When Alan Wake’s American Nightmare was announced there was a lot of confusion as to whether it was a stand alone title or a sequel. Remedy assured us that it was a stand alone title, that will serve as an expansion to the universe. Taking place some time after the original game, you control Alan Wake in an episode of “Night Springs” (an homage to The Twilight Zone) which he himself wrote.
The Champion of Light (Alan Wake) is brought to “Night Springs”, Arizone must battle his evil doppelganger (Mr. Scratch) by re-writing reality. The story is a little hard to follow, but thanks to the performance of Finnish actor Ikka Villi as the face of Alan Wake/Mr. Scratch and the performance of Matthew Porretta as the voice, they make it a hell of a fun ride. The radio host from Alan Wake returns, along with Barry Wheeler and The Old Gods of Asgard which make for some fun radio segments. Unfortunately the rest of the characters in the game come off bland and have no emotion to them. Ultimately the ending confusing is about as confusing as the ending to Alan Wake was, and it’s kind of frustrating. Especially when the main narrative has you going in circles. American Nightmare does deliver some great set pieces though, which are accompanied by it’s great sound track.
The game play is just like the original’s, use your flash light to diminish the darkness around the enemies and blast them with what ever weapon you have. The main difference is the addition of more firepower, making for a more action packed experience. Having a combat shotgun really helps, and I dare someone to find a better weapon than the nail gun. What surprised me the most about American Nightmare were the visuals. New to the franchise is “Arcade Mode”, Arcade Mode serves as a survival mode where you must fight off the horde of Taken until dawn. Upon completing each map, a new one will unlock. Remedy managed to pack a lot of content into a downloadable title and I was very surprised.
American Nightmare looks stunning, and for a downloadable title, that’s hard to come by. The mouth movements aren’t so stunning though and most of the time it’s only the bottom lip moving which can throw you off. I did run into some frame rate drops, but overall it was a smooth experience. It looks just as good as the original game, and it features a blend of live action sequences and in game sequences.
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a pulpy fun ride, while the story is a little hard to follow, Alan Wake and Mr. Scratch deliver a great good self vs evil self performance and make it an enjoyable experience throughout. The game play is vastly improved with the introduction of tons of new weapons. The visuals are great for a downloadable title, and Remedy proved that there is such a thing as retail experience in an downloadable format. There’s a good amount of content with it’s 6-7 hour campaign, and arcade mode. Some characters are a bit bland, and uninspiring. Overall, American Nightmare is worth a try, and those who were skeptical as to whether or not Remedy would justify it’s price point should no longer worry.
- Great visuals for a downloadable title
- Stunning performance by Ikka Villi and Matthew Porretta
- A fun ride throughout
- Story is a bit hard to follow, and the ending is a frustrating as the first
- Supporting characters are bland