Alan Wake’s American Nightmare PC Review
“It’s not Alan Wake 2,” Remedy said when the information about Alan Wake’s American Nightmare started to drip out and saturate the video game press.
And yeah, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is certainly not Alan Wake 2. In fact, I’m not really sure what American Nightmare is. It’s not Alan Wake 1.5. It’s not really an expansion on the first Alan Wake title (which got two pieces of DLC already. Instead, it’s something of an anomaly, an exercise in the idea of Alan Wake without really hitting all the marks or providing all the context. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare ends up being a shadow of what Alan Wake is, and while it’s a nice diversion for a moment, it pales in comparison to a full Alan Wake title.
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (2012): PC (reviewed), Xbox 360
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Remedy Entertainment
Released: May 22, 2012
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare is supposed to be more about arcade-style combat than its predecessor, but it still manages to maintain the Remedy-style story that Alan Wake embodies. After the events of the original, we pick up with the titular protagonist and writer two years on — still trapped in another dimension of reality bending power, in the grip of demonic forces.
Wake is able to break back into the real world, but only to a degree, where “the barrier between the real world and the dark place thins.” That place is Night Springs, Arizona — a fictional location and the centerpiece of the TV show of the same name that exists in the Alan Wake universe. The power of the Dark Place helps to reshape reality and create an actual Night Springs, and it’s in this location that Wake can get back into the real world, somewhat. He’s there to hunt his doppelganger, Mr. Snatch, a serial killer with Wake’s likeness who is also actively trying to rejoin the world and screw everything up there.
Just how high the stakes are is a little hard to determine, and why Mr. Scratch is hanging around in Night Springs, generally murdering people, isn’t super clear either. All we know is that he’s after something that takes him from a rest stop to an observatory, and finally to a drive in. Those are the places through which Alan pursues him, along the way fighting off the franchise’s melee weapon-wielding former humans, the Taken.