Rise of Nightmares

Remember when we promised content? Here's some of it. About four years ago we played Rise of Nightmares on the Kinect and on the Xbox 360. We weren't impressed with the Kinect line-up at launch  (still aren't to be honest or happy about subsequent Kinect games) it was a rushed gimmicky effort to try to sway some of the bajillions of people who had played Wii Sports into buying an Xbox 360 and then, presumably get them onto proper games or something. Although games seem to be a low priority for Sony and Microsoft who seem to be fighting to be the all-in-one home media centre of which games is a small part. Then, it turns out that everyone and their dog is doing cool things with a Kinect. Everyone except people who make Kinect games that is. 

That would have been absolutely fine an' all except the Kinect games were all a bit pap. Including Rise of Nightmares. Under no circumstances should you play Rise of Nightmares single player. It is an exercise in extreme frustration. The controls are clunky at best, there's a great deal of recycling environments, the motion recognition is about 50-50, stealth sections don't work, some of the QTE movements are hard to pull-off comfortably, one boss fight comes ever so close to being ragequittingly frustrating and the game would be linear were it not for the fact that it is nigh impossible to actually walk in a straight line. And if you're unlucky and are tall and/or live in a box flat it may well be that the 'play area' lies outside of the walls of your flat. 

Get some buddies round though and play pass-the-body (because you don't use a controller, your body is the controller you see? You see? It isn't pass the pad, it's pass the body. Body passing. You pass the body) and it'll pass (see what we did then?) an evening or two just fine. The plot is a-c-t-u-a-l-l-y not as horrible or broken as it could have been. It's every bit the B-Movie, set somewhere in Eastern Europe, a bunch of hapless sexy ladies and douchey men victims, a spooky booby trapped castle, an evil stompy monster antagonist  and a bunch of zombies. It's a SEGA game so there's sexy gimp zombies too. You even get to SPOILERS sex a gypsy witch although only in a cutscene, no matching motions involved sadly. Towards the end of the game there's some surprisingly cool new ideas that keep you playing/experiencing it right up to the end. Then there's a whole bunch of challenges which, will keep our little gang of geeks coming back to it.

Rise of Nightmares is much like Wii Play and the original Wii Sports in that it is a proof of concept, a tech demo and it's one of only a handful of non-sports, non-dancing Kinect games or 'proper' games with a gammy Kinect mode gaffer taped on. Hopefully a developer will take the idea behind the playthrough slash movie and really run with it. Really, really run with it. Off into the distance and over yonder hill. Nothing to do with Fist bumping.


  1. As you well know I am a fan of Kinect and have made the point numerous times that while there is an awful lot of tripe out there, when used right it can be brilliant. I also found Rise of Nightmares to be a mixed bag of 'Blimey, wasn't expecting that!' (last seen when I was shooting my way through House of the Dead: Overkill) and 'Oh FARK!!! WHY IS IT SO NUBBINGLY FIDDLEY!?'

    What I was left with was the impression that it was a solid foundation for future efforts, and in some respects, as you went on to say, does fill the same category of 'testing the water' that a few other titles do. Where I feel Rise of Nightmares excels is the unrelenting commitment to it's concept, which niggling control methods aside was bold, and I would likely say that the experience would not have been improved with the addition of a control pad actually.

    Kinect is best with a group, as you have found out, and as such I am never apologetic for whipping out Kinect Disneyland whenever we have guests. It's just fun, even when it should only be infuriating and depressing. Which is all I want from a game.


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