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

The Last Tinker™: City of Colors

The Last Tinker™: City of Colors

If you remember the golden era of 3D adventure titles such as Zelda, Jak and Daxter and Banjo Kazooie then The Last Tinker is a must. It doesn't copy these games directly, as is evident by the lack of a jump button, but it does a great job capturing the feel and atmosphere of the titles that inspired it. The colorful and vibrant gameworld is a joy to explore and the puzzles involving colors as well as strange Mushroom people are loads of fun. Gameplay: Perfectly captures the look and feel of the 3D adventures of the Playstation and PS2 era. Graphics: Colorful visuals with some great character designs. Sound: An exotic soundtrack with plenty of memorable tunes.

Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold Collector’s Edition

Melissa K. and the Heart of Gold Collector's Edition

If you are not a fan of the genre then Melissa K. And The Heart of Gold is probably not going to change your mind, but it has plenty to offer those that do enjoy these type of games. Considering its mobile origins the visuals are actually pretty good and the gameplay is diverse enough that you are not only spending your time scouring screens for hidden objects. The story didn’t have us complete hooked, but as a whole we can recommend this title to anyone that enjoys a polished casual gaming experience with plenty of replay value and extras. Gameplay: A nice blend of adventuring, puzzle solving and hidden object scenes. Graphics: Very detailed and featuring some exotic locations. Sound: Good music, nice sound effects and solid voice acting overall.

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion

Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion

Legacy of Dorn is a thrilling chapter in the Warhammer 4000 saga and packs a very engrossing story. The game also makes the most of the license by packing the space hulk with all the major foes. Space Marines are designed for combat and Legacy of Dorn certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. It is still a gamebook though, so if you don’t like reading or expect cutting edge visuals it is better to steer clear. Everyone else should definitely let their imagination run wild with this title. Gameplay: The story is fast paced and thrilling although a little jargon heavy at times. Graphics: Atmospheric, but mostly text and not that easy on the eyes due to the color scheme. Sound: The game features no speech, but the ambient soundtrack is fitting and unobtrusive.

Dark Arcana: The Carnival

Dark Arcana: The Carnival

Dark Arcana: The Carnival is a hidden object game where you step into the shoes of a detective tasked with locating a young mother who went missing at a carnival. Evidence seems to suggest that the manager might be involved, but it quickly becomes apparent that it is not an ordinary missing persons case. If you like hidden object games with creepy locations and interesting twists, then you'll enjoy this one. Just be warned that none of the puzzles or mini-games are particularly challenging and the game is quite short overall. Gameplay: Interesting, but relatively short. Graphics: The artwork is decent, but cut-scenes and animations definitely show their age. Sound: The voice acting isn't great, but the music and sound effects are good.

Vertical Drop Heroes HD

Vertical Drop Heroes HD

Vertical Drop Heroes HD is simple enough that you can instantly jump in and have fun for a few minutes, but addictive enough to keep you hooked for hours. All the procedural elements keep things interesting and there are tons of skills as well as traits to unlock. The game offers a lot of value for money and will keep you coming back again and again for "just one more go." Gameplay: Simple, but very addictive. Graphics: Cartoonish visuals with some nice 2-D artwork. Sound: Catchy tunes.

Kana Okaeri

Kana Okaeri

Kana Okaeri improves on the original title with updated visuals as well as full Japanese voice acting. Thankfully the original story remains untouched apart from some translation fixes. It is a pity that the resolution has only been increased slightly over the original version, but anyone who have not yet experienced this game should definitely check it out. The new art and visuals also make it an enticing offer for players that want to relive the emotional roller-coaster of a story. Gameplay: The storyline is incredibly moving and you can actually make choices that affect the outcome of the game. Graphics: The updated visuals look great, but the resolution is fixed at 800x600. Sound: The soundtrack is still great and the new voice acting is done professionally.

Leave a comment

nineteen − two =