Saturday, 22 October 2011

Rise of Nightmares - The First Horror Kinect game fails to impress

For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed horror games. I still remember playing the first Resident Evil and almost falling off the couch when the first Zombie dog jumps through the window at the beginning of the game.

These moments of heart-pounding tension have generally always defined these games, and there have been several that have managed to do it right.(Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Dead Space are the successful examples that come to mind.)

This is not where Rise of Nightmares falls short, as these moments are constantly present in the game from the very beginning.

However, when it comes to the control system, this game is seriously lacking.

Movement in the game is governed by the positioning of your shoulders for turning, and putting a foot in front of you or behind you for moving backwards and forwards.

Your first thought may be that this sounds like a natural use of the Kinect for movement, but it never feels that way. A controller would been a much better option for this game.

The movement is slow, and mostly unresponsive to your gestures. Changing from one gesture to another is often delayed, and the game doesn't always respond, leaving you extremely annoyed most of the time.

There is an auto-move feature to take you through most areas without having to physically do it yourself, which you end up using most of the time to avoid further frustration. You can just hold your right arm up, and the game will do the rest. This seems like a lazy application of Kinect controls though and almost feels like cheating. 

Combat is relatively enjoyable when you're able to maneuver correctly in front of an enemy (which is difficult most of the time.) Thankfully, you're able to lock on to them if they're close enough, but the melee combat can also be unresponsive, so you end up flailing madly just to get a shot in.

When several enemies are attacking you, each individual fight leaves you disorientated and confused, and you never really know where to move to after each.

You usually end up attempting to turn to face the next enemy, which is a slow process.

There is a large selection of weapons as you continue playing, but most leave you feeling like they could have done more with each, rather than giving you so many. (Quantity over quality seems to be the norm here.)

One would have thought that with the use of Kinect, the game would be given a greater sense of depth and immerse the player in a more realistic experience. Instead, you end up feeling robbed of what could have been an enjoyable experience.

Even interacting with objects makes you feel like you're an old-school point and click adventure game. The game would have been better off if the weapons and objects were automatically picked up.

The story is relatively well structured and definitely keeps you interested, although the characters are badly voiced at times and accents are usually over-done.

Graphics in this game are not up to scratch with most present games, but are tolerable and server their purpose well.

All I can hope is that this game doesn't deter other developers from creating their own horror games for Kinect, as the potential is there if done correctly.

Rise of Nightmares falls horribly short of what it wanted to achieve, and seems like it was rushed for release.

Also, I think I pulled a muscle in my shoulder because of it.

5/10 - A low score due to wasted potential for something that could have been good.

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