Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 72 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 72
  2. Negative: 0 out of 72
  1. Feb 22, 2012
    82
    Heavy on action and light on survival horror: despite its shortcomings, American Nightmare is a must have for Alan Wake fans.
  2. Feb 24, 2012
    77
    If you like your horror spiced up with action, this is for you. But if you're looking for suspense and mystery you should look for different tale.
  3. Feb 27, 2012
    80
    I'm not convinced that anyone who hasn't already played the original game -- which is available on Xbox 360 for $20US most places, and just launched on PC with the DLC episodes -- would be able to even marginally follow what the hell is going on in American Nightmare. No doubt it would up the bizarreness of the game for those players but the main draw is more or less for fans only. And, really, this writer is okay with that.
  4. Feb 27, 2012
    75
    It's easy to praise American Nightmare for what it is, but it's also hard to ignore what it's not: the proper Alan Wake sequel we're clamouring for. It's a game constrained by form, obviously meant as a stopgap in which Remedy can test out a few new ideas without having to craft an entire new game around them.
  5. Mar 13, 2012
    70
    The story is very shallow but even more disappointing is the fact that the Arcade Action mode is single player only while it seems perfect for co-op. [April 2012, p.58]
  6. Feb 22, 2012
    90
    Despite some repetition in the environments, the bigger arsenal of weapons, new enemies, easier-to-follow story, and the new Fight 'til Dawn mode make Alan Wake's American Nightmare a fantastic addition to anyone's arcade library.
  7. Mar 31, 2012
    70
    Overall, American Nightmare is a great follow-up to Alan Wake. While the script lacks real depth and tension, the gameplay makes up for it and there is enjoyment to be taken fcrom it. If you're an Alan Wake fan, this will certainly tickle your fancy until a full sequel releases.
  8. Mar 12, 2012
    50
    Alan Wake is at its best when it is tense yet manageable. Those moments when you know you have little ammo but can strategically take out a group of baddies with the right timing are absolutely incredible. Sadly those moments don't pop up often in American Nightmare and the story dies out pretty quickly which was the original game's saving grace. I can't speak for every fan of Alan Wake but it was the story and atmosphere that pulled me in like darkness did to Wake, without those being exciting the gun-play does little to hold my interest.
  9. Feb 20, 2012
    85
    As close to a full console title as we've seen on Xbox Live Arcade to date. Its story mode is fun foray into the twisted universe of Alan Wake, even if some of what's going on won't always make complete sense to any but the most dedicated of fans. Remedy has admirably tackled the repetitive nature of the campaign in order to get the most out of the the content they had, although it does start to wear thin at the midway point. Thankfully, a strong final act and a ridiculously addictive Arcade mode more than make up for it.
  10. Feb 22, 2012
    80
    Alan Wake's American Nightmare is Alan Wake with the benefit of proper editing and revision.
  11. Feb 20, 2012
    60
    Feels like a deconstruction of the first game. The atmospheric plot and tense action segments have each been given their own separate treatments through the story and arcade modes. When at their best, both modes surpass the original in their respective areas, but as a whole their separation doesn't work in American Nightmare's favor.
  12. Feb 22, 2012
    60
    It's a pity that Remedy seems intent on making you eat your soggy story vegetables before tucking into American Nightmare's only real confection.
  13. Feb 20, 2012
    85
    In trying to please everyone, American Nightmare takes a small step back from what made the original Alan Wake an original and enthralling experience, but is still well worth the price of admission for old and new fans alike.
  14. Feb 20, 2012
    70
    The character himself simply feels more at home in this shorter, punchier, less laboured and self-regarding form. Freed from the weight of expectation that accompanies a full retail release in this genre, the experience - while lacking the set-piece spectacle and spookiness of the original - is less forced and more comfortably pitched.
  15. Feb 24, 2012
    80
    As a follow-up, Alan Wakes´s American Nightmare surprises with a new, fresh feeling of horror in unfamiliar surroundings and with an idea for its storytelling that in the end barely graces the main tale, but still takes a lot of cues from it and even manages to give something back. So if you want to know what the hell is going on in Alan Wake, this is a new and very entertaining puzzle piece to a much larger and still quite hazy picture.
  16. Feb 27, 2012
    60
    Despite the interesting arcade twist, four hours of gameplay and the inevitable Horde Mode are not enough for 1200 Microsoft Points.
  17. Feb 23, 2012
    70
    Alan Wake's American Nightmare shows that there is still much to tell about Alan Wake, the character. It's a good glimpse of what may come in the future, and I hope that goes beyond Night Springs episodes for XBLA.
  18. Feb 21, 2012
    80
    The idea of Remedy using the time loop concept as a key narrative tool sounds great, but actually it does not work as well in a videogame as it did in films like Groundhog Day or Donnie Darko.
  19. Feb 20, 2012
    80
    Alan Wake's American Nightmare is highly entertaining and has an interesting twist that ought to be fleshed out into a full-length game. In other words this is an excellent appetizer until we get the real sequel. Hopefully this won't take too long.
  20. Feb 23, 2012
    80
    About as close to a retail-caliber release as the downloadable space has seen yet. It's super polished, the combat is slick and exciting, and the presentation is top notch.
  21. Mar 5, 2012
    88
    With a great story, cool time-loop premise, interesting characters and exciting survival combat, I loved every minute I was trapped in Alan Wake's American Nightmare and look forward to more of this style of episodic content, and hopefully a full-fledged sequel sometime soon.
  22. Feb 20, 2012
    78
    I didn't feel as connected to Alan's world or story, which were the main draws for me in the first game, but the gameplay is streamlined and improved in this sequel. American Nightmare is not quite as gripping of an experience, but I certainly got my mystery-laden, flashlight-burning fun out of it.
  23. Mar 2, 2012
    85
    American Nightmare isn't just a fantastic game that packs a ton of content inside a budget price, it's also a look into the exciting future of Alan Wake. I hope this isn't Alan's only assault on the arcade, because American Nightmare is good fun, and the Fight til Dawn mode is a welcome addition to the series.
  24. Feb 23, 2012
    80
    Mr. Wake appears to be an interesting subject.
  25. Feb 27, 2012
    80
    Leaning more towards the action side of its gameplay, and offering an Arcade mode to take full advantage of refined mechanics, this Alan Wake spin-off could be seen as forgetting its glorious predecessor, but that would be a mistaken judgement. The story is clearly well-linked to the original, and the atmosphere, helped by a new setting and this spot-on atmosphere and writing combination, deliver a true Alan Wake experience. If you're a fan, this full-fledged XBLA game is unmissable.
  26. Feb 28, 2012
    70
    While it doesn't achieve much with the plot or its core concept, Alan Wake's American Nightmare offers an interesting-enough time-loop scenario with satisfying combat, and it knows when to end before it wears out its welcome. I definitely enjoyed my time with the game in a tactile sense, but I could never get over the nagging feeling that the series still has quite a way to go before reaching its full potential.
  27. Feb 25, 2012
    87
    If this is the kind of improvements to the series that we can expect out of Remedy, then you can count me as waiting on baited breath for the next episode.
  28. Feb 28, 2012
    80
    If you are not expecting an "Alan Wake 2" then with American Nightmare you will have 4-5 hours of great gameplay and unique storytelling of a quality that you will not find in many recent games.
  29. 90
    Hats off for Remedy, who's made a daring move by releasing an Alan Wake game on Xbox Live. All our fears have been put to shame. This is the best Xbox Live Arcade game we've played yet.
  30. Feb 21, 2012
    80
    A bite-size chunk of great downloadable action and horror.
  31. Mar 14, 2012
    68
    Rich in visual atmosphere but sabotaged by dry writing and yawn-stifling fetch quests. [Apr 2012, p.83]
  32. Mar 24, 2012
    50
    Judged as an Xbox Live Arcade game, American Nightmare has the production values but the novelty soon quickly wears off. [Issue#120, p.105]
  33. Mar 11, 2012
    70
    A very good brand-expansion that relies heavily on its combat. However, it ignores the main virtues of the brand itself such as: atmosphere, suspense, fear and a classic horror story. It's working, it's entertaining, true, but one can't help thinking the game has been rushed out.
  34. Mar 14, 2012
    82
    I actually enjoyed arcade mode much more than the story, and that is the main reason why users can have hours and hours of fun with this game.
  35. Feb 24, 2012
    91
    I loved Alan Wake, but American Nightmare makes me more optimistic for its future and I'd really like to see Remedy pursue future installments on a smaller, episodic scale like this.
  36. Feb 23, 2012
    70
    Strange in that it straddles the line between traditional DLC and a stand-alone game. While it's not a direct continuation of the original's story, fans of the first game may find some value in reading through as many manuscript pages as possible, though the lack of any real answers may also be frustrating. On the flip side, those new to the franchise might feel lost, thanks to the surprising absence of any backstory or exposition.
  37. Feb 20, 2012
    80
    Ends up being more inviting than ever to new players, with a clearer plot and goals. The game knows what it does well and highlights it instead of trying too many hit or miss concepts. Despite the sometimes limited scope of its world and objectives, it's a great downloadable that hopefully will introduce a whole new audience to one writer's unique world.
  38. Mar 19, 2012
    70
    This is a solid entry in the expanding repertoire of Alan Wake and keeps players interested in what lies ahead.
  39. Feb 23, 2012
    80
    Offers enough memorable moments and entertainment value to be worth its $15 price point.
  40. Feb 27, 2012
    70
    Elements of the Wake story from the unresolved ending of the first game are touched on throughout the story. You'll leave this more knowledgeable, but not doubting that there will be more Alan Wake to come.
  41. Feb 28, 2012
    91
    If you are fan of Alan's painful journey, you've probably already downloaded this gem and know the greatness that continues to please fans again and again. If you have never played this title, I urge you to play the original to understand the story mode as this game does little to explain the past and expects you to already know the events that have happened.
  42. Mar 23, 2012
    83
    Fans of Alan Wake and the paranormal should immediately add American Nightmare to their download queue.
  43. Feb 28, 2012
    87
    All in all, I'd say Alan Wake's American Nightmare is an easy pick for anyone looking for an action-heavy title with a horror twist. It's got the graphics, it's got the gameplay, it's got the diversity of weapons… all this plus a nice, dark story, for a very reasonable price. If pumping bullets into deadly, frenzied humans hasn't gotten old for you yet, be sure to check this one out.
  44. Feb 21, 2012
    86
    Mr. Wake, welcome to the mass market: less demanding, more casual than the original. New players will be eased into the world of Alan Wake and fans will surely enjoy the new Fight till Dawn mode in addition to having some loving memories on the original game.
  45. Feb 22, 2012
    60
    Fumbles by stretching what little story it does have much too far.
  46. Mar 6, 2012
    70
    There is not enough games that tend to smuggle some deeper content under the guise of entertainment. Alan Wake is one of the few. Alan Wake's American Nightmare isn't even trying to be in the same league. It's just a fun little game that allows you to shoot monsters.
  47. Apr 12, 2012
    70
    The combination of light-hearted side-story and new ideas results in a title that is fun to play, even with the repetition of stages. [May 2012, p.64]
  48. Feb 17, 2012
    80
    As a follow-up to the awesome original game, the story comes up short and the whole experience lacks suspense and thrills.
  49. Feb 24, 2012
    70
    The story mode is slightly worse than expected, but Arcade Action alone makes this a worthy purchase.
  50. Feb 20, 2012
    80
    As he writes his own escape from the Dark Place, the tale ironically lacks the narrative punch of his first trek into the shadows. Even so, it invites us back into Alan's world, takes us on a new adventure and sheds new light on his predicament. The writer is correct: we love our characters, and if you love Alan Wake, you really don't have a choice. You must survive his American Nightmare.
  51. 80
    American Nightmare is different from the original game in almost everything. Yet it is a fine piece that you shouldn't miss not only for the great story and surprising ending. [March 2012]
  52. Feb 23, 2012
    80
    This game is not a sequel, it has no more about Alan Wake or maintain its gameplay. However, it is fun and frantic, with many weapons and enemies, and some good ideas and lucidity of the engine. Recommended for new players and fans of the writer.
  53. Feb 23, 2012
    50
    A downloadable spin-off that, while reasonably good value for money, manages only to underline how shallow and repetitive the combat was from the first game.
  54. Feb 25, 2012
    85
    If you want a hard-core and challenging game this isn't probably for you, but if you're looking for a good story to be lived as an interactive movie with great graphics and sound, this is surely a good buy.
  55. Feb 24, 2012
    82
    American Nightmare is a good comeback for our favourite writer. It's a bit too small and its structure could use some more variety. But, given the price of admittance and the sheer quality of its elements, it's well worth playing.
  56. 85
    Having this much Taken-slaughtering glee in such a small, concise package makes Alan Wake's American Nightmare an instant "yes, please" for series fans. But what's more surprising is that its accessible approach to combat makes it an equally worthwhile experience for those who've never suspended their disbelief to wander Wake's dream-like world. [Mar 2012, p.62]
  57. 80
    American Nightmare is good value, but it hints at more than it delivers - a world in which urban myths can come true never materialises in this episode. But that just makes us wonder what Remedy has got in store.
  58. Feb 13, 2012
    86
    Interesting and understandable plot, less running in a dark forest but more action. New Alan shows how XBLA games should be done. [Feb 2012]
  59. Feb 21, 2012
    85
    It would've been great to have multiple people battling the dark simultaneously, but this is the next best thing, very competitive and lots of fun. And with different weapons to upgrade to, it just keeps on going.
  60. Feb 24, 2012
    80
    Alan Wake's American Nightmare is a great arcade title, a spin-off that lets us know Alan Wake a little more despite the presence of a not-very-compelling storyline. Both graphics and sound meet the high expectations, while the presence of a "Horde" mode is useful to spend a few hours of fun even after the conclusion of the main story. A certain repetitiveness, especially after the first two or three hours, causes big damage to the final gaming experience.
  61. Feb 25, 2012
    80
    Alan Wake's American Nightmare feels a bit spiritually out of step with the original Alan Wake, but provides just enough story to balance out the action. But, seriously, it needs more Barry.
  62. Mar 1, 2012
    70
    This is a game for the fans, featuring an appreciative amount of exposition even if it's fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
  63. Mar 2, 2012
    80
    Despite the complaints that I mentioned above if you are a fan of Alan Wake then you should really play this game. It is a beautiful looking title and Remedy has raised the bar for XBLA games going forward. You really should play the original first though so that you can properly grasp what is going on and what Alan is fighting against.
  64. Feb 21, 2012
    75
    For as great as Alan Wake's American Nightmare starts out, it ends in an unsatisfying, cliffhanger fashion. I loved the setting, loved the action, but felt Remedy didn't tell their story to the best of their abilities; confounding story twists, half-ideas and a quick resolution hold this game back from making an impact.
  65. Feb 27, 2012
    70
    Alan Wake's American Nightmare attempts to be a good downloadable game that is near the production values of the original retail game. Remedy has made a great effort to compose a good production, able to shine. However, it loses much of the exploration and terror of the original and focuses on action, which may dissapoint the followers of the first game, although as an action game it achieves to deliver.
  66. Feb 20, 2012
    60
    The elementary combat system is entertaining, but ultimately overshadowed by a hopelessly contrived plot. Mr Scratch's presence could have been something special, and it's regrettable that his performance is throwaway. As with the rest of the game, a lack of cohesion and clear thought from Remedy ensures American Nightmare feels like a missed opportunity.
  67. Feb 29, 2012
    84
    American Nightmare does some great tricks in telling the story but fails to deliver the same immersive and thrilling experience as Alan Wake. But as it offers far more interesting fights with (finally!) a lot more different enemies it still is a really good action game!
  68. May 30, 2012
    85
    While not a true sequel, Alan Wake's American Nightmare does a fine job of expanding on the franchise's universe. It may not have the depth of exposition of the original game, but for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15), there's enough here to please fans and newcomers alike.
  69. 60
    It's sadly spoilt by a lack of content and too much repetition. [Issue#83, p.98]
  70. Mar 4, 2012
    82
    Don't come looking for 'answers' from the first game, or everything to be wrapped up in a nice present either. Come for what Alan Wake does best; entrap you into a world of fear and unknowing with brilliant writing and narrative.
  71. Mar 1, 2012
    75
    Alan Wake's American Nightmare provides us with a new story and an arcade mode. It is the arcade mode that stands out and makes us want to play the game over and over. It is however to bad there isn't a multiplayer included. The story is short and it repeats itself but remains worthwhile. American Nightmare is quite enjoyable, but we'd rather play a proper sequel.
  72. Feb 29, 2012
    95
    This is what I hope the future of downloadable games will be; top notch AAA production values in the form of small $12-$15 packages. Alan Wake's American Nightmare is an excellent game, which will surely whet the appetite of fans of the original for the sequel.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 129 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 3 out of 29
  1. Feb 22, 2012
    10
    Well, it makes a lot of fun and the Horde Mode as well as the Story is pretty cool. Especially the weapons are much more better than in Alan Wake and the atmosphere is just amazing; as it used to be in an Alan Wake title. Makes much fun, looks fantastic, feels awesome and a 100% recommendation. Fair Price!

    If you like Alan Wake you will love the Nightmare!
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 22, 2012
    8
    My opinion having played it now: if you liked the original game, you'll like this one.

    The game tells the story of an alternative Alan Wave,
    which appears in the introduction of a TV show that is playing on a roadside Motel, and this show is happening in a small roadside Motel of Arizona, and in an episode of Night Springs (that Alan wrote in the past), where he must try to escape, while facing his nemesis, Mr. Scratch, his alter-ego.

    The gameplay follows the same principles of the original retail game, with you walking across the landscape, facing many different enemies from the shadows, with your flashlight to weaken them (LT) and a gun to kill them (RT, with a range of weapons such as guns, nail guns, signal pistols, etc.).

    Spread across the scenarios there are collectibles (manuscripts), which are also used to open special weapons caches, that contains more powerful guns; these caches are spread both in Campaign mode and in Arcade mode.

    The points of the the objectives are shown with stars, in a top screen radar, and other things like ammunition, each one with a different icon: also at the Motel that exists in this town, there is a garage where he meets characters from the previous game, and of course the classic spots below the lamps, where he regenerates and is protected by the light above.

    The graphics are very good for an XBLA game, though not having all the full refinement of the Retail version, but that's a barely noticeable deatil: also the lighting effects are good, but not as much as the original, in variations and shadows. The opening CG is made with a mixture of real shooting and CG footage, very cool indeed.

    Regarding the game's audio, it features music and performances really well done, one of the highlights in the game, plus a atmosferic narrator for the story.

    American Nightmare also features an Arcade mode, where, in many different scenarios you face Wave after Wave of enemies, with ammunition and weapons scatered around, to survive these waves (similar to Horde mode in Gears). The aim in this mode is to try to survive till dawn (there is a clock with 10 minutes on the top screen, which is the remaining time until dawn), and try to attain a maximum score, killing the enemies.

    The game, in resume, is clearer than the previous one, and the enemies and weapons are more varied, with an improved enemy AI, while maintaning the core gamplay of the original Alan Wake: the game is more than recommended for 1200MS Points, for those who enjoyed the first, which will not be disappointed at all. My score fo this one: 8,6.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 22, 2012
    10
    This is real Alan Wake experience. The critic just don't get it what Remedy does. This game is filled with some great atmosphere, great shooting mechanic, it's tense and satisfying. And all that for only 1200 MS Points, it's a steal. This is a true love letter for all Alan Wake's fans out there, and for all newcomers which is a great achievement. Long live Remedy! Long live Alan Wake! Full Review »