After the events of Alan Wake our eponymous hero finds himself in the middle of a new adventure in Arizona, where his own words again hold the key to defeating his doppelgänger the malevolent Mr Scratch who spreads darkness wherever he goes. Alan is now more experienced at dealing with the weird and horrific and more determined to turn the tide.
It is very easy for me to say Alan Wake is one of the best psychological thrillers to grace the Xbox360 console and now we are treated to a smaller stand alone sequel from Remedy straight onto the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace, released as part of the fantastic House Party package. Will American Nightmare bring with it the feeling of unease, will it capture the thrills and unique darkness fighting action of the original, will we feel the twists and turns and confusion of a great storyline, we will have to wait and see.
It doesn’t matter if you have never played the first either when setting out on this new adventure but you may still be a little confused however if your not familiar with Alan Wake’s history, but it does do its best to try and catch up new players in a short space of time by reading through the manuscript pages that you collect however unlike the original these are not exactly hard to find as they are marked on your map when your near them. Also unlike the original your not searching for pages of a story you cannot remember, so the sense of unfolding spooky events is no longer present, but finding these pages do help you unlock weapon cases that can be found lying around with treats like sub machine guns and shots guns to be found.
American Nightmare takes place in Night Springs, where you need to bend reality to escape by fighting off legions of the Taken by using a light source to burn away the protective shrouds of darkness that makes the impervious to harm, some of the Taken are not protected however by the darkness like some of their comrades, instead their aversion to light is so extreme that they split into two when they encounter strong light, expect them be weaker but gain strength in numbers. All enemies you encounter never give up and follow you until you kill them.
Graphically the darkness of the game, the lighting textures and the general environments are all just as polished and detailed as the original, so you are unlikely to feel cheated with the quality of the games visuals, it presentation or sound effects, however it seems more geared towards those that hated the lack of action in the original at a loss of storyline. Alan Wakes personality and complexity of it is sorely lacking in this short sequel. American Nightmare is certainly more action packed but those who loved the originals storyline will be slightly disappointed.
American Nightmare is not perfect but enjoyable!!
Generally the game-play is more streamlined and improved but because it isn’t focused on the storyline its enjoyable while it lasts but doesn’t leave you begging for more it just leaves you in a confused state with more questions to be answered, Veterans of the previous game will know to save ammunition and flash bangs for the times when your swamped and surrounded for those that are not its a friendly tip for you. American Nightmare also has some re playability in the form of the new arcade mode, where you scramble to find as many weapons as you can as the Taken start to spawn, with each map having predetermined items available including basic weapons and more advanced firearms at this stage I would recommend you play through the storyline at least once to completion so that all your weapons are unlocked because you will need them.
While very few Taken spawn at first, each wave becomes larger and more difficult. Taken are much more aggressive than your typical survival mode because you having to keep an eye on your back as soon as Alan draws a bead on an approaching Taken, there is another already circling around behind him. Surviving each level, never mind attaining a high score, is definitely a challenge but once again it shows that American Nightmare is geared more towards action than intense storyline which in my opinion is what made the original so good.
Overall American Nightmare isn’t perfect, it’s loss of storyline depth and character complexity is missed greatly, however it does take you back to Alan’s world, and fans of the series will I’m sure love the American Nightmare, a more action packed adventure for Alan Wake to survive!