I imagine that watching me play Rise of Nightmares would not be totally dissimilar to watching me do a mixed-pace session of Tae Bo. I am fairly certain that SEGA was fully aware of this fact when developing it. As the first M rated Kinect game, I’m sure they relied on it, in fact, to help counteract the severity of the game’s violence and demeanor. That being said, Rise of Nightmares is a game of absolute potential. Does it stand tall or fall short?
A little from column A, a little from column B.
Rise of Nightmares does fall short in the movement control department. While it is fantastic that you have a great deal of freedom of movement in the game, as you are allowed to control where your character moves, how quickly he moves, what direction he moves in, etc., the accuracy and functionality of the controls are highly imperfect. The mechanics are very innovative, having you turn your shoulders left or right to turn your character, and having you place your foot forward or backward to move your character. The problem is that you will find yourself, at times, walking into walls, spinning in place, or walking like a man who has had too much to drink before going out to drink even more. While the mechanics have potential, and are innovative, they are far from perfectly implemented, and can result in a great deal of frustration. Luckily, raising your right fist over your head as if you were Judd Nelson results in the game taking over movement for you, saving you from the potentially bad results of trying to move yourself. Just make sure you have a Tears for Fears album nearby for when you utilize the auto-movement feature.
The freedom of movement that Rise of Nightmares provides you really is impressive. The way motion is handled, whether it’s handled well or not being irrelevant in this context, and the freedom of movement available creates a great combination that allows you to experience the environment more fully. And what an environment it is. Graphically, it’s well done. The graphics in this are also slightly irrelevant, though. The real masterpiece of environment is the general atmosphere of dark, chilling suspense. The story, such as it is, does help with building the suspense, but the main bulk of it is built by the environment itself, both visually and aurally. On top of the freedom of movement come the context sensitive actions. When you get to a door, you slide it open (or kick it in). When you come to a giant switch in the wall, you flip the switch. When you come to a ladder, you climb the ladder. The list goes on, but the actions you use to interact with the game world are the actions you would use to interact with the real world (perhaps minus the kicking in of doors…).
The combat is wonderful. By putting your fists in a boxing guard position, you enter combat mode. This auto-locks you onto your nearest enemy. From this position, you can punch with either your left or right hand (each hand activating the weapon held in that particular hand, or activating the dual wield weapon if one is equipped). Punch the air quickly for quick strikes. The variety of weapons that can be picked up around the mad scientist’s mansion (as original a setting as any I have ever heard of, to be sure) is astounding, and absolutely thrilling. Of course, the variety becomes irrelevant when you find the chainsaw, and you are able to swing your arms with wild abandon as you brutally cut your way through your adversaries.
Is Rise of Nightmares perfect? No. One of the major elements is majorly flawed, which results in a painstaking journey. However, the short stops and destinations on this journey are absolutely wonderful, and very entertaining. There are few things quite as satisfying as seeing your actions have direct results. This is even more true when your actions cause a chainsaw to dig through a techno-zombie (as in a zombie mixed with technology, not a zombie with glowsticks at a rave). RNNNNN-RNNRNRNRNRNRNRNR.
Freedom of movement
Realistic context-sensitive motions
|Controlling your own movement|
will make you sympathetic to the plight
of frat boys on Spring Break