February 27, 2012

Stay In the Light

Lasting First Impressions of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare from Remedy

Alan Wake boxart Turn out the lights, turn up the volume and prepare yourself to be scared by the shadows once again.  Alan Wake returns in an all-new adventure that gives fans of the original title more to chew on as well as acting as the perfect jumping on point for newcomers to the franchise.  Remedy, the original developers of 2008’s long anticipated title, Alan Wake, brings us a follow up adventure exclusive to Xbox Live Arcade with Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.

Fans of Alan Wake will have no trouble diving right into the adventure as all the staples have returned.  The flashlight, the weapons, batteries, the Taken and even the manuscript pages all make return appearances.  Trapped by Mr. Scratch in an alternate reality, Alan Wake must follow the clues left by his alter-ego in order to ‘rewrite’ reality and make his way back to his own life.

I loved playing the original Alan Wake title, though I never actually finished it. I found that it presented the fear factor so well that I could only play the game in small chunks at a time.  An hour here, an hour there.  The use of the darkness, the immersive music, the creepy images and sound, all combined to create the perfect sense of dread and foreboding.  All this returns perfectly in American Nightmare.  Remedy seems to have taken the core engine that was used to create the original game and repackaged it here with a brand new, albeit shorter, story to continue the franchise lest it be forgotten.  So much time and effort was put into Alan Wake that I’m sure this is an IP that neither Microsoft nor Remedy want to see die.

Alan Wake Screen

American nightmare brings three distinct areas to players to roam finding clues to put a stop to Mr. Scratch. In my time with the game I completed the first area which took just slightly over an hour.  I didn’t find all the available manuscript pages though so one could potentially spend much longer in each area making this at least a 3 to 4 hour adventure.  Not too shabby for an XBLA title.

Outside the Story Mode is an Arcade mode which will extend the life of this title greatly.  In many different game related areas, you must fight your way from dusk until dawn in a never ending wave of The Taken.  Can you survive?  I couldn’t, but as I’ve said in the past, I’m not the best FPS player out there.

Fans of Alan Wake will love stepping back into the darkness to vanquish the Taken. Those new to the series will get a great taste of what they missed but will certainly not be left disappointed.

Remedy, I gave you an hour and I am IMPRESSED.

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About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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