August 19, 2011

X’11 – Hands On With Rise of Nightmares

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 5:09 pm

Rise of Nightmares
Among the wares Sega was showing at X’11 yesterday was Rise of Nightmares, the Kinect exclusive survival horror title that’s due out in a couple of weeks. That demo happened to be my first opportunity to play a Kinect game, and while the title may not have been on my radar beforehand, that I walked away feeling good about the experience speaks volumes.

The demo began with a brief rundown of the basic control movements. I found myself in a rather unpleasant prison-like setting, where I was able to walk forward by placing one foot ahead of me and back by doing the reverse. Interestingly, the further forward my foot was placed, the faster my character would move, while turning my shoulders to either side would steer me through the world.

Placing an open hand in front of me brought up a cursor used to interact with and pick up nearby items, while pushing with that hand would open doors—a task that could also be accomplished, to my infinite amusement, by kicking wildly.

As I wandered the halls, some kind of rotting zombie nurse leapt out at me, latching onto me with the intention of doing things that I decided I probably didn’t want done to me. One good shove with the arms, and she stumbled back—at which time I ran up, swinging my arm wildly to assault her with the pipe I had picked up in an earlier chamber.

Splotch! No more evil nurse.

Moving through the halls was reasonably comfortable, though I noted that perhaps players might get tired of moving their shoulders constantly to navigate the environment. Interestingly, though, the game provides an auto navigation feature—if I lifted my hand up beside my head (as if asking the game to hold my hand), my character would automatically be carried along the level path. This may seem like something a player might be compelled to do constantly, but the interactivity makes movement fun, and thus I rarely felt the need to use the auto navigation option.

Later in the demo I had the opportunity to pick up a knife or a pair of brass knuckles—and having already tired of wild swinging, I opted for the knuckles. Weapons are raised by bringing up the hands, as if boxing—and so long as the players hands are raised, the character will attempt to block incoming attacks by crossing his hands in front of his face.

With the brass knuckles equipped, I was able to punch with either hand, battering whatever unpleasant maniacs happened to appear in front of me. In combat, the game locks on to the target the player is looking at, but in an interesting bit of design, the player can refocus on another enemy by dropping his hands, turning to the desired baddie, and raising his hands again.

Rise of Nightmares
This came in handy when combined with the kick movement—which can be used to stagger enemies backwards. After booting away one enemy, I could turn and focus my attention on another—before stepping forward to approach the original monster and finish him off with a set of punches.

The brass knuckles were the most fun I had during the demo; the Kinect registered my punches sharply, and enemies responded well to my attacks, looking battered and even stumbling away from me. In one instance, repeated punches saw a zombie-thing fall back into a bathroom stall—and I put one foot forward to chase him in there and finish the job.

Later, I would cover my ears to resist the wail of a screeching enemy, scoop a key out of a bloody toilet, raise my hands to block a lob of goo or wave my hand in front of my face to wipe it away, and thrust both hands forwards to wield a rusty chainsaw.

The Rise of Nightmares demo presented a handful of fun and cheap thrills in a ten minutes space—and with the game hitting shelves on September 6, players won’t have to wait long to see whether that pans out to offer a satisfying full release.


  1. Oh how they used to make fun of the Wii on rails games, huh?

    Comment by EdEN — August 22, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  2. But you don’t have to ride a rail, you can bebop all over these hallways and rooms with your own feet.

    Comment by Jamie Love — August 22, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  3. Well, you put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in and you shake it all about doesn’t sound like a very fun way to move around.

    Comment by EdEN — August 23, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  4. you do the zombie pokie and you shake it all about, and that’s what it’s all about!

    Comment by Jamie Love — August 23, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

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