Alan Wake’s American Nightmare PC Review

As a PC port of a game that originally appeared as an Xbox Live Arcade download, American Nightmare is yet another solid effort from Remedy and worth emulating by other developers. The game is packed full of graphical options and includes necessary but laudable additions like a field of view adjuster, and in general it tends to look pretty nice on PC, all things considered. The Xbox controls also transfer pretty well to a mouse and keyboard, just like with the PC release of Alan Wake.

As a fan of the Alan Wake franchise, I just don’t really see why Remedy chose to make Alan Wake’s American Nightmare. I like all the elements in play — the Night Springs presentation, the continuing Alan Wake story, the inclusion of the vicious Mr. Scratch — but they don’t seem to really function all that well in the smallish, relatively thin American Nightmare. The function of the game really just feels like it was to give us the arcade mode, but I don’t think we really needed it; and in terms of story, American Nightmare feels like something that would have worked better if we had waited and gotten a full game release. The quality of the PC port is nice, and Alan Wake fans will want to play to keep up to speed, but American Nightmare just isn’t all that satisfying a dip back into the Dark Place or Remedy’s interesting franchise.

Pros:

  • Quality PC port with lots of options
  • Nice to be back in the Alan Wake world
  • Night Springs-style presentation can be very cool
  • Mr. Scratch has his moments as an awesome antagonist
  • Arcade mode can be harrowing

Cons:

  • Story’s a little thin
  • Lots of trucking around the same three huge environments to find collectibles
  • Not a lot to distinguish American Nightmare from Alan Wake
  • Combat isn’t really compelling enough to carry a whole game on its own
  • Conclusion is sadly anti-climactic
  • Feels like an unnecessary edition to the franchise

Final Score: 75/100

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