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February 22, 2012



- More weird Alan Wake fiction
- Ammo is abundant
- Full. Motion. Video.
- I could watch that satellite crash over and over


- Haters of time travel have something to moan about
- Arcade Mode does a "good" of showcasing the so-so combat/gunplay



Review: Alan Wake (360)

Review: Resident Evil 5 (360)

Review: The Suffering (XB)



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Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Score: 8.0 / 10


alan wake's american nightmare          alan wake's american nightmare


The good news with Alan Wake's American Nightmare is that it confirms that more Alan Wake is on the way. This writer is all for that!


I revel in the weirdness of the Alan Wake fiction. Is this all actually happening or is it taking place in someone's unconscious mind? Alan's mind or the mind of his nemesis, Mr. Scratch? How does the flashlight battery re-charge itself like that? How long has Alan been stuck in this crazy time loop?




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That last question springs from the central plot point of American Nightmare. If you remember an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the Enterprise-D is locked in this time loop that always ends in the destruction of the ship. Did you like it? Then you'll have no problem with American Nightmare. But if you're like my wife, who


literally snapped our DVD copy of Groundhog Day in half so I'd never suggest watching it again, then you'll be disappointed with the time travel conceit that runs throughout American Nightmare.

But if you've already bellied up to the table of Alan Wake's craziness, why not enjoy that bit of time travelling? Besides, running through each area multiple times -- playing out a little differently each time -- offers the chance for more exposition or at least some half-cocked explanations of what the hell is actually happening and what happened after the events of "The Writer" DLC.

The story can be played through pretty quickly but I found myself itching to restart the game after it was over, if only to find more manuscript pages to "complete" the fiction.


alan wake's american nightmare          alan wake's american nightmare


The manuscript pages are used to unlock weapon cases in the story campaign and in the Arcade mode, which does a good job showcasing the combat.

"Showcasing" should be read with a tinge of sarcasm (even if the guns themselves are pretty damn awesome). The Arcade mode simply demonstrates the shortcomings of the gunplay as Alan squares off against wave after wave of Taken in an arena setting. The combat works better when there's space to work with and the appearance of the taken can be more or less predicted. Alan Wake works better as a paranormal, weird story/adventure game with some light gunplay so when the story is stripped out of the equation... it feels hollow.

I'm not convinced that anyone who hasn't already played the original game -- which is available on Xbox 360 for $20US most places, and just launched on PC with the DLC episodes -- would be able to even marginally follow what the hell is going on in American Nightmare. No doubt it would up the bizarreness of the game for those players but the main draw is more or less for fans only. And, really, this writer is okay with that.

- Aaron Simmer

(February 27, 2012)


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