Written by Michael Rohde Wednesday, 07 September 2011 08:41
Rise of Nightmares starts off good enough. You’re trapped in a cell in what appears to be a dungeon. There’s a girl with you. You manage to break out of the cell, grab a weapon, and immediately you can start flinging and flailing your arms around to smash the zombies. You eventually escape the dungeon and then the game really begins. The opening sequence you initially play through serves as a prelude to what you will eventually get to play. But first, you must suffer through a long tutorial level.
What many of you might be wondering is how you play the game. Some of the controls are intuitive enough: you raise both hands to enter a fighting stance and that locks you onto the closest zombie. You then swing either arm to attack. If you swing down, you’ll hack the head, if you swing across, you could chop off an arm, and so forth. You can also kick your leg to knock the zombie back to give you some breathing room. To throw a vial, which explodes on impact, make a throwing motion. Basically speaking, the combat is rather basic.
How you walk is another story and can require either a strong right arm or some good balance. You can move forward two different ways. You can put the game on rails by raising your right arm. You stop the rails by lowering your arm. To move manually, you lift one of your legs in the air (or simply move one foot forward or backward). The more you move your leg, the faster you go. If you want to turn, then turn your shoulders. The Kinect does allow for sensitive and slight movements, so take that into account as you move around.
This type of movement can make it difficult to explore. If you put the game on rails, not only will your arm slowly tire, but you don’t explore certain hallways or rooms. If you move manually, it can be tricky to maneuver yourself into tight corners. However, it’s worth it as you can find crates to smash open to find weapons.
Sega most likely realized that moving was going to take some getting used to. So they added in a very long tutorial section in which you walk down many long hallways. You open many doors. And then walk down another long hallway, maybe run into some NPCs, and then rinse and repeat. You might start thinking to yourself if you’re going the right way, but there’s only one way to go: down the hall and through the door. This goes on for a long, long time. You start to remember how 10 minutes ago you were smashing zombies and now they are all gone. But Rise of Nightmares has a story and this tutorial mission sets the plot.
It is strongly recommended that you plod your way through the tutorial and get back to the action, which eventually does come back. This is when the game shines. The hacking, slashing and kicking of zombies is a ton of fun. However, the zombie smashing is far and few between and will have you longing for more. But first, you must walk down a long hallway and open some doors.
To be fair, this review only covers the first two hours of the game. Fingers are crossed that the game eventually heats up and the zombie smashing-action takes center stage. Within the first two hours of the game, you will find many different types of weapons. Most are melee-based, but there are some long-range weapons as well. And you will find the chainsaw within the first two hours of the game. Yes, it’s worth it to get that chainsaw.
Even though certain parts of the game can wear you down with tedious walking, and there are plenty of cutscenes that will make you long for a chair, the game always makes you wonder what’s going to happen next. In that way, many gamers will invest far more than two hours into the game. The Official Xbox Magazine states the game has a 10-hour story.
It’s always fun to try something new for Kinect; especially if it doesn’t involve sports or cute fuzzy animals. That in itself is a valid reason to play Rise of Nightmares. The game has some scary moments, but you’re not Alone in the Dark by any means. Also, you have to be in the mood for standing up and not mind breaking a light sweat, especially if you’re manually walking. Even if you prefer auto-walking, your arm will eventually get tired, and you’ll want to manually walk just to give your arm a rest.
The initial two hours was a mixed bag of action and boredom. Smashing zombies is fun. Walking down a hall is not. You get both in Rise of Nightmares.
GoozerNation recommends getting Rise of Nightmares as cheap as possible. Amazon has it available for $37.50 to $50. Rise of Nightmares is currently worth 900 points on Goozex and 73 people are in line for it. It’s a good bet this title will drop in price fast. Pick it up in the bargain bin.