[Review] Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (PC) – The Love Affair Ends Here

Alan Wake, my disturbing boyfriend: I have obviously fallen hard for your first story, and I cannot see past it. I am sorry to say we must part ways.

I have droned on and on before about my love affair with the original Alan Wake on PC. My heart flutters when I read about the game, see its logo, even think about those Taken…I have such warm thoughts for this scary-ass game. It was my first hardcore game I played without any assistance from anyone – just me. I even deemed it the number one game I played in 2013! So when I learned there was a sequel to Alan Wake – Alan Wake’s American Nightmare – I couldn’t wait to see what the developers, Remedy, would come up with.

Is it okay to say the game is good, but secretly feel like your boyfriend broke up with you a little on the inside?

Framed in a campy 50s Twilight Zone episode rip-off, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare begins with Alan in a mysterious town called Night Springs, Arizona. Alan is chasing down Mr. Scratch; someone who resembles Alan physically, but who has an evil soul. Mr. Scratch has the ability of controlling everything in Alan’s world and hell-bent on taking everything away from him that he cares about. Alan soon finds out that he himself has the ability to re-write his own history, so he tries to track down Mr. Scratch in an attempt to make things right in the universe. Like the original game, Alan goes around collecting pages of a manuscript and weapons like guns, as well as ammo and batteries. Alan mostly travels by night, and uses a trusty flashlight to find his way. The flashlight also comes in handy when he needs to defeat the all-too-familiar Taken (hoards of shadow men that carry weapons and try to kill Alan), as light fends them off.

The fundamental mechanics of American Nightmare are basically the same as the original; have gun and flashlight with occasional flashbang, will travel. But really, that’s where it ends. The one essential element that was unforgettable in the first Alan Wake was the constant sense of dread – a hopelessness – that never left you the entire gameplay. So, it isn’t so far-fetched to expect the same treatment in its sequel, right?

Actually, like its predecessor, American Nightmare is considered a Survival Horror game…and well, I am a scardy-cat, and American Nightmare was NOT scary. It is definitely an action game (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). One indicator was the game never gave you time to catch your breath for all the fighting you do. The Taken are constantly on you, which, I guess might make you feel anxious as you’re fighting the hoard. But, it wasn’t frightening.It reminded me more of Street Fighter 2, than the original Alan Wake for all the fighting!

Another thing: in the original game, I was constantly foraging for bullets and batteries. It was an endless task, and often I found myself fighting for my life with nothing left. In a surprising turn, the sequel provides the gamer with a seemingly endless supply of ammo and guns to help  through the action! A gun or an ammo cabinet is always close by to draw from if you run out of bullets. There is also a weapon change-up in American Nightmare; like the game poster suggests, you can now fight Taken using a nail gun, machine gun and crossbow!

I am not going to say not to play American Nightmare…It really isn’t that bad game-wise. It was O-K. It didn’t blow. But, I played through the first part, and just couldn’t see myself continuing to the end. I am too entrenched in the first Alan Wake. I obviously went in biased with high expectations, and well, the game was not what I expected. So long, Alan Wake. Until they release another sequel…adieu.

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
Developer: Remedy
Released: 2012


  1. To be fair, this game wasn’t meant to be a sequel, but more of a one time spin off. A side story that’s not cannon with the series. The rumors are good that Remedy is working on a proper sequel though!


  2. I have to agree with you, but I don’t see Alan Wake: American Nightmare a “proper” game. It feels more like DLC or just a bonus content. I like still that they have put the arcade mode in it, that’s a lot of fun.


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