Every now and again in the Gaming industry we get the chance to see something new. If you thought motion sensing technology was a factor before Xbox’s kinect, you were wrong. Throw those motion sensing controllers in the trash! Gotgame was lucky enough to be invited to a Rise of Nightmares showcase, where we were able to play the first level of the game, the E3 demo, and fight the first boss. For clarity’s sake what we were shown was from different sections of the game, not just one chapter. For those of you who don’t know, Rise of Nightmares is an upcoming first person survival horror title by Sega, coming exclusively to the Xbox Kinect, with a motion detection control scheme that puts motion detecting controllers to shame.
The game is being made by the same team that made the House of the Dead games, and it shows. Rise feels like a logical successor to the House games, borrowing the style and feel of the old titles, but updating the graphics, story, and of course, control scheme. You find yourself in Eastern Europe, and what seemed to be a vacation quickly descends into madness as a seven foot tall “scientist” thing kidnaps your girlfriend Donkey Kong style and unleashes hordes of nightmarish zombies to destroy you. Yeah, the whole rescue the girlfriend thing may seem a little stale, but the game doesn’t. You’re not just fighting zombies, you’re fighting steam punk altered zombies with mechanical arms that end in knives, beasts sewn together from human and animal parts, and other crazy humanoid looking zombies with special powers, like banshees or acid-spitters.
After the kidnapping you find yourself in the mansion of the demented sorcerer/doctor villain, which is filled with his terrifying creations. We’re talking dark basements, sewers, dark woods, and plenty of elaborate puzzles and traps. It’s like House of the Dead on steroids. The experience ended with the first mini-boss or bosses; a pair of zombie ballerinas that twirl kick you to death while making ballet jokes and insulting you. To beat them involved a coordinated duck and uppercut combo that was easy enough to figure out, and so I destroyed them.
The most innovative and amazing feature is of course the kinect based controls. This is beyond current motion sensing technology. Now, I like the feeling of a controller in my hands and I certainly don’t think the future of gaming is going to be all motion sensitive, just as I don’t believe 3D will be the future of movies, but the novelty of playing this game was enthralling. I didn’t have to touch anything. I stood about five feet from the kinect and the console and waited a few moments for the device to detect the player. To face right or left, all I had to do was turn my shoulders. To step forward, put one foot forward. To step back, one foot back. Bringing your arms up to a boxing position will result in the same happening on screen, and from that position you can block or attack (attack just by punching the air if unarmed). You can duck or crouch, resulting in the same happening on screen, jog in place to sprint, kick the air in front of you to kick open doors or barrels. And it all works. There was no frustrated screwing with the position of the kinect or anything of the sort, and I played on at least four different systems. It was fun. It was frightening. It had me sweating way harder than Wii fit ever could, since I was fighting for my life in a terrifying swarm of monsters.
The weapon selection in the sections of the game we played was limited to melee weapons except for the ability to pick up and throw volatile test tubes at zombies, which burns them. This is half design philosophy half practicality; the kinect can detect a throwing motion, a punching motion, a chop, or a swing, but not a trigger pull. And this game isn’t about neatly shooting zombies from a distance. It’s chainsaws, axes, mechanical zombie arms (yes, that is a weapon) and crowbars-which get you up-close and personal, as well as covered in gore.
Rise is definitely a next-step for motion controlled gaming. Is this the future of video games? I don’t know, and I think only time will tell.