Back in 2019, Remedy Entertainment announced that they had regained full control over the Alan Wake IP and the developers are already making good use of it with Control’s second expansion, AWE, serving as a homage to the cult classic franchise.

In AWE, players will discover a brand new area of the Federal Bureau of Control, the Investigations Sector. In this sector, the Bureau handles investigation of something called Altered World Events, which give the abbreviation AWE (which, perhaps coincidentally, could also stand for Alan Wake Expansion?). Unfortunately, while The Foundation, Control’s first expansion, brought an area which felt entirely unique and unlike the rest of the game to the table, AWE’s Investigations Sector feels rather bland and very similar to the base game’s environments.

Despite this, the expansion is littered with references to Alan Wake, from story beats, to collectibles, even including a cameo by the man himself. If you’re a fan, you will find yourself at home with this expansion and loving every moment of it. I will warn players however, if you have not played the original Alan Wake game, a majority of this expansion will be lost on you, as the expansion does very little catering to those who are unfamiliar with the source material. If you have no knowledge of Alan Wake, you will most likely have to resort to using a walkthrough at various points throughout this expansion.

Boss fights are the indisputable star of the AWE expansion, delivering thrilling combat which expertly blends inspiration from both the Control and Alan Wake gameplay loops. You’ll fight Dr. Emil Hartman, one of Alan Wake’s background characters, a number of times throughout AWE. You will need to use various lights placed around the game’s environments in order to defeat Hartman, who, as inspired by Alan Wake’s antagonist, darkness, is unable to endure light due to his mutilation from the Dark Place. Using light will expose Hartman to attack using the usual array of weapons you’ve picked up through playing Control and this boss fight will continue for the entire expansion as you chase him through the maze-like environment of AWE.

Outside of that, the expansion introduces a new weapon called Surge, which is a grenade launch that sticks to enemies or surfaces and can be detonated at the discretion of the user. It is a relatively powerful addition to your arsenal which, while not essential, may prove useful and fun to use at various points throughout the expansion.

Overall, AWE is an amazing expansion for fans of Alan Wake; one which feels like it foreshadows a full-fledged reboot of the series in the near future, however, if you are unfamiliar or uninterested in the original game, I can’t say that I would recommend the experience as it may leave you feeling lost and confused. AWE is available through the Control Expansion Pass, or via the Ultimate Edition which includes a PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X next-gen upgrade on the same console family of purchase.