Distributed by Sega
Rated M for Mature
Available exclusively for Xbox 360
Hey, you. Yeah, you, the Kinect gamer with three inches of dust on your fancy $150.00 camera. Tired of dancing around, jumping in your raft and pretending to throw horseshoes? Good! There’s motherfuckin’ zombies to kill! Being a horror fan with a Kinect sensor has been akin to being carnivore on a veggie diet. It sucks. We need tasty meat to feast on and we need it dripping with blood with as many entrails hanging off our chainsaws as possible. With Rise of Nightmares Sega has answered our prayers.
The storyline is pretty standard, but we’re not exactly looking for high art here. You play as Josh, an alcoholic who is tasked with saving his girlfriend, Kate, from a mad scientist once their train crashes. Of course from there you enter a world filled with beasties and you literally have to punch, kick, duck, and run for your friggin’ life as a means to score back your chica.
The game is broken down into ten different acts, and through each one you’ll face all manners of nastiness including some of the most bitchin’ looking video game zombies we’ve seen in quite some time. In fact every aspect of this game is pretty stellar looking and appropriately cinematic and eerie. No matter how good the game looks, though, ultimately what’s going to make or break it is the game’s control scheme and how responsive the Kinect sensor is.
We’re happy to say that control-wise we didn’t run into a single hitch while playing. Everything feels very natural. You have two ways of controlling your character by either taking one step forward or one step back (to go forward and backwards, respectively) while pivoting your shoulders right or left depending on which way you want to look around or go. While this may sound a bit taxing, it really isn’t. Still, if you’re a bit lazy, there’s also an auto-walk feature which more or less turns the game into a bit of a rail shooter as by simply raising your right arm, you’ll be automatically moved to where you’re supposed to go. This definitely helps get you on the right track when you’re lost. Sometimes, however, the auto-walk feature is disabled and you’re left to fend for yourself. Have a narrow bridge or platform to cross? Hold out both arms to balance yourself. Need to get to a higher platform? Jump up. As stated above, the movements you need to make to go through the game are all pretty natural like pulling down to flip a switch or moving your hand left or right to open a sliding door.
Then there’s the combat. The sweet combat. Rise of Nightmares is home to an array of weaponry from your fists to blunt objects to power tools. It’s all there, and it all gets delightfully messy as the gore flies in every direction. Just make sure no one is walking in front of you while playing or you’ll be likely to knock them out.
If there’s anything negative to say about the game, it’s that the boss battles can be less than spectacular, and how much you enjoy the game will be dependent on how much you enjoy maiming zombies, etc. Yes, it can be repetitive, but then again, so can the House of the Dead games, and if you like them, you’ll easily like this. Another minor quibble? If you’re looking to play through this as a means to get scared, look elsewhere. While the game’s heavy on atmosphere, its main focus is on the action. In short, it’s light on spooky but heavy on everything else you love about the horror genre.
Rise of Nightmares isn’t a perfect game, but the immersion you feel while playing it truly makes up for any shortcomings it has. While many horror themed games leave you wanting more, this one lets you feel like you’re the star of the show and are starring in an ultra-violent horror film. It honestly does that just about better than anything else out there right now, and for that it is to be applauded. Don’t hesitate. Get off your couch, grab your chainsaw, and start hacking off limbs while geysers of blood fly everywhere! Ah, the finer things in life!
4 out of 5
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