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CES 2012: Hands-on with Alan Wake's American Nightmare on Xbox 360 [Video]

January 15, 2012 |  3:00 pm

The future of video games is increasingly shifting from discs to downloads over Internet-connected consoles, phones, tablets and PCs.

Microsoft Corp. is aware of this trend as much as any other player in the gaming industry and rolls out multiple promotions a year to bring attention to games available for download through its Xbox Live Arcade storefront on the Xbox 360 console. And next up for Microsoft is the Xbox Live Arcade House Party, which starts Feb. 15 and includes the launch of one game a week for four weeks. 

At the Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas, I went hands-on with Alan Wake's American Nightmare, which will be the first game to roll out in the month-long promotion.

AW American Nightmare - Arcade Cemetary

Alan Wake's American Nightmare is a sequel to the on-disc game Alan Wake, which was released in 2010 to critical acclaim for story-driven game play that mixed a psychological thriller plotline with the action of a third-person shooter.

The game, which focused on a fictional fiction writer named Alan Wake and his quest to solve the mystery of his wife's disappearance in a small Washington town, was also praised for its inventive use of lighting, with Wake spending a lot of time running around in dark forests at night with a flashlight and a gun.

In Alan Wake's American Nightmare, the game's hero finds himself in the deserts of Arizona. The impressive lighting effects are back and shooting mechanics are solid. I tried my hand at the new title's Fight 'til Dawn survival mode, which pits players in a 10-minute scene with wave after wave of enemies attacking. (You can check out our hands-on with the new game above.)

The game play was intense and challenging, and it should be a satisfying experience for fans of the original Alan Wake game as well as those of shooting games such as Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil and the Call of Duty series' zombie modes.

Alan Wake's American Nightmare will also have a campaign of about four to five hours, depending on how much time a player spends exploring and digging into the game's story, said Oskari Hakinnen, a spokesman for Remedy Entertainment Ltd., the developer of the series.

For those who haven't played the original Alan Wake, there's no need to fret. Hakinnen said that the sequel will pick up where the first title left off story-wise, but it was written in a way that won't confuse those who are new to the world of Alan Wake. Pricing for the game hasn't yet been disclosed.

The other three titles coming out in this year's Xbox Live Arcade House Party are Warp, a new puzzle game from Electronic Arts; arena-based first-person shooter Nexuiz from THQ; and the eagerly anticipated I Am Alive, from Ubisoft, which follows a man searching for his wife and daughter a year after a worldwide disaster killed most humans on the planet.
  • Alan Wake's American Nightmare Box Art. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
  • A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
  • A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
  • A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
  • A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
  • A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
  • A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
  • A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)
A screenshot from the Alan Wake's American Nightmare video game. (Credit: Remedy Entertainment)

RELATED:

CES 2012: Nintendo's Wii U and Zelda in HD, hands-on [Video]

CES 2012: Nintendo's Fils-Aime on declining Wii sales, prepping for Wii U [Video]

CES 2012: Sesame Street Kinect shows promise of TV voice, gesture control [Video]

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot from Alan Wake's American Nightmare. Credit: Remedy Entertainment

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