Review by teamdoa

"Not Serious Enough to be Scary, but Fun and Some Good Ideas Here and There"

Rise of Nightmares XBOX 360 Kinect.

I bought this game on day one of launch, I just wanted something different to play as you don't really get many "adult" horror games. I think I might be right in assuming that most people were hoping for a serious, scary adult Kinect game but unfortunately that didn't happen. There was still a chance of the game being "fun" though, so hope was not entirely lost. It was when the intentionally "silly" promotional adverts first appeared it kind of reaffirmed the fact that this wasn't going to be the game people hoped for.

Having pushed my furniture back and dusted off the Kinect it was time to give this thing a whirl. First of all, this is one of those Kinect games that require you to be at the proper max distance or you will get the annoying graphic on screen to tell you to move back into view. One thing I found when playing this game, although you are not doing that much physical movement (apart from select boss battles) , it does get tiring as you are stood up for long periods of time. Obviously you can just walk out of the camera view to take a rest and the game pauses anyway, so not a big deal.

The story, well you are basically on a train travelling through eastern Europe and there is an incident, it derails and your wife goes missing. You survive the train crash and go looking for your wife and end up meeting up with other survivors on your journey to find out what happened , anyway you get the idea! oh and you just happen to have crashed in some cursed forest!

Ok, so this is Kinect, so you will be moving around without a controller! To walk forward you simply step forward once and you character moves forward at a walking pace, stepping further forward you walk slightly faster..not much. Step back you start moving backwards, you get the idea! to turn you simply move your shoulders left or right depending on which way you want to turn. On a whole, the movement isn't too bad, although I found stepping back not very responsive, but that may have been something to do with the lighting in my room at the time. There is another optional way of moving and that requires you to hold your right arm/hand into the air. This is like a auto walk, much akin to "on-rails" and is useful for finding out where to go next.

The other type of control are actions involving fighting. In the game you can pick up weapons which you can find laying around or dropped from enemies. You pick them up and use them to fight the various creatures walking around. These weapons can range from machetes to chain saws as well as items like scalpel blades and volatile test tubes that you can throw at your enemies to cause damage. Every time you hit an enemy the weapon "wears out" so you will be looking to swap them as much as possible before they become "red" and I presume "break" and disappear. If you see another weapon and pick it up it simply replaces the one you were holding and your old one drops back onto the floor.

Depending on your weapon type you can slash enemies or stab them, or indeed chainsaw them to death. It is also possible to punch them although this is very weak damage and usually a last resort unless you are using knuckle dusters. The fighting in the game is pretty fun and trying out the different weapons, of which there is a lot, is the highlight of the game. There are various enemies you will encounter, zombie nurses, ballerinas, French maids! zombies that vomit up on your screen so it makes it difficult to see for a short while. I will say one thing about this game, the enemies are pretty cool looking, although some do turn up a bit too much and could have done with a little more variety.

There are some neat little boss battles in this game. One in particular requires you to dodge enemy projectiles by side stepping, ducking etc. This adds a physical element to the battles and makes them more exciting in my opinion, so expect to at least get a little "hot" when fighting at least one of the bosses near the end of the game.

Enemies can be dismembered depending on what weapon you are using and were you hit them, arms and heads can be lopped off but there appears to be no way of targeting the legs. Some enemies need to be hit in certain places in order to effectively kill them. What you will find is certain enemies have mechanical body parts so you will need to focus on the parts that are not mechanical, i.e., flesh. I don't think it is possible to spoil the story of the game as it is so predictable, but basically, the reason why some of the enemies have these parts is to do with the story where the main "bad guy" is reanimating corpses and fitting them with mechanical body parts!

It is also possible to kick enemies, this can be useful for knocking them back temporary and giving you some more breathing space. Enemies can be kicked back into hazards such as spikes to your advantage. "Focus" is a way of "locking on" to a specific enemy to make targeting a little more manageable. In order to do this you need to move both your arms in front of your body. To swap focus you need to lower your arms and raise them again. This works ok when there is only a few enemies but is a bit hit and miss when there is a lot on screen. Some enemy attacks can be blocked by raising your arms, although not all attacks can be blocked.

To round off the motion controls you have times were you may need to balance by holding your arms out, move your arms to swat flies, swim, open doors, push enemies away etc. Some of these can be quite inspired, one I thought was good was when a banshee screamed and you are required hold your hands over your ears, a simple but effective use of Kinect. One other nice game play feature is the appearance of one enemy that requires you to stand still when he appears, i.e. not move forward or back. A simple idea but works well for the most part and adds to the atmosphere.

So, to the scores....

Sound = The voice acting is adequate for this type of game, some bad, some ok. The audio tape dialogue is in a different league though and is of a lot higher standard. The enemy sound pretty neat when they die, and let out a tortured scream, overall, very good. = 7/10

Music = There is some very good atmospheric background music, nothing noteworthy though. When the action heats up there is a piece of music that plays that adds to the tension that works well = 7/10

Game play = Moving around the play area can be a bit cumbersome at times, although it works reasonably well on a whole, but can be a bit hit and miss when there are more than two enemies on the screen at the same time. There are some very neat ideas that take advantage of Kinect and prove there is potential. The actual combat is fun, dismembering arms and heads never gets old and is the best part of the game in my opinion. = 6/10

Graphics = Sega style arcade graphics, serviceable, but hardly to the standard it could have been compared with what we know the 360 is capable of. = 6/10

Replay = From what I can tell, not much. There are tarot cards to collect and audio tapes, and obviously achievements. Once you complete the game you unlock another difficulty level as well as a survival type trial with a time limit in which you are graded for your performance = 5/10

Final Score = There are some good ideas here and there, but the game would have been far better if they had tried to make it a serious horror experience. I can only describe it as if Kinect had never been made by Microsoft and it was thought up by Sega for one of their mad expensive one off arcade cabinets back in the day with a title of "House of the Dead XXX". = 6/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/22/11

Game Release: Rise of Nightmares (EU, 09/09/11)

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