I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!
Illustration for article titled Backlog Files: Alan Wake, American Nightmare / Amnesia, the Dark Descent

Vital Stats

Backlog Number: 3

Game: Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Number of Players: Single Player

Genre: Action/Survival Horror

Developer and Publisher: Remedy

Time To Beat: 7 hours

Rating: 3 out of 5 furbies

Recommend: tentatively, yes

I wanted to hate this game on general principle. It’s not a true sequel, but a standalone experience. It feels, and I’ll stand by this, cheesy in comparison to Alan Wake. From the Mechanic Character’s “hey we can make nipples on her, let’s do it” to how no one from the original has a role here. It feels exactly like a direct to video sequel. However, this is the one Aladdin sequel that had Robin Williams and was generally thought of as pretty good, of videogame sequels.

Note: I’ve been laid up with a bad back so these are coming at a pretty fast and furious pace, but after these two I should be back to one or two a month.

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Spoiler for Alan Wake, a game that came out several years ago:

This game finds Alan returning from the Darkness (he had thrown himself there to free his wife at the end of Alan Wake) to a town in Arizona.

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End spoiler for Alan Wake, a game that came out several years ago.

Honestly, I’m having trouble describing this game. It’s Alan Wake, but...worse? But also, better?

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When in doubt, list it out!

What’s the Same:

  • You still have manuscripts, TVs and Radios to find, and these are still a delight
  • Alan can run marginally farther without doubling over like me after a flight of stairs. Still... I never got stuck running from ethereal horrors for 2 years...
  • Alan! The writing quality of the overarching story is good. Briefly, Alan must fight his evil doppleganger who is doing everything in his power to open a rift into the Darkness to release his bosses so they can wreak havoc on earth. There are some nice TV videos where he explains his motivations “He’s tired of the chaos he causes in the Darkness feeling like a cup of water thrown into the ocean but here on Earth he can really make an impact.”
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What’s Different:

  • Characters; Barry and Alice make cameos (Both can be found doing radio interviews throughout the game on the collectible Radios) otherwise there’s a trio of new characters and they’re.....not great. There’s nipples mechanic:
Illustration for article titled Backlog Files: Alan Wake, American Nightmare / Amnesia, the Dark Descent
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  • Smashed cleavage scientist:
Illustration for article titled Backlog Files: Alan Wake, American Nightmare / Amnesia, the Dark Descent
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  • and finally modestly dressed, but “infected with darkness to be a porn star” Serena
Illustration for article titled Backlog Files: Alan Wake, American Nightmare / Amnesia, the Dark Descent
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  • Enemies: Remedy learned from the first game that only a few enemy types hurts gameplay. They throw in a much greater stable of enemies and honestly they’re quite good.
  • Gameplay: It’s mostly the same but MUCH more action-focused. Ammo is plentiful, guns are everywhere. With this shift, it feels like a vastly different game (more like left 4 dead than the original Alan Wake) but this is also a plus. Even from a narrative standpoint, it makes sense: Alan has spent two years honing his skills. He should be more of an action hero.
  • Locale: So, this game was probably made on a pretty small budget and it shows. There are exactly three maps in this game. Upon realizing this I was fairly frustrated but I should have had faith in Remedy. This game is the perfect example of using a limitation to inspire creativity. Yes, there are three maps but due to the nature of the story (You’re stuck in a time loop) and the pace (you never spend too much time in one map before you’re whisked to the next) it doesn’t feel like a bad thing.
  • Driving sections: Gone. Probably for the better, they didn’t add much to the first game except two achievements and improving them to be more fun was more effort than it was worth.
  • Arcade Mode: Played one time, made it to morning, my score was stomped by Cheroro. Got an Achievement, didn’t play again. Basically arcade mode is where you have ten minutes to stay alive. Ammo stocks are sparsely populating the map you’re on. Every time you dodge or take down a Taken, you gain a multiplier, every time you’re hit you revert to 1x. It’s fun but I’m on a mission here people
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So overall, Alan Wake American Nightmare felt like a direct to video sequel but it was a good one. If you are a fan of Alan Wake it’s definitely worth the pickup. It DOES tie up some loose ends from Alan Wake right at the end, and the story is engaging enough that I would hesitate only briefly to recommend it to anyone that is a fan of Stephen King-esque stories.

That’s it for Alan, then we come to Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Illustration for article titled Backlog Files: Alan Wake, American Nightmare / Amnesia, the Dark Descent

Vital Stats

Backlog Number: 4

Game: Amnesia, The Dark Descent

Number of Players: Single Player

Genre: Survival Horror

Developer: Frictional Games

Time To Beat: DIDNT FINISH, Played 11 hours

Rating: 1 out of 5 furbies

Recommend: really, no

I once wrote a review of this game a long time ago after having played 70 minutes of it. That review is on Steam but I’m too lazy to find it. The gist of it was that the only thing scary about the game was how it ever got made or something to that effect. I, obviously, gave it way more of a fair shake here but unfortunately arrived at the same conclusion.

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Look, I loved Soma, and I’d probably love A Feast For Pigs. The story in this game seemed cool but holy crap, “everything is pitch-black” as a game mechanic is just.....not fun for me. The enemies aren’t scary unless you find Quake 1 enemies terrifying

Illustration for article titled Backlog Files: Alan Wake, American Nightmare / Amnesia, the Dark Descent
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Illustration for article titled Backlog Files: Alan Wake, American Nightmare / Amnesia, the Dark Descent

Right? The graphics are really bad, the “everything is dark” is really really hard to get through, the music is nice I guess? The “you’re being hunted” can make your heart thump, but the esoteric puzzle-solving, horrible graphics, bland color palette, maze-like level design (OK I ADMIT IT I GOT LOST IN THE PRISON AND DIDNT FINISH THE GAME)....really work against the “horror”. This is a shame because, as we know, Frictional CAN deliver a truly horrifying and thought-provoking product. It’s just amazing to me that THIS was the game that launched them to fame. No thanks.

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On deck, we have the single (I really mean it, I’ve played almost every batman game since NES) Batman game that I haven’t played (because I was terrified that it wasn’t Rockstar Rocksteady (I always mess those two up)making the game)

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