Published on January 13th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
CES 2012: Alan Wake’s American Nightmare Chilling Impressions
Platform: Xbox LIVE Arcade
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Release Date: Feb. 15, 2012
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare truly pits players in the dead center of a real life nightmare. Join Alan Wake as he ventures through hordes of enemies in the search for Mr. Scratch, his doppelganger from the Dark Place. While it is not a sequel, it is added content to the Alan Wake universe. The title is also bringing the noise as it will be the first title served up in Microsoft’s House Party promotion on Xbox LIVE.
The title itself bears the same name as the other games in the series, but is not a sequel the previously released Alan Wake title. Although the game is not a sequel, some of the same types of gameplay can be seen here. For example, the continuous usage of light as a weapon will grant survival.
The mode that was playable at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showcased rounds of enemies gunning to end Alan’s exploration. With a few helpful hints and getting the controls nailed down, it wasn’t long before I was firing away at enemies and fighting to stay alive.
The controls of the game were very fluid and aided in the overall feel of the game. The movements of Alan weren’t clunky and reacted to the believable real life environment. Evading the grasps of giants and dodging swiftly flying enemies involved a responsive control system. The standard third-person view did feel a lot more comfortable between reloads and realigning enemies to be fired on.
The ‘RT’ fired your weapon, whereas the ‘LT’ was used to focus your flashlight and steady your aim. The use of light in the game is one of the main beacons in the Alan Wake series. While trying to aim the beam on certain enemies there are still others homing in on your location.
During American Nightmare, the use of the flashlight can stop enemies in their tracks as it burns them. As the flashlight beam is focused, the circle of light narrows, which indicates the appropriate time to pull the trigger. This may sound easy enough, but the flashlights batter life is being expended during this time. Players can wait for the batter to recharge, or push ‘Y’ to reload one of ten that you start out with.
If you burn off your battery before you can reload either the flashlight or your pistol, you can push the ‘LB’ you can dodge and hold it to run. Timing the button push will slow down the action on screen and allow for a smooth getaway. Well, that is, if you can make it to a safe haven. If you can’t make it this far, then the use of flares and flash-bangs will surely light your path.
Players can use areas of the map for safety. There are scattered night lights where you can find shelter being that the light burns enemies. There are only a few onetime use locations, so it is essential to wait to use these locations. The light posts regenerated health and gave you a quick safe zone. Other areas for safety include the weapon cages that can be opened with ‘B’ and then holding down ‘B’ again to resupply.
The weapons of the game are pretty satisfying. The starting weapon, the pistol, can take a few shots to make the kill based on where you are aiming the light. The crossbow deals a one shot kill, and is just as fun to use as the shotgun. After adventuring around the map and locating other areas to explore, this was how the shotgun was found. The weapons are scattered throughout the area and you must explore them while the clock for the next round counts down and the sun rises.
Although this was only the “horde” type mode, it was however eludes to the gameplay that we can expect from the storyline. Also, we saw how to evade enemy grasps and make it to the nearest safe area. The weapons of the game did seem a little overpowering, until it came to some of the higher rounds of the mode. Plus, I’m sure that they Remedy will further limit the amount of ammo accessible in the game. At this point, the game was already shaping up to look near polished. As it should being that its release date is just about one month away on Feb. 15, 2012.