Monday, December 19, 2011
Review: Rise of Nightmares (Xbox 360)
Ever since the Xbox 360 Kinect hardware was announced my imagination ran wild thinking of all the different horror themes and how the Kinect versions of them would play out. I mean can you imagine a Saw game where you are in the trap and have to release yourself with real world movement?!?! Fast forward to the end of summer and you will see Kinect owners drowning in a sea of party games and sports/action titles. Along comes Rise of Nightmares promising new game play that did not involve a sport and was horror themed. Imagine my excitement after seeing a few videos of these playing. Did R.O.N go the distance and breath some life into a rather stale game assortment for Kinect owners? Does it take the survival horror genre in a whole new direction with an all new layer of game play? Kinda of and kind of not. Read on for "the skinny" when it comes to Sega's latest foray into horror.
Right off the bat this game screams House of the Dead in not only game play, but voice acting, art, and almost everything else. This is not a bad thing because I loved the series, but did hope R.O.N would not be an exact rip off, and it was not. The story is so so and pretty basic. You play as Josh who is on a trip with his girlfriend Kate, who busts his alcoholic ass before the train can crash. And you start the search for a missing Kate. You will interact with others from time to time, all of which felt really stereotypical and once again reminded me of characters from Sega's House of the Dead.The levels are broken out into 10 acts much like another shoot em up Sega title (Ahem.. House of the Dead). The level design was a lot better than I expected and the enemies were varied enough to keep your eyeballs into it. A decent amount of time went into the design of the enemies and some like the zombies look awesome, while other filler types like cyborgs looked cheap. The sound was nothing super awesome but did the trick and voice acting was as expected being on par with House of the Dead.
Oh the flipping controls. Thank god I did not have an actual controller in my hand or it would have went from one to one thousand pieces before act 3. I had plenty of issues while in "flailing combat" where Josh would just start going backward or forward. In battle this was easily the most frustrating thing I found in the game. I did get a little better later on by making my movements more of a lunge, versus the step a normal human would take. The addition of an auto-walk button was a god sent at times but felt like they knew something was broken and just offered a band-aid versus a repair. Recalibrating the sensor did nothing to remedy the movement. Luckily the robust weapon choices and gore filled combat made the trip through each act doable.The Kinect has very little in the way of games that rock outside of the genres already mentioned. If you like the House of the Dead series, as I do, you would be a miss to not at least rent this title. It would also give your Kinect a break from make believe pets and boring ass party games. I really hope to see more developers embrace the Kinect and take a chance at making something different. If it is fun and engaging I have no issue standing all day and flailing like a sweaty fool.