Rise of Nightmares – Initial Impressions

So far I’ve had a very disappointing introduction to Kinect games, in particular Child of Eden which was I was under the impression would be the main star of the Xbox’s motion based gaming. As such I had very little hope that Rise of Nightmares would be an epic game but decided to give it a go anyway. I’ll tell you what though, it ain’t half bad!

The first thing you are faced with in a game is of course the front end UI. In pretty much every Kinect title that I’ve played so far it has been a little awkward to use but that really isn’t the case in Rise of Nightmares. The player is only ever presented with a really limited number of options so it is a lot easier for the game to tell what you are attempting to select without requiring a higher degree of accuracy. I doubt I ever got my cursor right when using the menus, but because it wasn’t shown and the developers have created the UI so that its just simple and quick to make a selection.

The game kicked off with the player locked in some sort of cell with a “French” girl. What stood out was that the graphics were hardly the greatest and the voice acting was even worse. It reminded me of House of the Dead, a wonderful series by the same studio that was laughably corny. I was a little apprehensive about the game now, concerned that it was a bit piss poor but decided out plug on, partly because well its an AM1 title and of course I’ve just bought the game.

Moving seemed pretty awkward at first, especially as the game had me moving so far back that I was running out of space in my decent sized living room. I did start getting to grips with it, albeit a bit like getting used to steering a shopping trolley with 3 wheels, but found the auto-walk to be the best solution and a very handy feature. The game requires various little interactions, from opening doors to pulling levers. These involve gestures of doing those exact actions. How do you gesture opening a door? Well just how you would open a door in real life. It was quite fun and I enjoyed quite a lot of the little tasks. It felt more involving than pressing an action button. I criticised Modern Warfare 2 for its use of buttons to complete actions such as climbing due the abstract nature of the controls and being a little unnecessary but in Rise of Nightmares they have used the Kinect to great effect to make these kind of actions involving and quite fun to do.

Combat was again a bit cumbersome, perhaps because I was a little mad flailing my arms about trying to batter an opponent but eventually I started getting to grips with it. Even when I’m making a complete mess of things, it is fun. The game is suitably gory so if whacking a zombie’s head off with an iron pipe is your thing, which it is mine, then you’ll be right at home. So far I’ve tried a few weapons with the machete being my favourite but as with Dead Rising, it seems like there’s going to be a range of fun weapons to play with. I’m quite looking forward to grabbing myself a chainsaw!

The plot is far from original, characters hardly seem to have any depth and as I mentioned earlier, the voice acting is terrible but personally, it makes me smile. I quite liked the “YOU ARE DEAD” screen displayed in blood after wobbling and falling off a train into water. The whole flailing my limbs about means that I’m never going to be fully engrossed in a survival horror experience so the fact that it is pretty damn cheesey makes it a bit of a laugh to play.

Maybe I’m wrong and the game is trying to be a triple A title, failing laughably, but personally I find it to be a wonderful blend of the classic AM1 of the Dead series with the Kinect used in some fun and innovate ways. I can see it getting slated in reviews from the more major websites but if you don’t take the game series and just want a bit of fun, this is a great game. Best game that I’ve played on the Kinect so far!

Completion: Not sure… Just been captured after the graveyard sequence.

Source: Xbox 360 Kinect

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