PC Review: Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Is Alan’s second outing a nightmare?

The original Alan Wake took a very, very, very long time to come out. Some question if the wait was worth it, while I personally think it was great and under-appreciated, although I wasn’t a big fan of the DLC episodes as it didn’t really add anything to the overall plot and Alan is left in the same place as he was at the end of the game. American Nightmare isn’t really clear on wherever it is canon or not, since the story is told in the style of The Twilight Zone on a TV in Barry’s hotel room.

However, the story is perhaps the main reason to enjoy American Nightmare. Alan is trying to stop his doppelganger “Mr Scratch” to escape a time loop which sends Alan back to repeat the events he’s done so far. There are 3 locations that Alan visits, a motel, an observatory and a drive-in theatre and in total, you’ll be coming back to these places 3 times, which unfortunately feels a bit dragged out and repetitive by the end.

In terms of gameplay, American Nightmare plays just like the original Alan Wake. You shine your light at the enemies who chase you to make them vulnerable to bullets, there are some new enemies that are pretty tough to beat and objects also become possessed like before. My favourite part has to be at the oil derrick where somehow you can cause a satellite to hit it and cause a massive explosion to the tune of “Club Foot” by Kasabian, random as it sounds…it’s really good. Actually, here’s a video of it:

There are manuscript pages to find also, but they actually have value for more than just story elements. Collecting a certain amount will let you unlock weapon caches for better guns. Besides that, there’s the Arcade mode which lets you fight the Taken for as long as possible for a high score. It’s good fun, but it doesn’t quite have the replay value that I had hoped. As a whole, the package is good and it’s well worth getting for anyone who enjoyed the original, but its definitely more action-orientated. It doesn’t have that “thriller” edge to it that the first game had. With Alan Wake 2 being teased at the time of writing, I do hope that we see a real sequel and hopefully it wont take 6 years to emerge.

In terms of visuals, American Nightmare is a good looking game. It still has that look to it that makes it stand out from the crowd, while the live-action cut scenes are nice too. Voice-acting is great, there are some truly great performances here and the music is also damn good.

The Verdict

While it’s not quite the “sequel” that I hoped for, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a good game with some great moments for fans and newcomers alike. Revisiting the same places 3 times isn’t perhaps the best way to extend the life of the campaign, but at least its memorable and the Arcade mode isn’t too bad either. Roll on Alan Wake 2 already!!