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Rise of Nightmares Preview

Alex_Chelini By:
GENRE Horror 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes

What do these ratings mean?

A love story of a man’s dedication to his wife, with zombies.

So far, most Kinect games have been remarkably family-friendly or fitness-oriented. Incorporating exercise into video games is a great idea, but can you think of anything that will get you moving faster and more frantically than hordes of the undead? I’ll take that over Zumba any day, thanks.

The premise for Rise of Nightmares is simple: survive a night fighting off (sometimes barehanded) terrifying and aggressive creatures in order to find and hopefully save your wife. No biggie, right? There’s plenty of blood, terror, weapon choices, and suspense. The horror-genre-and-motion-sensor combo is a winning one, especially when you find weapons like the “meat grinder”. It’s a special moment when you feel as if you might actually be shredding the undead to pieces rather than just holding a controller.

Speaking of controls, it’s easy to get into swing of things. Truth be told, part of the fun is panicking and forgetting the controls, followed by spinning, punching, and slashing in every direction to no avail (is that the Kinect equivalent of button-mashing?). There’s a good balance of how much you need to move in order to actually play, so there isn’t any excessive running in place or rapid dodging. Timing is of importance, though, so it’s not a good idea to get lazy (unless you like seeing the “You are dead” message a lot).

One thing I found surprising—the Kinect apparently works fantastically even in nearly pitch-black environments. There really isn’t any other way to play a horror-survival game, so that’s a major plus. On the off-chance that you live under a rock where you rarely encounter an Xbox 360 (such as myself), I thought this was definitely worth pointing out. Another bonus—in such dim lighting, no one will see you flailing in terror.

Most importantly, there’s the undead fan service. Among the various nasty enemies, there are ever-lovable sexy zombie nurses, as well as some unique and dangerous ballet dancers. I particularly liked seeing up the undead dancers' pancake tutus as they attempted to maim and destroy. If you’re not into ladies, there’s decaying dudes as well, but they aren’t the kind of guys you’d see on the cover of GQ. Maybe I’ll write to Sega about this matter.

Though Rise of Nightmares has many of the typical trappings of a horror game, there’s fresh meat to be enjoyed here. The motion-sensor aspect isn’t gimmicky, and the overall experience is engaging. And in the end, it serves as slightly better “training” for a zombie apocalypse than sitting on the couch with a controller in hand.

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