by Danielle Harrison
previewed on X360
Adult Kinect Game
As an adult gamer I've often found myself wondering if Kinect will ever fully appeal to me. Of course, whilst it's a lot of fun to play around with your friends on games like Dance Central and Kinect Adventures, it just doesn't grip you like a good RPG or FPS where you can sit down and fully immerse yourself into the story of the game. With the help of Sega, this dilemma may soon be over as this fall, Rise of Nightmares will hit the shelves. All that's left to do now is work out whether it's actually good enough to buy, or if the game is just talk and no action.
According to Sam Mullen, producer of Rise of Nightmares this game is an action/adventure/horror/survival game, and is the first mature title to be released for Kinect. You play as an American tourist and in the opening scene you find yourself strapped into a chair. Just across the room there's a doctor torturing another victim, but before it's your turn, the doctor is called away. This is your chance to break free of your restraints and get out of the horrific situation. You play in a mansion-like environment and your main objective in the game is to find your wife who has been kidnapped by the insane doctor.
Truly Immersive Horror Experience
The game is essentially a brawler and you will have to fight your way through hordes of deformed and deranged zombie-like creatures. The creatures you will encounter are the manifestations of the doctor's insanity and as the story progresses, the player will begin to understand why the enemies are take the forms they do. The only weapons available will be melee in order to make the game more visceral and violent as well as to make full use of the Kinect. You'll be able to use your bare fists to punch or your legs to kick enemies back. There are also brass knuckles, pipes that you can swing to hit enemies, tongs which you use in a scissor motion, and a chainsaw. There's nothing quite like getting your hands on a chainsaw in a game such as this and running wild with it. There is often blood sprayed across the camera and combat usually ends up in dismemberment or decapitation- stray limbs being an excellent decoration to the floors.
My first thought about the game was how Sega would work the movement of your character. I feared that whilst playing you'd have no freedom and that your character would be on rails and move through the whole game automatically, able to shoot but not free to move around. To my surprise, that's not so. Apparently, you move the camera yourself, rotating your left and right shoulders to look left and right and moving your leg back and forth to control whether you walk forwards or back up. Mullen stated that it takes a little getting used to but once you've played for a little while it's quite intuitive. This all looks great on paper but we've yet to see if the Kinect can actually pick up these movements and follow what you're doing with enough precision.
Will It Work?
Rise of Nightmares is meant to enable the player to use their whole body and experience fear and tension as never before. A lot of people who get their kicks from scaring themselves silly with horror games are probably wondering about what environments they will experience in the game. Personally, I like playing horror games with all the lights turned off, but would that be a problem for the Kinect? Sam Mullen stated: “it's a common misconception that Kinect needs light to work, so in this case, if you wanted to turn all the lights off and set the scary mood, you'll be able to play the game just fine”. This I find very hard to believe. Perhaps the game would work if there was maybe one light on you, but I honestly cannot believe that Kinect can pick up all of your body parts in a dark room. This is one thing that I'll have to wait and see for myself.
The difference between playing a horror game whilst sitting on your sofa using a controller as opposed to playing one by using your body is significant. When something scary happens suddenly I can imagine a lot of people actually falling over with fright. On the downside, the graphics in the game aren't particularly overwhelming. They're rather mediocre, to be honest. Putting all of this together, I think this game is still a must buy, even if it's just to experience a horror game using Kinect. It's definitely a totally new experience that I think is worth the investment.