Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

American Nightmare offers more action and less atmosphere than the original game, but it is still a compelling addition to the series. With only three locations to explore it lacks the depth of the first game, but the story is still very interesting. It is important to remember that this is not a sequel, but a bite sized addition to the Alan Wake saga.

Gameplay: A more action oriented approach than the original game.

Graphics: Good but the wide open areas makes it less creepy.

Sound: Overall good, but some of the voice acting could have been better

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Developer: Remedy Entertainment | Publisher: Remedy Entertainment | Release Date: 2012 | Genre: Action / Adventure / 3rd Person Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

As the proud owner of a limited collector’s edition of Alan Wake I was immediately interested when I heard about American Nightmare. Instead of being a sequel or even DLC this is an action oriented side story that pits Alan against his most fearsome foe yet, himself.

Fans of the original game will remember the “Night Springs” show that played on television sets around the gameworld. American Nightmare takes place as an episode of this show with Alan racing to stop his evil doppelganger, Mr. Scratch from creating havoc. While Night Springs is a fictional town, it appears that Alan has managed to write it into existence in the middle of Arizona as the battleground for his showdown with Mr. Scratch. It has been two years since his disappearance from the real world and it looks like he has become a lot more adept at dealing with the “Taken.”

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare was originally released as a Xbox Live Arcade title so do not expect the same kind of in-depth adventure as the original game. Instead, you have the “Story” mode which is a four-to-five hour scenario set in Night Springs and its surroundings and an “Arcade” mode which is a ten minute battle for survival in various arenas. The story mode only has three major locations which is the town, Observatory and drive-in, each with only one non-player character who sends you off on various fetch quests. It feels very cut-down in comparison to the original game, but the story is still a fascinating tale. Mr. Scratch makes regular appearances on the televisions dotted throughout the game and taunts Alan about what he is going to do with his friend and loved ones. These clips as well as some of the other cut-scenes in the game use full motion videos of real actors which adds to the cheese late night sci-fi show feel of the game.

Gameplay still consists of collecting manuscript pages and battling shadowy enemies known as the “Taken” but the suspense has taken a back seat to the action. The locations are all wide open and lack the claustrophobic feel of the woods in the original game. There is no shortage of ammo and batteries either, so no more desperate sprints towards a distant light source with snarling enemies snapping at your heels. Instead you can stand your ground and dispose of foes with weapons like shotguns, hunting rifles, machine guns, crossbows and even a nail gun. You can only carry two weapons at a time, plus a flare gun, flares and flash bang grenades, but there are plenty of ammo and refill stations dotted around. New weapon crates are unlocked by finding manuscript pages scattered about the landscape.

Combat still involves “burning” the shadows off ordinary townsfolk before disposing of them with your weapons, but this time there is a bit more variety. New enemies include a behemoth wielding a circular saw, grenadier that lobs projectiles at you from a distance, spiders and even a foe that splits into weaker halves when you shine your flashlight on it. The annoying black birds also make a return, but this time changes into a human when they combine. Every now and then you will also have vehicles flung at you, but the amount of memorable set pieces are definitely less. There is also a certain amount of repetition as you will be traversing the three locations multiple times. The ample checkpoints and over abundance of ammo definitely makes the game a lot easier than the first one, but there is a “nightmare” mode to kick things up a notch.

The PC version of the game is a quality port and thankfully did not take two years to arrive. The graphics and animations are very good and the locations are nicely detailed. The audio is also pretty good with some solid voice acting, barring a wooden sounding line or two. The music is of the usual high standard and they have even woven the Kasabian song, “Club foot” into the narrative. The radio shows are also back and this time features an interview with the “old gods” who should be familiar to fans of the first game. I missed the “episodic” feel that the original game had but it makes sense that it is not present for this stand-alone title.

Players unfamiliar with Alan Wake might have a tough time figuring out what is going on and even fans could have some trouble for the first 30 minutes or so. Things soon fall into place, however, and while the story isn’t terribly original it does provide players with a good reason to go blasting some “Taken.” Mr. Scratch also makes for a very interesting villain. Overall, the game does not take itself as seriously as the original with might appeal to some fans. I enjoyed playing the game, but it definitely felt like there was something missing. Hopefully it will not take too long for us to find out where Alan’s journey through the dark will take him next.

*Review originally published May 2012.

System Requirements

  • OS:Windows XP SP2
  • Processor:Dual Core 2GHz Intel or 2.8GHz AMD
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:DirectX 10 compatible with 512MB RAM
  • DirectX®:10
  • Hard Drive:8 GB HD space
  • Sound:DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • OS:Windows 7
  • Processor:Quad Core 2.66GHz Intel or 3.2GHz AMD
  • Memory:4 GB RAM
  • Graphics:DirectX 10 compatible or later with 1GB RAM
  • DirectX®:10
  • Hard Drive:8 GB HD space
  • Sound:DirectX 9.0c compatible

Related posts

Eye Of The Beholder

Eye Of The Beholder

As far as classic DOS era First Person Role Playing Games go you can do a lot worse than this AD&D effort. It doesn't hold your hand and isn't afraid to put up a stiff challenge, but overall it aged well and still offers hours of enjoyment. Gameplay: Challenging but also entertaining and addictive. Graphics: All things considered, not bad. Sound: Very limited music and feeble sound effects.

The Forest of Doom

The Forest of Doom

The Forest of Doom is a welcome interpretation of a classic adventure gamebook and will definitely be a trip down memory lane for players familiar with the paperback. Newcomers can expect a lot of reading and some trial and error, but the memorable encounters and large number of locations in the forest make it worthwhile. Although the game can be completed relatively quickly it does boast plenty of replay value thanks to the achievements and gallery. Gameplay: The rules are very straightforward and anyone can start reading and enjoying the adventure. Graphics: The original illustrations still look great and the overall presentation of the game is very good. Sound: Nice music, but a few more tunes to provide a bit more variety would have been nice.

The Nightmare Cooperative

The Nightmare Cooperative

A sixteen level rogue-like with small, screen sized levels might not sound like much, but The Nightmare Cooperative might just surprise you. There is a large selection of characters and controlling them all at the same time is certainly a unique, not to mention challenging experience. Learning how to play the game is a breeze, but truly mastering it will keep you busy for quite some time. Gameplay: Simple to play, but requires more strategy than you might think. Graphics: The vector art style is very distinctive. Sound: The tunes are not exactly catchy, but very fitting.

9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek

9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek

Join a paranormal private investigator as she rushes to the aid of her friend who runs into some trouble in the town of Serpent Creek. The Secrets of Serpent Creek is probably a little too short and easy for veteran players, but casual players or those new to the genre will still find plenty to like. It is not a groundbreaking title in any way, but the story is entertaining and the cast of interesting characters makes it worth a second look. Gameplay: Quite short and very, very easy, but still offers plenty of entertainment. Graphics: The usual hand painted scenes, but nothing really memorable. Sound: The music is good and the voice acting much better than what the genre typically has to offer.

Chime

Chime

It is a pity that Chime does not have more songs and levels as the game is extremely addictive. It plays like a cross between Tetris and Lumines, but is unique enough to keep you hooked. The audio plays a big role in the game and features tracks from some famous artists so this is a great title to add to your library. Gameplay: Simple but very addictive. Graphics: Simple but stylish. Sound: Tightly integrated with the gameplay.

Deadfall Adventures

Deadfall Adventures

Deadfall Adventures is not without its flaws, but overall it is a solid and enjoyable game with some nice locations and tricky puzzles. There is nothing here that hasn't already been done before, but it blends all the elements together for an action packed experience that isn't afraid to tax your grey matter either. Hopefully this isn't the last time we join the adventures of James Lee Quatermain. Gameplay: A nice mixture of action and puzzle solving. Graphics: Exotic locations and great attention to detail. Sound: The voice acting could have been better, but the music and sound effects are solid.

Leave a comment

sixteen − 3 =