Right off the bat, the first thing that any player will notice about Alan Wake's American Nightmare is its superior graphics. This is not just true on the PC, but on its original Xbox LIVE Arcade release as well; it seems like many other developers could learn a thing or two from Remedy, especially as they made it all work flawlessly as a downloadable arcade title.
Gamers likely remember the previous title on the PC and Xbox 360, Alan Wake, meeting a somewhat disappointing reception for a somewhat disappointing experience. After such a long time in development, the experience definitely wasn't up to par for the price and the wait.
Alan Wake's American Nightmare changes its tune drastically from the previous title, granting players access to heavier weapons earlier in the game and placing more of a focus on action rather than running and psychological torment. It also comes with an arcade mode called Fight 'Til Dawn, in which Alan Wake must fight an onslaught of monsters until morning. In these aspects, especially with a lower price, Alan Wake's American Nightmare makes for a solid PC purchase.
Conversely, where Alan Wake's American Nightmare now places large focus on defeating enemies as quickly as possible, its storyline falters a bit. Similar to the popular show The Twilight Zone, the game narrates the story as if it were an episode of Night Springs; gamers may remember this show appearing on televisions in the original Alan Wake.
Given the almost parodied feel of the story, it is clear that players do not need to play the original Alan Wake to understand the idea of Alan Wake's American Nightmare.
As previously stated, this iteration better prepares its players to actually stay and fight instead of running off when the numbers overwhelm them by handing over useful weapons like a crossbow, a nail gun and a machine gun, as well as the necessary ammunition to actually use the weapons. The core combat mechanic remains the same in which Alan must point his flashlight at an enemy to make them susceptible to physical damage before using one of his weapons to destroy them for good. As an added bonus, he doesn't flaunt the fact that he uses Energizer batteries in this one.
All in all, with the price at a quarter of the original game and packed with much more content, anybody should consider making Alan Wake's American Nightmare a purchase; just don't expect a really compelling story.