Our dear friend Alan Wake is back for another adventure and it is filled with plenty of action and surprises. Alan is trapped within an episode of Night Springs, the hit television show he was once a writer for. Mr. Scratch, who is Alan’s evil doppelganger, has brought the reality of the show to life in our world and is forcing Alan to live the events that he once thought up and put onto paper.
Action: The original Alan Wake was all about suspense and emotion, American Nightmare on the other hand brings action and thrills. Don’t get me wrong the suspense and emotion are still present, but now they are mixed in with intense action for a new take on the franchise. Remedy has said in the developer diaries that the first games inspirations were Stephen King and Lost, American Nightmare was fuelled by memories of Quentin Tarantino and From Dusk Till Dawn. This truly shows through the emotional edge of your seat adventure that American Nightmare brings to the table.
Weapons: Alan’s main weapon against the Taken has always been light, and the firearm of choice for his original adventure was the pistol. He has upgraded since we last saw him as you will be able to use a SMG, combat shotgun, nail gun, and even a crossbow that can penetrate the darkness. The nail gun and cross bow can be found on different parts of the map, but the others you will have to work for. The way you gain access to these other weapons is by finding the various manuscript pages spread out through the story mode. When you get so many pages you will be able to unlock the cases holding these powerful weapons in both story and arcade mode.
Fight till Dawn: This mode was the reason American Nightmare was originally made, the developers created it and had been trying to beat each other’s scores and decided to make it into a game that the fans could enjoy. You will have to survive the night on five different maps in an action packed ten minutes that plays similar to horde mode or firefight. I love being placed in these spooky locations armed with only my pistol and a flashlight. If you keep dodging and taking out the enemies you will find stronger weapons, flares, and flashbangs to take down the stronger enemies that come with higher waves. Will you be able to survive until dawn and rack up a high score that can beat your friends?
Light and Dark: If Alan is the champion of light, then Mr. Scratch is the herald of darkness. They are link yin and yang or two sides of the same coin. Alan fights to keep his life intact and Mr. Scratch yearns to destroy it. Scratch is using his charm, supernatural powers, the taken, and even Wake’s name to get what he wants. The thing that he wants is to get to Alan’s friends and family and ruin his life, but Alan pushes onward to protect both them and the world. Remedy did an amazing job with their antagonist for this game because he has plenty of great back and forth with Alan and they show that you don’t always have to be fighting the enemy to have a great story.
Nods to the Original: Televisions, radios, and manuscript pages all make a return in American Nightmare. In this game they are used to flesh out the story and make reference to the original game. The television’s will play videos that Mr. Scratch has left behind to torment Alan, while radio shows detail the lives of characters from the previous game. Manuscripts flesh out many different parts of the story and what is going on with other characters. These collectibles are fun to find and I enjoyed watching, reading, and listening to them. They are much more enjoyable to collect than collectables in other games because they are just there to collect and sometimes that can be tedious.
Music: The soundtrack of the first game played an important role in the ambiance and Remedy did an amazing job with this soundtrack as well. They have licensed songs, a new score by Petri Alanko, and even some new songs by The Old Gods of Asgard. This soundtrack fits well with both the suspense and the action that American Nightmare has within the game.
Avatar Awards: The original game had an avatar award but it was difficult to get as you needed to collector’s edition disk. American Nightmare has avatar awards as well and they are much easier to acquire. There is an Old Gods of Asguard t-shirt for beating the story, a hoodie with the logo for meeting Emma in the game, and a Night Springs t-shirt for unlocking nightmare difficulty in the arcade mode. These are some great ways for your avatar to show off how much of a fan you are.
Environments: While this wasn’t a big deal for me because I enjoyed the way it unfolded, some people may feel that the environments in the story are repetitive. There are really only three different areas in the story and while they are large, you do spend plenty of time in them. I won’t reveal why you spend so much time in them to avoid spoilers but some people may be turned off by the way it turns out.
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a fun spin off from his main adventure. Remedy did an amazing job making the game easy to pick up and play for newcomers and fleshing out the lore for fans of the original. The game is an action packed adventure for a great price and I would recommend it to any fan of the franchise or newcomers alike. We can’t wait to see what is next for Alan Wake and where his story will take us.