Invitation is the first chapter of Alan Wake 2, which follows the story of Saga Anderson as she investigates a string of murder cases in Cauldron Lake, a place notoriously known as the same lake where Alan Wake drowned. She then stumbles into what appears to be a murder involving a cult, and what seemed like a slightly complicated case to solve, Saga later finds out that she will be dealing with the supernatural.
Read ahead for a complete walkthrough on the events of Return 1: Invitation in Alan Wake 2, including tips on how to complete every objective.
Return 1: Invitation Objectives:
The game starts off by having you control a naked man who appears to have woken up from being adrift in a body of water. You then wander around the forest aimlessly, suffering from visions of another man in anguish. You’ll then see some creatures move just a few distance away, and some lights coming from what you can assume are just campers. They run away before you can ask for help.
Continue following the path ahead until you find another set of lights, but this time, you still won’t get lucky. A cutscene will play that shows that these group of people are cultists, and they abduct the naked man, tie him to the table, and rip his heart out. Their ritual is cut short when they are discovered by the same campers from earlier. The campers then run away and are chased by the cultists, leaving the corpse of the naked man on the table.
The next scene is an overhead view of a car driving through the woods. The driver of the car appears to be speaking to her son, Logan, and is driving towards Cauldron Lake, the same campground where the first game was set. It’s then shown that the person talking to you earlier, Saga Anderson, is from the FBI and is on the case with her partner, Alex Casey, to investigate another reported body in the campground.
The two investigators arrive at Cauldron Lake, expecting to see the deputies, but aside from their car, he’s nowhere to be found. You then get to take control of Saga.
Get to the Crime Scene
Find the deputies
Your first task is to check the Map – Cauldron Lake nearby. It will show you your current location as well as the entire area of the Cauldron Lake campgrounds. You’ll also get to look into your inventory and find that you are already wearing Charm – Logan’s Charm which gives a bonus to your max health.
Follow the path ahead, and you’ll soon find one of the deputies, Deputy Mulligan, near the broken fence. Introduce yourself as the one leading the case after getting the cue from Casey. Deputy Mulligan will then get a call from his partner, Deputy Thornton, who is looking for the two agents.
You then get to talk more to the deputy; ask about any witnesses, and then ask to see the body.
Meet Deputy Thornton at the General Store
Pass through the fence after talking to the deputy. Before heading further, Saga will cue to review the details of the case. You then get to access the Mind Place, a version of the mind palace that Saga uses to store and organize information that she knows and gathers. Be mindful of accessing the Mind Place, as it does not pause the state of the game.
Approach the Case Board to find out details about the similar cases of murder in Bright Falls. Familiarize yourself with the details of the victims, then head back out.
As you go down the path, just after the descend from the ledges, you’ll find a fork on the path. Casey will take the path into the forest to the left where the General Store is. Take the path up ahead for a quick detour to a vista. Look for colorful rocks on the ground and you’ll spot Alex Casey Lunchbox #1 which contains x2 Manuscript Fragments.
These manuscript fragments are essential in getting perk upgrades to your weapons which can be done through your mind place.
Follow Casey down the hill until you reach the general store, where Deputy Thornton is waiting. You can take a quick detour before talking to the deputy. From the store, follor the map to where you’ll hug the Bony-Legged Path to the east. Follow the path until you reach the landslide, and on the side is where you’ll find Alex Casey Lunchbox #2 which contains x1Manuscript Fragment.
Go back to the deputy and follow him to the crime scene.
Investigate the crime scene
You’ll soon arrive at the same location where the ritual happened in the intro scene. Approach the table to find out clues about the crime.
The first clue that you’ll get is from observing the table. This will add a new clue, or a key image, to the case board. After examining the clue, head back to the crime scene.
Next, you will be able to collect clues from the corpse. The clues are already marked on this body, such as the chest wound, the heart, and the straps on the wrist.
Major chest trauma
Heart found near victim’s body
Cargo straps used to restrain victim
Back inside the case board, you can then organize the new clues according to the question left on the board. Two of the clues should match the previous murders, except for the heart, which suggests that the ritual was interrupted, as was shown before. Regardless, the open question has been resolved by one of the clues, and this updates the case board with a Deduction and some new objectives.
Learn more about the victim
Talk to Deputy Thornton and ask him about the identity of the victim. You’ll learn that he’s known as Nightingale, who was also an FBI agent who came to town 13 years ago. Casey interjects about knowing him as Robert Nightingale. Talk to Casey to learn more about the victim’s history, then continue talking to Casey using the next dialogue options.
Thornton: Victim is Robert Nightingale. Last seen in Bright Falls 13 years ago.
Casey: Nightingale went off the deep end. FBI fired him.
Learn more about the killer
Examine the table by checking on the side where the corpse’s head is to gather one more clue about the place of the victim’s death.
Next, go to the marked location on the muddy ground to deduce that there are multiple people involved.
Go to the next table where the bottles and chest are to find the knocked-over tripod. Then, check the cooler chest on the table.
Heavy blood splatted on table
Multiple sets of footprints
Tripod found near body
Cooler and beer bottles left nearby
Check the case board again to see that the two latter clues are marked for later once details and questions that these clues are relevant to have been set. You can then place the first two clues/anecdotes from Casey and the deputy in line with “The Victim?” question to answer it, and then put the clues from the ground and the corpse’s table next to the killer(s) to answer it.
The board will then be updated with a new question. Place the clues from the other table after “Premeditated or Spontaneous?” to answer it. The board will be updated once again with a question asking where the victim came from.
The mind place will also be updated with profiling, allowing Saga to get inside the heads of suspects and victims using her intuition. Approach the table in the middle of the room to start profiling.
Choose “Missing Person” to get a new clue noting that Nightingale came from the lake before he was murdered. Then choose “Ritual Murder” to realize that Nightingale was a component of the ritual.
Nightingale came from Cauldron Lake.
Back on the case board, place the clue from profiling to answer the question.
Check the lakeshore
After examining everything in the crime scene, you will need to go down to the lakeshore with Casey. But before you go, take the opportunity to check the other paths in the area.
From the crime scene, go south and you will find a path that leads to a mobile home. Inspect the ritual symbol made by twigs by the door to get another clue.
Triangle Figure Made from Twigs
You will also find Cult Stash #1 – Cauldron Lake that has a combination lock. A note on it will give you a clue on how to get the code for the lock: “Confused? Follow these steps: Wash your hands. take the chicken out of the fridge. take a nap.”
The note serves as a clue on the symbols and their order on the lock. You can find these symbols inside the mobile home. First, check the symbol on the sink, then the one beside the fridge, and finally the one near the bed. Go back to the chest and put the symbols that you got from top to bottom. Inside the chest are some consumables and ammo, and you’ll get another collectible category: Cult Stashes.
Form the mobile home, follow the path that is marked by a mobile hung from a tree, then turn left. You’ll find the Alex Casey Lunchbox #3 which contains x3Manuscript Fragments.
Continue down the path until you will see a towering tree.
Examine the blocked path
Examine the base of the tree to find a piece of paper on the ground and some tracks. A cutscene will then play where Saga realizes that the paper was like a manuscript that was talking about them. As she continues to read it, the scene slowly melds into being narrated by Alan Wake, the titular character.
Footprints emerging from under the rock
Trail has gone cold
Manuscript: Reading the words, these words, felt like a message. Someone playing a game with them.
Figure out what happened to Nightingale
Head back to the profiling table and look up The Page to get more insight and a clue, then you can check the manuscript to reread the paper from earlier.
Nightingale has something hidden inside of him.
On to the case board, add the two photo clues to answer the question. This will also make the rest of the clues available which you can use to answer the Anything else here…? question.
Return to Bright Falls
Ask a deputy to move the body
Saga deducts that something has been placed inside Nightingale’s body and that he should be examined in the town morgue. Make your way back to the crime scene and talk to the deputy to request the body’s transport back to town. The deputy reports that the coroner won’t be available for a week, and that the sheriff has the witnesses, the Bookers, in the diner for questioning.
The deputy will also hand you a Shortcut Key which will be handy later on.
Take the car back to Bright Falls
Follow the path ahead, but this time, approach the locked gate to use the Shortcut Key and gain a quicker access to the parking lot.
After opening the first gate, go up the path until you see the monitoring station. Go around the station where you will find a ledge, and above the ledge is Alex Casey Lunchbox #4 which contains x1Manuscript Fragment.
Once you get to the parking lot, get in the car to head back to town.
Once you arrive in the town, you can follow the sound from the lodge to get the Tapio’s Weather Report collectible and Koskelas Ad – Coffee World collectible in Room 101. Head outside and go across into the shed to get the Radio – Various Artists: National Nightmare collectible.
Make your way to the Oh Deer Diner which is just up ahead. You will be greeted by Sheriff Breaker by the door. Ask him about the witnesses and he will let you in the diner.
You can find the Bookers at the far end of the diner. You can then ask them about what they saw and why they were at the lake. Both witnesses will then share their answers, but Tammy stopped Ed before he could share the other thing they saw.
Cultists were wearing deer masks
The Bookers described multiple attackers wearing deer masks, chanting, and “tearing into the guy with knives”
Go into profiling where you could examine The Bookers. Choose The Cult of the Tree to find out that Tammy is hiding a cultist’s necklace they found. Choose Cauldron Lake to find out that they broke into Cauldron Lake for the sake of the book that Tammy is writing.
Interview the witnesses at the diner
Talk to the Bookers again about the necklace that they found and ask them to hand it over as evidence.
A cult necklace using triangle symbols
Suddenly, the diner staff Rose recognizes Saga and comments about her being back to town. She also comments about Saga’s daughter who has drowned by the lake. Saga appears to not know who Rose is and is taken aback how she knew about her daughter.
Rose: Recognized me in the diner at Bright Falls.
Examine Nightingale’s Body
Go to the Sheriff’s Station
Follow the sheriff to the station to check up on Nightingale’s body. Saga will talk about the cult and ask the sheriff about Rose at the diner.
As you’re walking to the station, take a detour and go to the park near the Oh Deer Diner. Go to the big tree by the gazebo where you will find Alex Casey Lunchbox #5 which contains x5 Manuscript Fragments.
Go to the morgue’s examination room
Before entering the morgue, check the map by the entrance to get the Map – Bright Falls. Head inside the station and go behind the counters where you will find the Map – Sheriff’s Station on the back wall.
Once you reach the morgue, you’ll need to examine the corpse once again by checking on the marked parts.
Bruises, defensive wound on victim
Smudged text under victim’s skin
Bloating of joints indicates long-term water exposure
Illegible words on heart
Chest ripped open -something visible inside
Go into the case board to open a new lead using the findings from the autopsy. Then, place the clues on to the new question, separating them to Ritual Writing and Cause of Death.
Examine the chest cavity
Saga will then look into the chest cavity where she will find another page. It then gets narrated once again by Alan. Afterwards, the sheriff comments that they have also found similar pages, but after recovering the files, the lights started flickering and the sheriff vanishes.
The corpse suddenly gets reanimate, looking for a thing called the the Clicker as he attacks the deputy, Casey, and Saga.
After coming to her senses, Saga realizes that she is being hunted by the corpse, as the page stated. Following the page, head into the light in the middle of the room to avoid getting detected by Nightingale.
Saga will need to get her gun by the hall. Wait for Nightingale to walk away before making your way into the hall. You’ll have your flashlight to guide you through the darkness.
Once you get your gun, Nightingale will be behind you. Shoot him twice in the head and he will fall down and vanish.
This concludes the first chapter of the game. You’ll also get the Radio – Various Artists: Follow You Into The Dark collectible.