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There’s a lot of family games for the Kinect isn’t there? Well Rise of Nightmares, SEGA’s newest game, sure as hell isn’t one of them. RoN is a fun, spiritual successor to the beloved House of the Dead series and a good step forward for mature Kinect games in the future,
RoN starts with a young European couple trapped in a crazy castle that doesn’t look like a fun time at all. This serves as a tutorial level to get you used to the full body controls that the game uses, which I’ll talk about at great lengths in a bit. After fighting a couple of zombie-type creatures our young couple ends up in the what can only be described as a version of the trash compactor from Star Wars. Let’s just say things don’t go exactly as planned for our young couple.
The game then picks up with a married couple of five years on a vacation in Europe aboard a train. Through a series of events your wife is taken buy a hulking guy that resembles the Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 and you go on a quest to find her and too find out just why the hell Europe has so many creepy scenarios (I’m making that last part up). Let’s be honest though, no one plays a “light gun” type game for the story. You play it to kill some stuff and have a good time doing it. So how does RoN handle this? Pretty well actually, but with just a couple of hiccups.
First of all the graphics are pretty good. It has that SEGA “look” to it which is actually kind of endearing and brought back a lot of memories of House of the Dead, which is a good thing. Even the scenery is not bad to look at, and I spent a lot of time bumping into it.
Rise of Nightmares uses a full body control method that works surprisingly well. Attacks are your standard fare of using your hands to punch/block. You will be picking up a wide assortment of weapons ranging from brass knuckles and pocket knives to scalpels that you can throw like ninja stars to even chainsaws (CHAINSAWS!). If you want too kick a zombie in the face, you kick. If you want to open a door you push on it (or slide it depending on the door) and pushing buttons or pulling levers is accomplished the same way. It’s all very intuitive and works pretty well. I’ll get to the couple of issues I have with the fighting controls in a second.
Movement is handled in one of two ways. The first way is the “On Rails” method. By raising your right hand the game will propel you in the direction that you need to head. This comes in handy if you get yourself stuck in a corner or if your legs are getting tired from kicking zombies in the face. The second way is by putting one foot in front off the other one. Depending on how far you put your foot out, the faster you will move. Now, don’t be mistaken, you will NEVER break into a full out run (which makes no sense considering the scenario) but you will move faster. Turing is handled by simply turning your shoulders left or right. This works, but it can be a little fickle. I had to fiddle with the turning sensitivity until it felt “right” but then it was better. I still found myself overturning a little bit but, being that your character is a closet drunk, I just called it character development.
Now while the controls are good, there are a couple of things that can be improved on. First, when you put your hands up in the “fighting stance” you lock on to an enemy. That’s good until you find yourself surrounded or if you are locked on to someone that is a little further away from you than your closest enemy. To lock on to another enemy you have to drop your hands to your sides and lift them up again to re-target. Annoying, but when you get used to it you can get it done pretty quick. Secondly, there were a couple of times when the game detected that I actually wanted to walk backwards when I wanted to move forward. This usually happened after a fight when I was furiously kicking zombies (I like kicking zombies). And finally, this game can really be exhausting. My arms burn a little from punching, but a little exercise never killed anyone…right?
Overall I love Rise of Nightmares. It’s a fun game that shows what the future of Kinect action games hold. Hopefully the upcoming big games like Star Wars Kinect and Fable: The Journey take a look at what SEGA has accomplished and just make a couple of tweaks to improve it.
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