Rise of Nightmares

If You Want Blood, You've Got It
by Jeff Cork on Jun 07, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Platform Xbox 360
Publisher Sega
Developer Sega of America
Rating Mature

Kinect has taken its lumps for not offering anything for the hardcore player. If your definition of "hardcore" includes dismemberment, profanity, and monstrous human experimentation, Sega has something right up your alley.

Rise of Nightmares starts off with main character Josh and his wife on a leisurely tour through Eastern Europe. After their train crashes, Josh awakes in a nightmarish cell, strapped to a chair. A doctor named Victor starts torturing one of Josh's former fellow passengers, starting by chopping off his hand and following up with a hatchet blow to the skull. Just when his horribly mutilated nurse assistant is about to do the same to Josh, an older man smashes her head apart and unties Josh. Now it's up to Josh to find his wife and escape the facility alive.

The game is a first-person action game, which takes place without any rails. To move forward, I stuck a leg out in front of the other and held it in place. The farther it stuck forward, the faster I moved. To turn, I rotated my shoulder one way or the other. It seemed a lot like I was doing the Hokey Pokey at first, but after a few minutes it was pretty natural.

The rest of the interactions followed logical gestures, such as opening a door by pushing into it or snagging one of the game's 40 weapons by holding my hand over the icon. Similar icons highlight points of interest, such as doors that can be opened or areas that might need extra attention.

Victor has been hard at work with his experiments, and the results look like something pulled straight out of Silent Hill. Zombie-like creatures lurched out at me, with rib cages inside out and other bizarre modifications. I started out beating them with a pipe, but graduated to brass knuckles, before settling on a chainsaw. Combat is intuitive; punch ahead or sideways, and your onscreen hands will mimic the motion. To block, you hold your arms up. Combat is comically excessive, with enemies falling apart after getting punched, and being reduced to gory puddles after chainsaw attacks. It's pretty silly, but it's also quite satisfying.

The demo I played had a few light puzzle elements, such as fishing a key out of a blood-filled toilet and using it to unlock a door. I'm curious to see how much deeper they get as the game progresses. Apparently Victor has taken a special shine to Josh's wife after learning she's pregnant, so time is particularly critical.

Rise of Nightmares is a Kinect exclusive due out in September.

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Rise of Nightmares

Xbox 360
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