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Xbox 360 Game Review

Alan Wake's American Nightmare


Format: Xbox 360
Remedy Entertainment
RRP: £10.00 (1200 Microsoft Points)
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 22 February 2012

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a stand-alone digital spin-off adventure, which is downloadable for 1200 Microsoft Points from Xbox Live Arcade. The game features a thrilling pulp action adventure story mode and an all new “Fight till Dawn” arcade mode.

For fans of the series, American Nightmare shines a new light on the Alan Wake universe, while appealing to fans and newcomers alike.

As downloadable, cheap Xbox Live games go, Alan Wake's American Nightmare ticks all the right boxes. It looks pretty impressive and the story is engaging. However, play this for a few hours and the cracks soon start to show through. I couldn't help wondering if this was originally intended to be a game with a £50 retail price... but then the developers simply ran out of time/money. Parts of the game are incredibly well polished and presented, whilst other aspects seem rushed and/or still in their rough draft stages.

The more I played the game, the more I was convinced that this was originally supposed to be so much more. Was the time-travel loop story line the original one, or was it simply used in order to stretch out the game play for as long as possible? Personally, I was getting a little tired of repeating the same (well, with a few tweaks) quests time and time again.

Another complaint is that it's a little too easy to get killed and when that happens you can be transported back quite some way, which is a pain when you have to watch the same cut sequences again. Then there's the rather strange dialogue and odd mix of cut sequences - some of which look great, others incredibly poor.

But, on balance this is more hit than miss.

The single player campaign comes from the darkest corners of the ‘Night Springs’, a Twilight Zone inspired fiction. American Nightmare is an exaggerated and gritty rendering of that world - where the horrors of reality have the all too easy habit of coming true. When Wake becomes stuck in the alternate shadowed world of Night Springs, he must hunt down his evil doppelganger, Mr. Scratch, to find the answers. A supernatural serial killer, Scratch has his evil mind fixated on Wake’s wife, Alice, and even more horribly, Wake’s demise. To survive and thrive in the darkest of nights, Wake must learn to control reality itself and unravel the secret to Mr. Scratch’s demise with a trusty flashlight by his side and whatever weapon he can find.

The brand new “Fight till Dawn” arcade mode places Wake in the battle of his life. Players are tasked with surviving a full night of brutal onslaughts while racking up their score. With a myriad of new enemies to battle, Wake won’t have any trouble since he’ll have plenty of deadly options within his arsenal: old stalwarts like the flare gun, wild new favourites like the nail gun and old school Remedy favourites like the Uzi. Thankfully, safe havens and unlockable weapons litter the landscape, allowing for a momentary respite from the darkness. Surviving until dawn is only the beginning though, as online leaderboards pit friends head-to-head to see who the real champion of light is.

For Alan Wake fans this is well worth picking up and to be honest at the low RRP, it will entertain most gamers for a little while.


Darren Rea

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