Epic continues to frisbee out the free games, as backlogs round the globe develop so unwieldy they’re liable to topple over and squish their homeowners flat. But must you be prepared to threat your probabilities in opposition to Death itself, then, hey, why not add Observer and Alan Wake’s American Nightmare to your library later right now?

Both games, after all, paddle in the wading pool of blood that’s the horror style (appropriately sufficient, given the season), with Bloober Team’s Observer taking the surreal sci-fi method, whereas Alan Wake’s American Nightmare gives up a Twilight-Zone-inspired slice of small-town terror. They’re each good!

Observer time-travels gamers to 2084, and a dilapidated condominium constructing in a dystopian model of Krakw, Poland. Here, they take on the function of Daniel Lazarski (voiced by Rutger Hauer), a so-called Observer detective trying to trace down his estranged son.

Half the recreation is a splendidly atmospheric and intentionally slow-paced temper piece, focussed on meticulous investigation as gamers roam the mouldering condominium block for clues, questioning its unusual procession of tenants from the different facet of their closed doorways. The different half although sees Bloober returning to the form of electrifying, disorientating set-pieces that served Layers of Fear’s haunted home horror so properly, plunging gamers into visually astonishing dreamscapes, as they hack into suspects’ brains to relive their recollections.

Eurogamer contributor Edwin Evans-Thirlwell loved Observer sufficient to slap it with a Recommended badge when he reviewed it in 2017, saying, “As an excavation of an environment that is writhing with the internet’s effluence, a space that manages to feel at once suffocating and vast, ornate and putrid, it has few equals”.

As for American Nightmare, developer Remedy’s stand-alone sort-of-spin-off, sort-of-sequel to the unique Alan Wake as soon as once more pits all people’s favorite incessantly monologuing horror creator in opposition to the forces of darkness in bouts of torchlight-infused gunplay. American Nightmare, although, is a considerably extra upbeat affair, framing its pulpier, darkly comedic narrative as an episode of the fictional in-universe TV present, Night Springs.

“[Alan Wake] himself simply feels more at home in this shorter, punchier, less laboured and self-regarding form,” wrote Johnny Minkley in his 7/10 Eurogamer overview again in 2012.

“Freed from the weight of expectation that accompanies a full retail release in this genre,” he continued, “the experience – while lacking the set-piece spectacle and spookiness of the original – is less forced and more comfortably pitched.”

Those wishing to swell their gaming backlogs nonetheless additional can add Observer and Alan Wake’s American Nightmare to their Epic Games Store library for free later right now, and they have till next Thursday, 24th October to take action.

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