SG PAX Prime 2011: Rise of Nightmares
I’ve covered Kinect games quite a few times already, so you can tell I’m trying to justify my purchase (that I got for free from the actual Burger King). Although I feel motion control games still have some growing to do before they become as immersive and fun as Microsoft’s marketing says it is, I’m willing to try out what’s out there on the market.
At E3 I wasn’t able to play Rise of Nightmares because I was too busy getting trampled by everyone else (honestly, I need 6 inch heels to have you all notice me), so this was my chance to see what the game was like. Needless to say, I’m worried.
Rise of Nightmares is a game that attempts to immerse the player in a scary environment by trying to use Kinect’s full potential. It’s a good concept, but unfortunately it looks like they got too ambitious.
The demo shown at PAX started with your character tied to a chair, about to be chopped up by a creepy ghoul nurse (that I’m sure Frawlz would date). Some man rescued you, and you were allowed to explore the dark dungeon you were trapped in.
To walk, you had to put one foot forward and lean in a bit. That alone seemed a little unnecessary to me, but apparently you can just hold your right arm out to activate an auto-direct feature.
To look around, you had to twist your upper body in the direction you wanted to move. People looked completely silly doing it; I’ve never seen anyone walk like that – at least not until after a few drinks. Zombies (or what I concluded to be zombies) popped out of nowhere to surprise you (and eat your flesh), so you had push them away by placing both hands in front of you and lifting the creatures off. That was an interesting addition, although it seemed to happen too often in the demo.
When it came to fighting, you could block or knock them away with your fists. If you picked up a weapon, you could slash (with a knife) or use a chainsaw to tear them up. The fighting was fun, but it didn’t seem as accurate or responsive as it should be. After playing Fruit Ninja Kinect, I expect slightly better precision.
The original guy who saved you from certain pain didn’t do anything after that. He just stood there while you fought, staring eerily into your soul. I wanted to slash him up for not doing anything! Why didn’t the zombies attack him instead? Hopefully that A.I. is given more character for the finished game, because it just seemed odd to have them there.
Before getting to the aforementioned chainsaw, you had to find a key. To interact with the environment, like opening doors or pushing buttons, you had to hold your arm up towards the sensor and wait until it registered your hand. That gesture didn’t seem to fit well with all the other motions in the game that were trying to pull you into the experience, but given the circumstances it’s an understandable feature.
Oh, and the key was in a toilet filled with blood… and without guidance from the person demoing the game, no one would have been able to find the key. After all, a bloody toilet is not exactly the first place you look for items.
The demo ended with everyone staring oddly at you from both inside and outside the booth (there was a camera broadcasting you playing the entire time).
The idea for the game is a good one, but it just doesn’t seem like it was executed well. The mechanics feel slightly uncomfortable, the game isn’t scary enough, and the bloody toilet honestly put me off (but that may just be the girl in me). I’m hoping that I’m wrong, and that the game turns out better than the demo that I saw. Otherwise, those hating on the Kinect will just have more fuel for their fire, and I’m left still searching for my horror Kinect game.