American Nightmare is a fun combat focused episode set between the original game and the not-yet-if-ever-released sequel. In this chapter Alan is trying to escape from the Dark Place by writing a script of a twisted TV show, where he can alter reality and defeat his doppelganger, Mr. Scratch as he tries to take over Alan's life in the 'real world'.
The game brings some fixes of its prequel. The horrible and non-reactive controls are - fortunately - things of the past. It's a much more combat focused game, which is proven by a wast array of weapons you can find, from UZI to combat shotgun. The game introduces some - though not many - new elements and mechanics. There are new enemies like the Splitter, who splits into two when your flashlight is pointed at him. The area map and HUD are reworked, where scripts and points of interest are indicated. It's a nice addition since on the contrary of the first game, here you are encouraged to find those "damn" sheets of papers. You can get better weapons and it is fun, too.
While Alan Wake's story was controversial but well written, the same can't be said about this chapter. It sometimes feels rushed and underdeveloped. At least the ending is much more clearer now. The part where the game disappoints the most is the level design. There three only three levels non of which are large to say the least. In addition to this, each of the levels are reused 3 times. In the frame of the story it is understandable but still disappointing. To make it clear, it is not a full fledged game, but neither is a rip off DLC. It's something between, a full game with arcade length.
Alan's newest script shouldn't take longer than 4 hours to finish (6 with all the collectibles). Be aware though that normal in this game is easy compared to the prequel, so if you are up to it, try Nightmare difficulty. This can be explained by the combat focused nature of the game. You'll never have to roam trying to find ammunition and your flashlight recharges a lot faster than in the first game. There is a new game mode called Arcade Challenge. It's a simple addition where you have to survive until dawn and score as many points as you can with limited ammunition. You can squeeze a couple of extra hours out of this game mode, but don't expect dozens of hours of fun. On one side this game mode should have been in the first game, but with those horrid controls nobody would've played it.
Alan Wake's American Nightmare is not a propel sequel to Alan Wake but it's a nice side story which every fan will enjoy. The game falls short in some places to the prequel (story, level design) but bests it in other areas (controls, combat).
Rating: 71/100; Replay Value: 2/5; To Beat: 4 hours; Played on: normal.