake 2 is almost here – it hits PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on Friday, October 27. Its release this week comes after developer Remedy Entertainment delayed the game 10 days earlier this summer. While there are plenty of visual options for players playing on PC – check out Alan Wake 2’s PC spec requirements here – there are only two graphics modes for those picking it up on PS5 and Xbox Series X (and just one on Xbox Series S). But first, be sure to read Game Informer’s Alan Wake 2 review.
Below, we’ll dive into the two graphics modes for Alan Wake 2 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, and then a handful of Game Informer editors playing the game will share the mode they’ve opted to experience Remedy’s latest in.
The Best Graphics Mode For Alan Wake 2
Earlier this month, we dived into the best graphics modes for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 from developer Insomniac Games and there was a clear winner there. However, Alan Wake 2 features less modes to take advantage of on consoles – which is okay – so choosing the best mode for you will ultimately be up to personal taste (like in most games).
Before breaking down each mode, it’s worth mentioning that Remedy developed Alan Wake 2 from the ground up as a 30 FPS experience, as we learned last month from the studio’s communication director, Thomas Puha.
I’m glad to say that Alan Wake 2 will have a Performance mode on PS5 and Xbox Series X. The game has been built from the beginning as a 30fps experience focusing on visuals and ambiance, but somehow we have managed to include a solid Performance mode. We’ll talk details later.
— Thomas Puha (@RiotRMD) September 27, 2023
But as you can see in the tweet above, Remedy also added a seemingly last-minute Performance Mode to the game.
Here’s what we’ve discovered playing some of the game using both the Quality mode and the Performance mode:
Quality: Alan Wake 2’s Quality mode has an output resolution of 4K, with a render resolution of 2258 x 1270p, and a mostly locked framerate of 30 FPS with occasional dips.
Performance: Alan Wake 2’s Performance mode prioritizes 60 FPS over its resolution, and the output resolution is 1440p with a render resolution of 1505 x 847p. The game holds its 60 FPS target quite well, but it’s clear 60 FPS is not locked 100 percent of the time.
Both of these modes are available on PS5 and Xbox Series X, but if you’re playing on Xbox Series S, the output resolution is 1440p.
There are live-action video components to Alan Wake 2, something Remedy utilized with its Xbox-exclusive Quantum Break, and those seem to be targeting the standard cinematic 24 FPS (although admittedly, it could very well be 30 FPS; the point being the frames will be less than 60 FPS you might be experiencing in Performance mode).
The Graphics Modes Game Informer Staff Are Using
Alex Van Aken, Both: No matter the game, I always start in Performance Mode. Personally, a higher – or steadier – frame rate is more important than fidelity. However, if the gameplay is slower-paced and there’s a larger emphasis on aspects like story and atmosphere, I like to check out Quality Mode to fully appreciate its beauty. I’m sticking to this routine for Alan Wake II.
Blake Hester, Quality: I am playing on Quality Mode because that’s what the game defaults to, and I didn’t even think of changing it. Looks good to me!
Charles Harte, Performance: I’ve been playing on Performance Mode on PS5. The difference in graphical quality between the modes is pretty negligible in my eyes. Playing at a higher frame rate, however, makes a huge difference. It’s more important to me that a game feels good than looks good, and Alan Wake 2 looks good regardless.
Kyle Hilliard, Performance: As I do with all games, after making sure subtitles are on, and the vertical view is inverted because I am a broken man, I changed the settings to Performance. I always go for Performance. I personally cannot tell the difference when Quality mode is on, and much prefer the smoother gameplay experience. I would rather a game play better than look better, and for this generation in particular, turning on Performance Mode achieves both. I have had my technical issues with Alan Wake 2, but when the game is working well, I am grateful for the smoother framerate.
Marcus Stewart, Quality: I’m playing on Quality Mode. For a slower-paced game, I don’t need everything running at 60 FPS. I’d rather see the great art direction (especially in The Dark Place) shine as much as possible.
Matt Miller, Quality: I’ve been running in Quality Mode with an eye toward seeing the peak visuals that Remedy can create after so long away from the franchise.
Wesley LeBlanc, Quality: Knowing that Remedy designed Alan Wake 2 with its 30 FPS Quality Mode in mind, it was easy for me to go with this visual option. The 60 FPS is nice, but I’m a sucker for fidelity, and Alan Wake 2 shines on that front. Plus, given how cinematic of an experience it is, playing in the more cinematic mode makes sense to me.
I do want to note that at the end of the day, you should just use the visual settings and graphics modes you prefer – there is no right or wrong answer, but I spend a lot of time (too much time) tinkering with these kinds of settings and technologies and wanted to hopefully help guide you toward a mode that matches your preferences. If you have any questions or suggestions, drop them in the comments below!
Alan Wake 2 hits PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on October 27.
For more about the game, read Game Informer’s hands-on with a Saga Anderson section of Alan Wake 2 and then read what we thought about playing as Alan Wake. After that, watch this Saga Anderson-focused Alan Wake 2 NGT, and then check out this Alan Wake-focused NGT. Make sure your PC is ready for Alan Wake 2’s beefy system requirements, too. Read Game Informer’s Alan Wake 2 review for our full thoughts on the game.