Fan's of the popular psychological thriller, Alan Wake, will be pleasantly surprised that the downloadable title, American Nightmare, is a great follow-up to the original game.
For the most part, download-only games are usually pretty thin when it comes to content. Typically, these type of games have a sort-of, "you get what you paid for" experience. However, Remedy Entertainment's newest title will have fans of the genre impressed despite the modest price.
As you have already noticed, Alan Wake's American Nightmare isn't your typical sequel. The game doesn't even continue on from where the original ended. Infact, American Nightmare is more of a spin-off than anything.
The game's story starts off with Alan trapped in a desolate Arizona town with a very eerie feeling of an unknown presence. The player will soon find out that Alan, infact is stuck in his screenplay for a series titled, "Night Springs" in which he must fight off Mr. Scratch, his evil twin.
What's unique (and sometimes painfully drawn-out) is the fact that American Nightmare is framed by exposition from his tv show script. In fact, throughout the game, Alan must find hidden manuscript pages that reveal more of the story in which the play can unlock more weapons and find out what the heck is actually going on with this twisted reality.
Mr. Scratch, who for the most part, presence isn't very well explained, has control of the game's continual enemies called "the taken". These zombie-esque thugs have to be killed off using an assortment of weapons, which are semi-familiar from the original game.
Included in American Nightmare's gun repertoire is the traditional fighting mechanics from the original title. Alan must first blast light upon the enemies in order to then, blow them away with his assortment of weapons for their ultimate demise.
In American Nightmare, Alan has a host of weapons including machine guns, shotguns and of course the always fun, nail gun. For the most part, the enemies are pretty easy to kill and if the player finds themselves battered, they can always stand under a streetlight to regain health and flashlight battery.
As fans of the original title will see, this survival-horror gameplay is very similar to Alan Wake as well as the crisp graphics and audio. For the most part, American Thriller feels very smooth and natural and the visuals are very vibrant and detailed.
Story mode aside, American Nightmare also host a new arcade mode, where player finds themselves having to kill off hordes of the Taken in ten minute chunks of time. After each block of ten minutes, the hordes get increasingly difficult, which is why it would have been nice to include a multiplayer aspect to help with the work load.
With everything taken into account, American Nightmare is a pretty exciting and well crafted follow-up to the popular Alan Wake game franchise. While this game is fairly shorter than the original, fans won't feel ripped off with the $14.99 ticket price.
Alan Wake's American Nightmare is available for the Xbox Live Arcade and PC.
Final Game Guys Score: B+
(Remedy Entertainment provided a copy of this game for review.)