Different But Great In It's Own Right

User Rating: 8 | Alan Wake's American Nightmare PC

Following a great game, even with an expansion pack, can be a tough balancing act. Alan Wake’s American Nightmare manages to do more good than harm to the series and, while it is of a different style than the original, shows that there are many ways to make a great game. The original Alan Wake was very much a light survival horror game. There were only basic firearms; scattered bits of light to heal yourself; and while it wasn’t the hardest game around it manages to have a good amount of challenge without being sadistic. American Nightmare sheds a lot of the survival horror themes in favour of more action and black comedy. Gone are the basic weapons and in their place you get automatic weapons almost right away. This isn’t a terrible thing as the action is a lot more fun than the original but it lacks the tense parts you had and also gets way too easy. Never once did I feel challenged and never once did I die. Again, I’m not slamming the game nor am I angry because if you’re going to substitute tension for action and it is great action then I can make that work and enjoy it. Had it been sub par or not fun then it would be a different story. Some other differences are that the flare gun and flash bang grenades no longer have the ability to destroy enemies. Given the reduced difficulty this isn’t a terrible thing but it is unexplained why these enemies are somehow hardened against this attack all of a sudden. The game also lacked the ranged enemies of the original. All but one enemy were only effective close range which was another part that made the game easier. The game also has a more open world feel to it. The objectives require more travel and exploration with less paths blocked off. The HUD was improved to accommodate this with a great mini map. You can also unlock better weapons by finding the manuscript pages which gave extra reason aside from back story. The manuscript pages themselves now appear to move down the page as they get read which was a nice touch from the static pages of the original. The story was once again a fun and engaging ride. It had some holes in it such as just how the trap at the end actually works but overall I still highly enjoyed it. The black humour I mentioned earlier was also a great addition to the game. Your main nemesis this game is an evil alter ego of Alan called Mr. Scratch. He shows up on televisions to taunt Alan frequently as well as torture people. The music was also another strong point of the game. If Remedy came out and said they designed the whole game around the song “Clubfoot” by Kasabian then I would not only accept it but congratulate it. The game even manages to try to recreate a music scene like the one from the original where you fend off Taken on a concert stage. It wasn’t quite as good but still fun. The voice acting and characters were once again top notch. Alan; Mr. Scratch; Emma; Serena; and Dr. Meadows all were sued well and did a great job. The cut scenes were very high quality as well. Graphically the game was much the same as the original , not to say that as a negative. Even in 2012 this was still well above average in many areas.

I played American Nightmare on Linux using Valve’s Proton. It never crashed on me. There was the same audio issue where cut scenes had no sound that was fixed with the launch command “WINEDLLOVERRIDES="xaudio2_7=b,n". There are 3 AA settings; 4 AF settings; 2 SSAO settings; a v-sync toggle and 7 other graphics options. There is an FOV slider but there are no numbers on it. Performance was better than the original with no dips below 60 with this game. You can pause and skip cut scenes. Alt-Tab works. The game uses checkpoint saves. With the open world nature of the game save points of light are scattered around the map so you can save more often. There is still just one save slot that gets overwritten. You can’t change the difficulty after starting the game although this time you can play Nightmare difficulty right from the start. There was one little glitch w=in a scene where Alan is handed a key card but no key card is in either of the characters hands.

Disk Space Used: 2.32 GB

Settings Used: 8x AA; 16x AF; All High; max draw distance @ 1080P; v-sync on

GPU Usage: 66-100 %

VRAM Usage: 1552-1789 MB

CPU Usage: 14-30 %

RAM Usage: 3.1-3.9 GB

Frame Rate: 79-142 FPS

A departure in tone and theme but a very fun and great game overall in it’s own right. It adds to the story in a meaningful way and adds things that make the change in style work. I finished the game on normal difficulty in 4 hours and 17 minutes. I paid $4.39 CAD for it and can say it is easily worth it’s current price of 10.29 CAD.

My Score: 8.5/10

My System:

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X | 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15 | MSI RX 580 8GB Gaming X | Mesa 21.1.2 | Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500GB | Manjaro 21.0.6 | Mate 1.24.1 | Kernel 5.12.8-1-MANJARO | AOC G2460P 1920*1080 @ 144hz | Proton 6.3-4