Rise of Nightmares is a horror game controlled entirely with Kinect.
You play as Josh- an alcoholic- on holiday with his wife as a last ditch attempt to save his marriage.
Whilst travelling through Eastern Europe the train is attacked and de-railed, and his wife kidnapped, leaving him and the other survivors stranded in a dark forest. They seek refuge in an ominous looking castle..........
GAMEPLAY & CONTROLS
The most important thing to consider is whether or not you'd feel comfortable with the control scheme, as it does require some degree of co-ordination on your part.
From a standing (neutral) position, by placing either foot forward - your character (in game) moves forward, similarly by placing a foot backwards you move backwards.
Turning is achieved by twisting your shoulders (to the left/right).
To interact - just hold one hand out, to fight - put both hands up like a boxer.
The controls felt awkward at first, but became more instinctive after a few hours play. It's responsive and Kinect picks up movements well.
The `auto walk' option (activated by raising your right hand) helps if you're struggling, (although I rarely used it).
It also helps to point you in the right direction if ever you're unsure where to go next. But it can't be used in certain rooms (those with traps.)
Head-tracking works in cutscenes and side-stepping during boss-fights only.
When fighting, you automatically lock on to the nearest enemy, health recovers gradually, you can defend (by crossing your arms), and can only hold one main weapon at a time - which can degrade and break.
There's a variety of one/two handed and projectile weapons (axes, chainsaws, explosives etc) and a few other `special surprises'! You can target an enemy's limbs with melee weapons, and use your feet to kick them back (useful when surrounded.)
One handed weapons can be held in either left or right hands, and you can always use your `kick' attack - even when defending.
The variety of enemies give combat an element of strategy, e.g zombies - some spew acid, have weapons, armour, can self destruct etc, which effects how you approach each situation.
There are creepy clown dolls, banshee's that can deafen you with screams (cover your ears - no really - Kinect can detect it,) and a Frankenstein-like giant who has poor sight and detects you by movement and sound (so you have to stay perfectly still/quiet when he's close!)
A few rooms require you to dodge mechanical traps, they look daunting - but are easy to get past if you think about what you're doing.
The game also features context based events and some simple puzzles - which use Kinect in a number of interesting ways. They mimic real-life movements and add a lot of variety to the combat heavy game play.
The game has an arcade-like feel, the combat has depth, but the adventure elements are fairly simple, although there is a good variety to them, and always something new to see and do just around the corner.
The graphics, whilst not the best are suitably atmospheric. The character models/monsters are detailed, lip synching and animation is fine. There is no screen tearing or slowdown.
Some locations feel `empty', (early on), but the environments become larger, and the art style more fantastical the further into the game you go.
The in game music fits the setting. Character voices are a little cheesy and the script OTT, but it fits the b-movie, tongue-in-cheek style.
There is one irritating part in the graveyard when one character keeps repeating the same line of dialogue whenever you walk past, but apart from that it's fine.
It's a single player game, has multiple difficulty settings and is rated +18 for a reason (excessive gore / bad language.)
The story mode has nine chapters (providing approx 10 - 12hrs play time), plus three 'challenge levels'.
The presentation is good - and the menus are easy to navigate.
The environments are open to exploration, but story progression is linear. There are collectibles - detective tapes, tarot cards, and secret events, plus there's a chapter select option.
I found Rise of Nightmares to be a refreshing, unique and immersive experience that uses Kinect in a number of innovative ways.
In turns scary, tense, goofy and funny, it's a little rough in places but overall a worthwhile and memorable experience.
But, I stress, the whole experience depends upon whether you can feel comfortable with the control scheme and the level of co-ordination required.
If you like B-Movie horror
If you like The House of the Dead, Splatterhouse or older Resident Evil games.
If you bought Kinect for new game experiences.
If you feel the control system sounds too odd or complicated.
If you're expecting AAA blockbuster quality.
If you're expecting a serious in depth adventure game.