Alan Wake's American Nightmare
During the first hour of this I was sure I was going to write a ”Not Recommended” review. But after the second half turned out to be much stronger than the first I’m split.
American Nightmare has many issues stemming from the fact that it was a low budget project compared to the full game. It has few of the outstanding production values that usually define Remedy titles. The music is nice, the writing is strong, and the combat is much improved by a greater variety of enemies. But the environments often feel like they belong in a shoddy mid budget title made by newbies. It’s blocky, blurry and uses simplistic lighting. Nothing like the original Alan Wake which is one of the best looking games of the past generation.
What came as a positive surprise was the story. I was sure it was going to be a nonsensical mess. But it turned out to be a worthy successor to Alan Wake. It felt well thought out, focused, and it made sense as a sequel. I would’ve liked to see this as a proper full game, with some of the ideas fleshed out more. In the original you picked up torn out pages which belonged to the story that was playing itself out in the game. They were a neat idea, but I didn't feel like they added too much. In American Nightmare they bridge the gap between the two years that have passed since the end of Alan Wake and what is happening now. You find out what happened to all the characters you met, and more importantly where Alan now finds himself and what he’s really trying to do. Instead of being filler the pages feel like a critical component to understanding and fully appreciating the story.
I’m not sure if there’s really any point in playing this. But I enjoyed it, and the ending wraps up the entire Alan Wake story in a way I liked. I doubt we’ll see any more games in this series, and I’m happy with the ending I got here. If only it had been given production values on the level of Burial at Sea Part 2.