Game Reviews PC Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)
Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)

Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC) Hot

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Accessibility At A Glance Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)


Precision > No You will need precision to play
One-Handed > Maybe Take a look at the detailed review before you buy
Deaf Gamers > Yes You should have no issues with this game
Subtitles > Some Character text is present but not ambiant
Colorblind > No Not so sure this is the game for you

About the Game

Release Date
May 22, 2012


In this brand new standalone experience, Alan Wake fights the herald of darkness, the evil Mr. Scratch! A thrilling new storyline, hordes of creepy enemies, serious firepower and beautiful Arizona locations, combined with a challenging new game mode make this a compelling additional chapter for Alan Wake veterans, and the perfect jumping on point for new players! Play the full-fledged Story Mode, and you'll be on the edge of your seat as you fight to stop your murderous evil double to take back your life ... and change reality itself! But there's more to this nightmare -- in the action-packed Arcade Mode, you'll need to master the Fight with Light mechanic to stay alive until dawn and beat your friends on the Leaderboards. Can you survive until sunrise?

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Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)
Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)
Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC)

Editor review

Alan Wake's American Nightmare (PC) 2012-11-05 20:19:35 Jesse Lifshitz
Overall rating 
Jesse Lifshitz Reviewed by Jesse Lifshitz    November 05, 2012
Last updated: November 05, 2012
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a follow-up to Remedy Entertainment’s hit psychological thriller, Alan Wake. American Nightmare pits Alan Wake against enemies called the Taken, people or objects which have been corrupted by the darkness. Wake must fight these increasingly difficult enemies through the same three levels in a battle of light versus darkness. The gameplay consists of scavenging for manuscripts, while battling the Taken at scripted intervals.

The fight takes the metaphoric light versus dark quite literally, as you use a flashlight alongside weapons to destroy the Taken. There is no aiming reticule in the traditional sense, but only the flashlight beam. The third person over the shoulder view changes perspective from the left to right hand side occasionally. It can be hard to get used to at first, but the aiming gets easier overtime. The Taken are vulnerable to light and clicking the right mouse button focuses the flashlight on enemies. The beam forces the Taken to slow down their charge, and sometimes even kills them. Of course you have traditional weapons as well, such as shotguns, pistols, and nail guns. You can carry a sidearm, large weapon, flare guns, flares, and flashbangs all at once. Each piece of weaponry has its own uses. The flares and flashbangs are good for keeping your distance from enemies, while the traditional weapons work well hand in hand with the flashlight. Most enemies engage in hand to hand combat which forces you to backpedal, shine the light on them, or drop a flare to maintain your distance.

When enemies finally get close, you can dodge their attacks with the shift key, although this requires timing. If done correctly, Alan Wake will expertly dodge the oncoming attack in beautiful slow motion. The camera angle makes it easy to lose enemies in combat, but if they attack you from behind the game will go into slow motion for a second to give you time to press shift. Dodging is essential in combat, and without it your odds of survival plummet. You have little health in American Nightmare, so every hit can take away a good chunk of it. In a nice twist, instead of picking up health packs to heal you, streetlamps replenish your health and burn out afterward.

Usually, American Nightmare gives you plenty of breathing space with enemies, although there are some sequences in which the Taken spawn in front of you and you must fight in close quarters. These are not the game’s greatest moments, as the enemies can take cheap shots and you are forced to dodge excessively. These segments can take a number of tries to complete, but the save system is generally favorable. The game opts for a checkpoint system instead of save anywhere, but the checkpoints are never too far apart.

The story progresses through conversations with characters, as well as through manuscripts scattered around the levels. The manuscripts are easy to find, as the minimap shows a flashing question mark where they are located. Nearby ammo and healing sites are shown in a similar easy to see white on gray although they do not flash. Objectives are shown as yellow stars on a dark gray background. In addition to the minimap, you can spot objects by their white flicker. It is an effective technique to help you find new guns, ammo, or manuscripts from a distance. Of course the farther away the object, the harder the flicker is to notice.

Manuscripts are clearly legible and Alan Wake narrates them as he scrolls down the page. If he scrolls too quickly you can hit escape to stop the narration and then he shows the whole page at once. Each manuscript and conversation deepens the plot, or provides useful advice on fighting enemies. American Nightmare is has subtitles, although it does not say who is speaking. During cutscenes this is not a problem, as the camera focuses of the speaker, but there are optional radio shows to listen to. These radio shows do not say when a new person is speaking making them difficult to follow.

American Nightmare is a mostly straightforward game without too many puzzles. There are scenes in which you must match reality to a manuscript, but the game takes away the puzzle aspect by telling you what to do. The only real puzzle is when you have to turn on the electricity in a warehouse, and the three buttons light up red and green. You must match the colors to the colors above the buttons. While it is possible to guess, it is an unnecessary and pointless puzzle, especially when the other times the game holds your hand. It is a shame that there is a puzzle like that, because the rest of the game is accessible to colorblind gamers. The environments are never too hard to see and play on light versus dark rather than having vibrant colors.

Where American Nightmare falls short is in the excessive repetition. The story has you playing the same levels multiple times with tougher enemies each time. While it makes sense in the context of the story, it becomes slightly annoying.

In addition to the story mode, American Nightmare sports an Arcade Mode in which you must survive until dawn while fighting hordes of enemies. While this does not compare to Halo Reach’s Firefight mode, or Call of Duty’s Zombies, it is certainly a welcomed addition. Running around the map scavenging for weapons while fending off the Taken is challenging, but still enjoyable.

At a Glance:

Mobility: Combat is fast paced and requires timed button presses dodge enemy attacks. There are a few times you have to button mash to open a valve. During these sequences a white circle fills up as you click, and falls when you stop. American Nightmare requires two hands. You can easily remap all the keys, change the mouse sensitivity, and the game supports an Xbox 360 controller. Additionally the menus are navigable with either the keyboard or mouse. Recommended Score: 5/10

Hearing: American Nightmare is subtitled, although the subtitles do not say who is speaking. Without this feature, the radio segments can be hard to understand. The camera angle sometimes obstructs your view of enemies so it is common to rely on sound to detect them. Unfortunately American Nightmare does not convey the ambient sounds and the changes in music which would normally alert players to enemies. The objectives are always clearly displayed on the screen, so if you miss a bit of dialogue you will still know what to do. Recommended Score: 8/10

Visual: The text is clearly legible throughout the game. The gameplay is easy to see, although the camera angle can throw off your perspective in the beginning. It can be hard to shoot accurately with the angle. There are three puzzles which involve red and green buttons. Without the colors, solving the puzzle is luck. The rest of the game is playable though if you have someone who can push the right levers for the puzzle, or if you have the patients to try on your own. The minimap is clearly visible and uses yellow objective markers and white ammo and health markers against a dark background. Recommended Score: 4/10

Overall: Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is a unique thriller with a plot that will leave you clueless until you are further along. The game makes you feel connected to Alan Wake’s struggle, which makes the final blow to your enemy all the more satisfying. At times the combat can be frustratingly difficult with enemies spawning in front of you, but most of the time it is manageable. The light versus darkness gameplay gives the shooting elements a welcomed breath of fresh air. There were times when playing the same three levels multiple times became annoying, but when the story was finished, I felt satisfied after saving Alan Wake. American Nightmare successfully merges innovative gameplay with a remarkable story that any shooter or thriller fan should enjoy.

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About the Author
Jesse Lifshitz
My favorite thing to do in life is helping people. After that come gaming and writing, and somewhere those two passions merge to form my love for AbleGamers. Currently I'm studying comp sci at NYU.

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