Rise of Nightmares

I bought a Kinect a while back because I wanted to play Happy Action Theater with my daughter, as well as Once Upon A Monster. Both games are pretty fun, and they use the Kinect in ways that work. The other Kinect games I’ve played, like the Wii Sports knockoff Kinect Adventures, are all universally terrible. The controls don’t work, or they don’t work well enough, or you just can’t get into the damn game because the UI is impossible to navigate while flailing your hands like an idiot in the space in front of your TV. My daughter wanted to use a different avatar than the boy character that Kinect Adventures auto selected for her, but the device wouldn’t read her movements correctly, wouldn’t allow me to stand in for her to make a selection (it tries to switch players using facial recognition or something), and also wouldn’t allow me to use the regular controller to navigate the UI for her. After she became frustrated to the point of tears we turned the damn thing off, and since then the Kinect has sat, inactive and unmoving, at the top of my TV (we play Wii Sports, which she can control easily, instead).

But you know, once you buy the thing, you start to think about using it every once in a while. This is the train of thought that eventually led to the purchase of Rise of Nightmares, an event which I almost immediately regretted. If you haven’t heard, Rise of Nightmares is a first person Kinect-based horror game in which you punch the lights out of zombies while standing in your living room. Here’s a pretty funny video to give you an idea of what playing this atrocity of a game is like.

Anyway, though I’m not very proud to say it, I completed Rise of Nightmares and wrote a short critique.

3 thoughts on “Rise of Nightmares

  1. You know when I first heard about this game I was kind of excited. I didn’t plan on getting a kinect and generally don’t have interest in motion games, but seeing them talk about trying something different with the addon was a sign maybe they were going to finally move into better territory with it and eventually create something that actually gives better immersion.

    and then people starting trying it out. and the general consensus is like yours.. almost unplayable because you are fighting the controls every moment.. ugh.

    I can’t see most Kinect games as much more than a massive gimmick. But at the same time I’ve seen you review games that are pretty simple, visually or only using 1 or 2 buttons for gameplay, that are actually successful as horror games go.. so I have to wonder why they haven’t made a game for the kinect that just WORKS. ne of the issues, with scary games at least, is the fact kinect needs a certain degree of light to properly detect and read the player, and scary games are ones you’d prefer to play with the lights off for better atmosphere… Maybe if a developer started selling their game with ‘kinect wear’, a line of clothing that optimises the kinect’s ability to scan the body. lol Then you could map colored markings on each limb and put markings on the torso or pants. the kinect sees the red right hand move towards the hip, weapon unholster. left hand thumps chest, heal. stuff like that. it may already seem to do that but it also seems like the kinect is always reading your silhouette rather than properly tracking limbs. I guess with a better system a horror game might work if they tuned it so that your actions were intuitive and worked with various elements to help raise the players heart rate and anxiety levels without cheap jump scares.

  2. When the first promotional materials for Rise of Nightmares hit the web, I was turned off by the “torture porn” vibe. Well, that and the whole Kinect thing. I don’t own a 360, but I played through Calling and Cursed Mountain on the Wii, and I struggled with the motion controls the entire time. From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty much the same deal with most Kinect games. Great concept, but the technology just isn’t there yet.

    Then again, even with excellent motion controls, it seems like there’s a number of challenges with the basic concept. Motion controls are supposed to improve immersion, but the nature of the technology and setup obviously can’t accommodate some actions. For instance: walking by putting your left foot forward, because you can’t just walk forward without bumping into your television. Or turning your head to move the camera, because then you’d look away from the screen.

    Swinging your arms to hit something directly in front of you, or reaching out to manipulate something right in your field of vision; those are actions that current motion controls can handle well (at least in theory). But the end result is half the player’s actions lining up with what’s happening on the screen, and the other half being kind of game-y and less immersive out of necessity.

    It’s completely subjective, I know, but I never felt less immersed in a classic Resident Evil game because I had to hold down the right trigger and press X to shoot, instead of raising my hands and pulling an imaginary trigger. Traditional control schemes are cool, and the idea of direct 1 to 1 control over your character through motion controls is also really cool, but the halfway point between them, which is what we’re dealing with right now, always seems to take me out of the game more than it should.

  3. I was turned off by the “torture porn” vibe.

    It’s pretty bloody but the whole thing is so ridiculous that it’s hard to take seriously. The game definitely isn’t intended to be taken seriously.

    From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty much the same deal with most Kinect games

    It’s like 1000x worse, as far as I can tell. I completed Cursed Mountain and complained about the motion controls not registering sometimes, but in Rise of Nightmares it’s like every other time.

    Motion controls are supposed to improve immersion,

    I think that’s the marketing pitch, but the real goal is to draw non-gamers to the system. Wii succeeded because its controller was easy for anybody to pick up and use. That’s the real reason to have this system if you are Microsoft.

    The big problem for “traditional” games is that I can’t actually do most of the things my game characters do. I’m not a karate master, I don’t own any guns. I can mimic the motion, I guess, but I’ll always be slower moving my arms than my thumbs. Not to say that it’s not viable, but I think the idea that you can just directly control your on-screen avatar with body movements is probably a dead end.

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