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VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Rise of Nightmares

11.03.2011by: Andre Manseau

Published by:
Developed by: Sega
Release Date: September 8, 2011
Available on: Xbox 360 (Kinect Sensor Required)


INTRO: Jack and Kate are on their way through Romania when Kate notices that Jack hasn't exactly given up his drinking habit. She gets awfully mad and takes off through the train. He tries to follow her to cool off the situation but ends up walking smack dab into zombies and a big dude who's snatched Kate and is taking her away. Naturally, the train flies off the railing and Jack has to collect himself in time to storm a castle (!) and find his wife.

Remember when I said how excited I was to get a hold of Rise of Nightmares? Well color me pickled tink because this is a full-on Kinect first person horror game and it's time to kill some zombies.


This one doesn't take itself very seriously at all, and is filled with ridiculous characters who make it fun. It sort of plays like an over the top haunted house, killing as many people as possible (even when you don't expect it) in nasty ways.

You'll be stumbling around as you please, breaking boxes and anything you possibly can as you search for clues. There aren't a lot of wrong turns you can make, but at least you aren't stuck on rails which is impressive for a Kinect game. sometimes you have to kill bad guys, sometimes you have to run through traps, or even solve (super lame) puzzles.

Now as for the control, it doesn't light the world on fire and the movement certainly isn't 1:1. You move forward by putting a foot forward and backward by putting a foot backwards. You can run by flailing a bit and turn by sort of rotating your shoulders.

it pretty much works, and thank God there's an auto walk feature cause having to walk all the time is bad news and gets old. This game requires a lot of movement and having that feature built in really helps the game. Don't get me wrong, you look like an idiot playing this game, but the controls work once you get used to them. unfortunately though, it isn't as simple as "I do it, you do it". It all feels a bit unnatural. Luckily though, the game eases you in slowly and some motions feel more natural than others. If you ever get lost or disoriented, just hold up your right hand to be set straight. Believe me, it helps.

Combat is mostly melee-based and involves three different swings and a block. You can smash beasts in the mush and must do so strategically as you'll be faced with many foes eventually. After a bit of practice though, you'll find yourself clearing out big rooms with your bare hands and doing a good job of it too. I recommend using the kick feature to dispatch foes while you rip weaponized limbs off foes and slice them to pieces. And there are some fun weapons here too, if you look hard enough. Lots of things to stab with and throw at baddies. Enemies can be tough, but they're well spaced and don't always feel unfair.

Ultimately, the game works but takes some getting used to. Although the experience doesn't feel "human", it's a fun quest and it is indeed more interactive than most games you play. It's fun to open doors, swing weapons, search for stuff. This is a pretty impressive thing, because I have a hard time playing most Kinect games for longer than 20 minutes at a time and I was down for the cause with this one.

If I had a complaint, it'd be that the game can get hard and the checkpoints in the game are way too far apart. You're absolutely going to die and moving around can involve some real physical trickery to get through the tougher rooms of the game and it gets to be a real spirit breaker to have to go through a whole room of crouching, jumping and running to find out you're dead (and the loading time is a bit long, too).

And it's also worth mentioning that my Kinect experience might not be your Kinect experience. It takes the right room, the right lighting and the right player. Even in optimal conditions I found myself sometimes stumbling into walls or turning way too quickly, and some attacks weren't the ones I asked for- the little camera certainly isn't perfect.

Ultimately, combat is fun and the ridiculous story, characters and deaths make this one worth playing through at least once.

Gameplay: 7/10


Graphics are decent here but certainly nothing award-winning. Humans look alright and creature designs are decent and relatively gross looking. The game design isn't fantastic in terms of levels, as they really start looking repetitive after awhile. If this sort of thing bugs you, know that there's an 'old film' filter laid over the game.

Graphics: 6.5/10


Audio is also fairly mediocre, with a decent old-school score that isn't just loops of guitar riffs (thank God). It works fairly well. The voice work isn't very good and the dialogue is pretty much laughable, although not jaw-droppingly bad. Sound effects are serviceable and just fine.

Audio: 6/10


To be honest, this is a pretty mediocre title that has flashes of fun as it grows through the infancy of its control scehem. The auto-walk feature is a must, and you're going to be swinging like a madman. With that said, there are some fun moments later in the game and it feels like a great starting point. On top of that, it's a horror game that is a little different from the norm, and on this site, that's worth a point.

Final Score: 7/10




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