American Nightmare is a spin-off DLC to the rather good Alan Wake. It’s a short, stand alone adventure, roughly 2-3 hours in length. You once again take control of Alan Wake, this time stuck within a time loop battling his evil doppelganger, Mr Scratch.
It looks decent enough and plays just like the original, which is fine, but sadly there’s not a lot else I can say that’s particularly positive about it. Mr Scratch is probably the best thing about AN as he taunts Alan through televisions in the game using live-action segments. And, uh, yeah, that’s about it really.
The story element is sort of interesting, but not brilliantly handled, and not exactly engaging for the player when it largely boils down to dull, item gathering quests. There are only three locations in the game, which due to the time loop aspect are revisited three times. None of them are very interesting and I was pretty sick of them the second time around, let alone the third. And whilst the Alan Wake gameplay is solid enough, it’s not exactly spectacular and certainly not interesting enough to make up for all the other lacklustre elements of American Nightmare.
I really enjoyed the original game, enough to play it through twice (and maybe again in the future) because it was a game which, despite featuring less than exciting gameplay, made up for it many other areas. American Nightmare, unfortunately, doesn’t really have anything else going for it, and so is pretty much relying entirely on its gameplay to see it through. But it’s simply not good enough.
The default difficulty is a cakewalk, so bump it up if you want some sort of challenge. Aside from the main story there’s a arcade style ‘Horde’ mode which seems bizarrely out of place and only further highlights the problems of the core gameplay. It’s just not suited to this kind of arena based, arcade environment. Plus, it’s very dull playing it alone. If they’d added a co-op option where the other player could play Barry for example, that would have at least made it more fun. As it is, I don’t really see the point of it.
Overall, American Nightmare provides a couple of hours of light entertainment, but honestly, I just grew rather bored of it before the end. It’s a pretty mediocre addition to the Alan Wake ‘series’ such as it is, and really not worth bothering with unless you’re a really die-hard fan of the character. Then you may get something out it, but I know I sure didn’t.