The nightmare is back
The original Alan Wake was a cracking bit of survival horror
mixed with action and a strong narrative which was a fine successor to the likes of Silent Hill
and Alone in the Dark
. This follow up doesn't quite match its predecessor but remains a first class experience that holds up the series' reputation for quality. The story here takes place two years after the original, and finds novelist Wake once again battling against the forces of darkness, with his old enemy Mr Scratch once again rearing his ugly head. There is a very different focus in this sequel, with much of the survival horror and strong narrative elements being sidelined slightly in favor of a more action-driven game, which may prove slightly disappointing for some fans. The basic gameplay remains similar, but this time for example, ammo is fairly plentiful and combat encounters with enemies are far more frequent. The driving elements from the first game have also been dropped, while extra modes like Arcade have been added, where you must face off against wave after wave of enemies and survive until dawn. As a purely action-oriented game, American Nightmare is good stuff, with all the intense encounters you could hope for and with the game still dripping in atmosphere. The visuals bring this nightmare to life impressively, with some creepy environments that will have you dreading finding out what's around the next corner, and with sound design to match. The shift away from narrative and survival horror is a little disappointing however but if you go in knowing what you're in for, you should have a good time.