Posted: January 22
In the first ten minutes of Alan Wake, you are pursued and consumed by an unknown dark force, showing how it's an atmospheric horror/thriller. In the first ten minutes of American Nightmare, you blow up an oil well with a satellite, showing how it's not while still being an awesome game.
This stand-alone expansion to Alan Wake simplifies many elements of the original while making a few adjustments here and there. Now your flashlight regenerates faster and only needs one battery to fill up, but in exchange the only way you can burn darkness off of enemies is to focus your light on them. You're given a great many more weapons, but in exchange your flashbangs and flare gun don't do as much damage as they once did. There are only three levels, but they're expansive and more open ended, plus there's a manuscript radar so you aren't poking around every edge of the map looking for the last couple pages. It all works pretty well, mostly to play up the Survival-esque Arcade mode where you have to hold off waves of Taken for ten minutes. Or as long as you can in those ten minutes in Nightmare mode before the Taken smear you across the room. Speaking of Nightmare mode, it's also unlocked from the start this time, though it felt a little underwhelming. I don't know.
On the store page it's recommended to someone interested in starting out the Alan Wake series, but there are tons of post-Alan Wake spoilers in the manuscript and dialogue that it's hard to really say that. The simplified action gameplay is easy to pick up and fun, but the spoilers hurt the original game. So it's hard to start on this game if you plan to play the original at any point. American Nightmare plays as an interesting epilogue to the rest of the original series and its DLC.
While it may become repetitive, sadly, American Nightmare is still a solid recommendation for rocking what made the original game great and tackling a different genre simultaneously, while still holding the feel of the original.