Finally, someone made a game for Kinect that doesn’t involve swinging a bat or punching into thin air.
Sega returns to survival horror with the release of Rise of Nightmares – a Kinect-controlled first-person perspective survival horror game from the makers of House of the Dead. Don’t cringe just yet. I know what you’re thinking and I agree. The last couple of HotD games, as well as the movies (yes, there’s more than one!), were horrible. So you can imagine my trepidation when our fearless leader asked me to review Rise of Nightmares.
I fired up my dormant Xbox 360 and loaded the disc. There’s a nice tutorial in the beginning disguised as an intro to the game. The graphics aren’t top notch, but they don’t look horrible. That led me to believe that if the designers didn’t invest in graphics then they had to invest in the gameplay, something that is often overlooked in modern games. Factoring in the Kinect means that these controls have to be spot-on.
Unfortunately, control-wise, the game can be a little clunky. It appears Sega went for a semi-natural body control set for this game. I did like that if I turned my torso left or right, my virtual perspective also moved in the same direction. However, it isn’t always easy to walk and turn at the same time. The walking mechanics were interesting – you literally step forward with one foot to walk forward. The further forward you step, the faster your character walks. Step backwards and you back up. This feels as close to natural movement as the Kinect can get, without walking in place, to simulate locomotion on the big screen.
It can also be awkward attempting to walk or run in a direction other than straight ahead. The arm
movements, on the other hand, are much smoother and I do like the location-specific damage that you can inflict on the game’s enemies. I was a bit confused when it came to controls that enabled exploration, though. I think the designers knew this as well – they included an auto-move button that automatically sets you in the direction of what you’re supposed to find/unlock/trigger.
Rise of Nightmares was definitely influenced by Condemned, an early Xbox 360 game also released by Sega. While it’s not as pretty or atmospherically scary as Condemned, it does borrow from its use of pipes and melee weapons to dish out the pain. It’s also one of the first Mature-rated games for Kinect but, honestly, I don’t know why. Outside of the cursing and some of the gore, none of the material is extreme enough to warrant a Mature rating.
All in all, I can’t completely hate on Rise of Nightmares because I have been looking for Kinect games that are different from the usual swing/punch/bowl motion control mechanics. I give credit to Sega for actually trying something different, even if the controls do hinder the game at some points. The game can become frustrating when the motion controls glitch or aren’t recognized, but it also makes for some intriguing moments as well, like when you have to splash some water on your face to wake up or cover your ears from an awful sound.
If you’re craving something that tries to take the Kinect in a new direction, I can suggest Rise of Nightmares. But if you get stuck while trying to run away from hordes of zombies, don’t say you weren’t warned.
Rating: Three out of Five Pies
(a word about our ratings)
Compare nightmares with Ken on Twitter @UnWinToyHunter. Rise of Nightmares, from Sega, is available on Kinect for Xbox 360.