Rise of Nightmares
With Rise Of Nightmares we finally get a game for Kinect that isn’t meant for kids or people who have never had a controller in their hands. We were crossing our fingers for Sega as the motion controller hasn’t really been living up to the hype up to now, not taking into account Dance Central and the new Sesame Street game.
The concept is as simple as it is clear: horror and zombies. for some reason your train crashes in Romania and just when you try to save your marriage, your wife gets abducted by Victor, a mad scientist who has very interesting plans with everyone. This leads to exploring a number of atmospheric environments, solving a simple puzzle here and there, and mostly bashing all kinds of brains and other soft tissue.
The first moments of gameplay are quite different from what you’re used to. It’s a first person game and you move forward and back by putting a foot forward or backwards. Better make sure Kinect sees your body well. More problematic is the changing of direction – through the turning of your shoulders – but after a while you’ll get the hang of that too. It never becomes truly natural and you can never let go of the feeling that a controller would be a lot easier.
The makes are also aware of this as the missions and necessary movements aren’t very complex. You’ll often die thanks to the controls, and I doubt that’s the idea. This gets made up a bit by the fact that the weapons are fun and you can slash zombies in a suiting way. That the registration of where you exactly hit or slash is a bit flawed is no problem as they go down fast enough and the bashing is always fun.
The bosses add some sort of motion-sensitive QTEs or well found variations to that and show that Kinect can deliver some truly original gameplay. Think for instance on the moment where you have to stand really still to not show your presence to the enemy. Unfortunately that mostly kids will be appealed by such things and they probably won’t easily get such a horror adventure in their hands.
There’s no lack of blood splatters and slashing in this game, but you’ll pay a price for that. And that price is that you’re constantly waving your limbs which is not only tiring, but after a while also boring. Equally boring is that the weapons start to break down after a while. That there needs to be a challenge – in this case managing your arsenal and looking for new parts – we understand, but we would have liked to see something different.
All in all this Rise of Nightmares is a fascinating experiment that is certainly worth experiencing, but as game it falls short. Certain parts of gameplay are just clumsy, like the navigating, and more interesting tryouts seem to fit better in a game for the youngest amongst us. A gathering of good and mostly less succesful parts, so to speak, and certain crazy scientists would be able to fabricate a solid monster out of this. Let’s hope that a lot of lessons are learnt from this sp that adult games won’t be dead and burried from now on. A better sequel please?