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Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

ESRB: Mature - M
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Horror
Author: NeoSteel

Developed by: Remedy

Hello? Is this world real? It must be, though we’ve been here before. Déjà vu, a term that runs rampant through the plot of Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, and it will make you question what is really going on in the game. You start with the darkness surrounding you, trying to find your bearings, and spiral down towards the end, finding Mr. Scratch and attempting to put an end to him. After that fails, you start with the darkness surrounding you, trying to find your bearings, and spiral down towards the end, finding Mr. Scratch and attempting to put an end to him. The game is a series of twisted developments that leave you scratching your head and saying “Wow, that guy is really messed up…” The Taken have returned to lay waste to the written world, which means that you still have fight them while trying to figure out where to go and what to do.


The graphics in the arcade title are…spectacular. While playing, I felt as though I were playing a large budget disc title, made to wow the audience with its life like cutscenes and visual effects. The way the story board is laid out in this game is very reminiscent of the console title, though it is cleaned up a great deal. The darkness of the game is truly a mood setter and gives you the creepy feeling that was very prominent in the first game. The bright colors of the flares and flashbangs seem almost realistic when playing in a darkened room, and you'll actually find yourself quickly closing your eyes….before you realize that you needed to use the flare for a reason and decide to run for your life. All in all, the graphics are a stunning thing to behold in this arcade title. 


The sounds in the game…wow. I played the entire game with my headset on, and the atmospheric ambience was incredible. Faintly hearing the wind blowing through trees, hearing random skitters across the ground, all the way down to the explosive action of the Taken appearing around you…the sounds in the game will set such a mood that you'll be on the edge of your seat, darting back and forth trying to see if you’re about to be attacked by something. The music sets a mood unlike any other game in the horror genre that I’ve ever played. It plays tricks on your mind and pulls you in from the very start. This game wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the atmosphere the music gives you.


The game’s controls take a little while to get used to. The speed at which your character turns is a bit surprising at first, but you'll soon realize that it is a necessary thing.  Another annoying part of turning is your camera: it starts over one shoulder, and then randomly switches back to the other. If you prefer to play with the camera over Alan’s right shoulder, then prepare to change your mind because the game apparently knows what is best for you and will demand that you play with it over his left shoulder. If you prefer it over the left, then you’re going to be in paradise, until it randomly decides to switch shoulders on you and will tell you to play for a few minutes over the right.

There is no zoom function either, which becomes quite a nuisance. You acquire a hunting rifle, it has a scope, you pull the left trigger and your battery starts to die and you are not zoomed in at all. No zoom, even with guns that should have it, making long shots very difficult to pull off; likewise, there is no aim assist, which makes long shots even more difficult. It used to be that you would shoot where ever your flashlight was pointing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Pointing your gun in a certain direction and pulling the trigger, gives the bullet more of a “general direction” rather than pin-point accuracy. There were many times when I would shoot my handgun and it would miss…this doesn’t mean I’m a bad shot, my flashlight was pointing directly at my target, but somewhere in the distance a small dirt rock was innocently shot with a stray bullet.

It did get a bit boring doing the exact same thing over and over again, though there were only slight changes each time. It was interesting to have to watch my ammo and begin praying every time I ran out and saw Taken running towards me, which happened a few times. There are moments when you can’t get to an ammo box, and things get quite hectic when that happens. But all in all, the story mode is quite smooth and only has a few moments of frustration. Arcade mode is an absolute blast and a nightmare and a half. Surviving for as long as you can….gets to be very hectic; my honest suggestion is that you go and try it out for yourself.


In conclusion, I think that this game is worth the points tag they put on it. Leader boards and the regular 250 points of achievements with definite replay value makes this game one of the best arcade titles for the Xbox LIVE arcade.


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