Fans of Alan Wake have wanted more content for the series since the last DLC release “The Signal” came out. Most figured that due to lackluster sales, that they would see one of their favorite titles die with no conclusion and left with more questions than after any viewing of an episode of Lost.
Then, Remedy announced Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and gave everyone a spark of hope. Sure it wasn’t Alan Wake 2: Alan Waker, but it was better than nothing. Just know, dear friends, American Nightmare is an excellent follow-up to the 2010 original.
Alan has been fighting against Mr. Scratch for the past two years in the Dark dimension, and then he isn’t. Waking up in a desert canyon near the town of Night Springs, Arizona, Mr. Wake knows that he needs to stop Mr. Scratch. So, in Night Springs Alan must traverse the desert and discover the secret to destroying Mr. Scratch and returning everything to normal.
Telling you more about the story of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare would be a crime. While the combat has been improved, the story, characters, ambiance, and general tone is still the strong point in this game. As a near direct follow up to the second DLC piece “The Writer,” you should probably be at least a little bit invested in the story before jumping in here.
Alan knows he has the power to change what is, into what it should be. Along the way he is still running into his old friends, The Taken. With three new types of enemies (Taken that multiply when light is shined on them, and Taken that can turn into birds at the drop of a hat, and finally, huge-ass spiders), Alan’s job of rewriting the future-past-present has become much more difficult. The combat itself feels very similar to that of the original game. While Alan Wake has new weapons to take advantage of, the biggest improvement is the ammo and battery supply.
In Alan Wake, I was always worried about how much ammo I had left. The scarcity of the ammo didn’t make fights tense, just aggravating. This time around, bullets for every weapon are plentiful and there are batteries at every turn. Between random cases of ammo laying around (that will automatically change into ammo for whatever weapons you are carrying) and supply cabinets the refill every minute or so, you will never run dry. Throughout the areas, you will find weapon cases on the ground that hold more powerful weapons. Make sure you are diligent about finding the manuscript pages, though, as they are the key to opening these cases.
The manuscript pages themselves are much easier to deal with in American Nightmare as well. Not only do they shine in darkness but they show up as a question mark on your mini-map. This makes unlocking the better weapons (and getting more story details) fairly easy.
American Nightmare also comes with an “Action Arcade” section, which is a single-player wave based survival mode. It works well for what it is. However, without the major story trappings or cooperative play I didn’t find much draw in it. If you are looking for a Resident Evil: Mercenaries-like mode for $15, however, I think this will treat you very well.
My only real complaint with this game is that it isn’t a fully fledged Alan Wake sequel. While spending more time with Alan in his world was a great time, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting Remedy to create even more in the franchise. There is no getting around it: Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a must buy if you enjoyed the original title.
This review is based on a retail code sent to SideQuesting by Remedy Entertainment.
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 Microsoft Points.