Hands-on with Remedy’s Alan Wake sequel, American Nightmare

hands on with remedys alan wake sequel american nightmare cimg0439 450Beginning next month, Microsoft will begin its next push into the lucrative and growing field of downloadable games, when it begins its “House Party” event. Starting on February 15, Microsoft will release a new downloadable game each week. But rather than the normal arcade games, these titles are some of the highest profile arcade games to hit XBL.

A release schedule hasn’t been unveiled yet, but the titles are: Alan Wake: American Nightmare, Nexuz, Warp, and I Am Alive. Each game has its own appeal, but perhaps none are as high profile as American Nightmare (with the possible exception of Ubisoft’s I Am Alive, but that is partly due to its infamous history as it delayed itself all the way out of a retail release and onto the XBL).

American Nightmare is not exactly a sequel to Alan Wake, but rather a continuation of the story set after the events of the original game. Those that played and beat the original will name of the game’s setting, the city of Night Falls—the setting of Alan Wake’s Twilight Zone-like stories—while anyone new to the game will still have a five hour story as well as the arcade mode.

The arcade mode is a single-player combat-centric experience that will play out like a horde/survival game. You begin armed with only a flashlight and a handgun. As you explore the area, you can pick up new weapons and seek out the odd safe area. The enemies you face will be stunned by the flashlight beam, flares, or the lights from the odd lamp. Once you have them stunned, you finish them off, then repeat. Each wave of enemies will become increasingly more difficult to survive, and to win you need to survive until dawn comes. There is also a second level of difficulty called nightmare, to further push the challenge. 

Those that played the original should immediately feel at home with the mechanics. For those that haven’t checked it out, the game has a feel similar to Gears of War. The characters move with a bit more fluidity, but the tradeoff is that they feel less powerful. The lighting element is an interesting gameplay aspect, and when paired with the dodge can make the difference between dying horribly and making it to see the sun.

For an arcade game, American Nightmare signifies a bit of a shift in the business model. It is a standalone game, but it also plays out like an episode in a retail game. The quality is there in terms of graphics and gameplay mechanics, and for a game that is likely going to cost under $15, five hours of story and an arcade mode that has an immense amount of replay is an incredible value. If it, and the other games like it are a success, it could pave the way for more episodic content in the future to be released as downloadable content.

Keep an eye out for American Nightmare when it is released sometime in the next few weeks.

Product Review

'Black Ops 4' outshines the games it copies with that Call of Duty polish

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s omission of a campaign could have been a deal breaker, but multiplayer, Zombies, and the new Blackout mode make it one of the best shooters of the year.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Mobile

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Gaming

Open-world video games are getting too big for their own good

As technology has progressed, open-world video games have grown increasingly bigger. What seems like a universal positive has shown problems preventing the genre from truly moving forward, however.
Product Review

The Oculus Rift is cheaper, the Vive Pro is better. Is the original Vive still worth it?

The Oculus Rift may have brought virtual reality into the public eye, but HTC’s Vive, built in partnership with Valve, does it better. Does the Vive still represent the true future of virtual reality, or are there better competitors on…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

As deaf gamers speak up, game studios are finally listening to those who can’t

Using social media, personal blogs and Twitch, a small group of deaf and hard-of-hearing players have been working to make their voices heard and improve accessibility in the gaming industry.
Computing

Nvidia is slowly rolling out its next generation of GPUs. Here's what you need to know about them

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.
Gaming

Grab a comfy saddle — ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ campaign clocks in at 60 hours

According to Rockstar Games co-founder and head writer Dan Houser, Red Dead Redemption 2 features a 60-hour story. Houser said "superfluous" content was removed from the game. It launches October 26 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Gaming

Jump into an internet DeLorean and play free Commodore 64 games online

The Internet Archive has added more than 8,800 full Commodore 64 games to its software library. Here's how you can play them completely free in your browser without the need for a joystick.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ in-game tournaments will give you the chance to beat the pros

Epic Games is introducing in-game tournaments to Fortnite. The initial schedule includes five tournaments, with commemorative pins going to the victors. Down the road, the pins might grant you access into additional rounds.
Gaming

Here's how you can keep up with your favorite streamers at TwitchCon 2018

From sessions with your favorite streamers to epic Esports tournaments, there's plenty to look forward to at this year's TwitchCon 2018. We cover how you can attend, where you can watch if you can't, and which events you don't want to miss.
Gaming

Monsters you get in ‘Pokémon: Let’s Go’ can be transferred to the next main RPG

Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eeevee! monsters will be able to be transferred to the next main Pokémon RPG on Switch, according to game director Junichi Masuda.