E3 2011: Rise of Nightmares hands-on preview

Rise of Nightmares is borderline comical in its violence. In a scene we can assume is close to the opening of the game, you come to bound to a chair in a dark room. Across from where you’re positioned, another man is also bound, speaking in German – begging probably – with a would-be jailer to be released. Ignoring his pleading captor, this menacing figure, who resembles a mad surgeon (bloody apron included) picks up an axe. Without much warning, and as the German man is still talking, brutally severs his hand. The german screams.
“Why did you that?” he chokes, in a panic.
 “Why not?” the doctor-type says.

It’s an odd and unsettling scene – it doesn’t take much longer for the German ends up with that axe buried in his skull – but you can’t help but laugh at the nonsensical grotesquery. This is, from what we played at least, par for the course in Rise of Nightmares. The game seems to be hewn from the same bloody cloth as Eli Roth’s Hostel – a man finds himself desperately searching for his missing wife somewhere in Europe, only to end up in the horrific castle of a mad scientist who has been turning people into hideous monsters with cybernetic implants, and evidently has a fetish for removing body parts and replacing them with blades.

Does any of this nightmare imagery make sense? Not in the slightest. From what we can tell, Rise of Nightmares is among the top-tier of the most ridiculous Japanese horror games. But that probably won’t matter once you start brutalizing monsters and zombies wth a wide array of gore-amplifying weaponry. Did we mention this game is for the Kinect?

If that last sentence has you worried, we’ll give to you straight: Rise of Nightmares’ controls take some getting used to. The game operates using only a handful of gestures – stepping one foot forward or backward controls movement, while shoulder twisting is used for turning. Put up hand to interact with objects or both hands up in boxing position to bring up a weapon. Contextual gesturing is also in play here, so you can open doors or, say, beat back a zombie with a pushing motion.

Although we were assured that the action-heavy demo was only one part of the game’s overall adventure game feel, the combat in Rise of Nightmares has a good, strong feel. A quick jab forward will knock back an enemy with a corresponding move, and you can use your melee by swiping directionally (think Dead Space Extraction’s Arc Cutter). The real fun here comes from the various weapons you can pick up – in the demo we played with brass knuckles (both regular and electrified), rusty tongs, a chainsaw, and an ice saw that happened to look more like a machete. With weapon in hand, you can make short work of the braindead enemies. That said, it’s damn satisfying when you get to watch the effects of several repeated forward strikes on the brain matter of an enemy.

Despite the wonky movement (which can be fixed, to some degree, by gesturing to use an auto move feature a la Killer 7) the Kinect’s responsiveness to your commands is pretty decent, so kicking the crap out of whatever is in front of you is that much more fun. It’s not as fast (or scary) as Condemned, but it gets its points across, spilling buckets of blood in doing so. This is much more a survival horror game than an action title though, and during a few lulls in combat we had to solve simple switch and key puzzles. Don’t let its Kinect trappings fool you – a little polish and this could be one the motion sensor’s most interesting core games. Rise of Nightmares hits sometime later this year.

Jun 13, 2011




  • MightyMorphinPoltergeist - June 24, 2011 4:04 a.m.

    I'm right with ya EwoksTasteLikeChicken; this game, Child of Eden and Gunstringer are the reasons I will get a Kinect. And to batouyukinawa, wtf are you talking about? MSoft can't force 3rd parties to think outside the box on game development - traditional games shouldn't shouldn't have Kinect squeezed in places that don't fit. That along with poorly made shovel ware are the bulk (but not all) of what we have so far. ----- It will take a new approach to what makes a game and how we interact with it and one I look forward to. After all, how many times can we play the same time of game over and over. Kinect can bring that variety if utilized.
  • batouyukinawa - June 19, 2011 7:43 a.m.

    I'm sorry, but he's right. Kinect is just that, a simple diversion to suck in the mainstream. Microsoft clearly made it a point they could give two shits about the core gamer anymore. They just want money. Motion control doesn't work people, the technology just isn't refined enough. They can sit their and tout about 1 to 1, but it's all BS. But the real issue is none of these things. Motion control is idiotic IMO. why do we play games in the first place? To act out fantasies. I don't care who you are, you can't fight like Batman, so the 1 to 1 is pointless anyway. These motion games are old tech anyway. I remember playing these types of games before on arcades in the mall like 10 years ago. It was fine for an arcade experience, but for my home, I'm sticking with controllers.
  • Genericpenisjoketista - June 15, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    House of the Dead-y.
  • Crypto140 - June 14, 2011 9:05 p.m.

    This game looks interesting. (Read on read on, sees word Kinect) Oh son of a bitch!
  • Xifihas - June 14, 2011 4:35 p.m.

    If done well, this could help make kinect worth getting. It wouldn't be able to sell kinect on it's own obviously but it would help. Captcha: ostoral theorem - Tell me more about this theorem.
  • UberNoob - June 14, 2011 4:37 a.m.

    I don't haz Kinect :(
  • PastorOfMuppets - June 14, 2011 1:59 a.m.

    Well they made "Mad World" for Wii. So why not.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - June 14, 2011 1:23 a.m.

    Why the hell is everyone being so negative about Kinect? I'm talking about you, fanfundy and AlbVega. Do you retards understand that if this works, it could actually be one of the only good games on Kinect?
  • AlbVega - June 14, 2011 12:53 a.m.

    I was interested until I read that was a Kinect game. I'll pass.
  • DeifiedData - June 13, 2011 11:27 p.m.

    Something about the first screen reminds me a little of Oblivion. It's the hands, and the wall and floor textures. Actually, it reminds me *alot* of Oblivion.
  • fanfundy - June 13, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    Kinect? No thanks. No motion controls for me.
  • Sebo1212 - June 13, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    first maybe?? This game looks sweet, like Devil may cry and silent hill meets kinect.

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