The original Alan Wake is arguably one of the better single-player exclusives available on the Xbox 360. Amidst a large range of multiplayer-first, single-player-second exclusives, Remedy's survival-horror-slash-action game made for a welcomed change in genre and a breath of fresh air.
However, the second entry in the series, Alan Wake's American Nightmare, is seemingly taking things in a different direction for the series. We've heard Remedy discuss the length and tone of the experience, and it seems like they're going for all-out action and fast-paced gameplay, somewhat different from the slowly drawn-out setting we got in the first game.
This direction is certainly not surprising. The original Alan Wake had a Twin Peaks feeling to it, whereas this download-only title, which Remedy has aggressively labeled a non-sequel, seems more like American Psycho meets Resident Evil 5. We've seen such a change in pacing often in the survival-horror genre -- Dead Space 2 being the most recent example -- as publishers aim to make slow survival series more accessible and exciting for the common gamer.
The fact is that survival-horror is somewhat of a niche genre, at least on consoles. A game like Amnesia probably isn't going to sell all that well on Xbox 360, but fits in nicely on PC with its diverse crowd and patient demographic of Steam-based gamers.
The gameplay footage for American Nightmare doesn't look bad by any means, but it essentially looks like Hoard Mode, Alan Wake style. Thrown in the Alan Wake trademark light-and-dark mechanics alongside enhanced weaponry, more ammunition and brighter environments, and the tense, eerie atmospheres we loved from the first game are no where to be found.
So what of Alan Wake 2? It's obvious that the making of any such sequel will be dependant on the success of American Nightmare.
And what better way to assure that success than to mould a game around high scores and the ability to blast away as many bad guys as possible!
By Gaetano Prestia
Do you like what you've seen of American Nightmare so far?