Do You Need to Play American Nightmare Before Alan Wake 2? Answered

Do you need to play American Nightmare before Alan Wake 2 to understand what's happening?

Image via Remedy Entertainment
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Alan Wake 2 has a voracious fanbase that believes it’s one of the best the horror genre has to offer. But there are those who haven’t played the 2010 original or the 2012 spin-off, American Nightmare. The overall story is a unique one, taking Remedy’s signature weirdness to the next level. While the series has been dormant for a decade, excitement around the sequel is fever-pitch. It begs the question, do you need to play American Nightmare before you play Alan Wake 2?

Do You Need to Play Alan Wake’s American Nightmare Before Alan Wake 2?

Image Source: Remedy Entertainment

Whether you should play American Nightmare before playing Alan Wake 2 is a complicated question. On one hand, the answer is no, right? You can’t expect players to go back and play a title from 2012 to enjoy a game in 2023. Plenty of titles have come out this year that follow dormant franchises, and just as Baldur’s Gate 3 and Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon before it, you don’t need to play Alan Wake: American Nightmare before Alan Wake 2 comes out.

That’s not to say you should dive into the series without any background. Alan Wake is a story worth consuming in some form. It just might not be in game form. Alan Wake 2 is a direct sequel, and the last we saw of Alan Wake, he was still trapped in the lake. To have any idea what that means or why it’s important, you should definitely consume this story in some form or another.

How much Alan Wake 2 calls back to the original is a bit of a question mark, as Remedy likely knows that many may not have played the original game. What they could be banking on, though, is that some have played the AEW DLC for Control. It actually connects the two universes in a shocking move by Remedy that surely suggests both Alan Wake and Jesse Faden will cross paths somewhere. However they decide to weave the stories remains to be seen, but it’s certainly worth looking at where this iconic character comes from.

Should You Play Alan Wake’s American Nightmare?

Image Source: Remedy Entertainment

If you can take a break from the deluge of quality titles in 2023, definitely take some time to play the original game. It’s a bit old feeling at some points, with a somewhat charming jank, which will either work for you or it won’t. What should work for anyone, though, is the story.

It feels a little like Silent Hill at times but far weirder, with a kind of Twin Peaks vibe. The combat is interesting, requiring a flashlight to weaken monsters so they can be taken down with traditional firearms. It’s a unique take on combat that gives Alan Wake its own feel. It’s also recommended you play the original game to get even more of what’s going on.

That answers the question of whether you should play American Nightmare before Alan Wake 2. For more on Remedy’s sequel, head over to our guides hub for the game.

About the author

Adam Braunstein

Adam Braunstein is a video game writer for Gameskinny a VR expert, actor, and all-around gaming enthusiast. His work has appeared on Attack of the Fanboy, Daily Gamer, VR Fitness Insider and The Nerd Stash. He loves games of all genres and exploring the amazing worlds that video games have to offer.