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.


Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

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!

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.

Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector’s Edition comes with a life-size Scorpion mask

The Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector's Edition will come with a human-sized replica of the mask of Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters of the series. NetherRealm Studios has also announced the game's preorder bonuses.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

Goodbye, Machinima: YouTube gaming channel pulls the plug after 13 years

Machinima, a YouTube gaming channel that was launched in 2006, has suddenly shut down, with all of its videos set to private. The #RIPMachinima hashtag is now making the rounds in social media to reminisce about the channel's content.

Overkill’s ‘The Walking Dead’ delayed indefinitely for PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Overkill's The Walking Dead for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been postponed without a new release date. The co-op zombie shooter suffered massive delays, then received lukewarm reviews once it launched for the PC through Steam.