Xbox One Exclusive D4 TGS Hands-On – I Can’t Put My Arms Down!

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D4 (Dark Dreams Don't Die) is a cinematic point-and-click game for the Xbox One that follows the story of a man trying to track down his wife's killer. At the booth, I found out that its worldwide release date is September 19, so ah, a few hours from this writing. Urgency burning, I gave it a try.

This game is entirely controlled via Kinect [Edit: No, that was just the demo. The final game can use the controller. The booth attendant was incorrect], which is a double-edged sword. Most actions are performed using the player's hand as a cursor to swipe, grab, or touch things. A few special points also require specific body motions like pulling back a fist or swinging a baseball bat, while canceling an action requires both hands. The physicality of the movement gave action sequences some oomph without requiring too much torso motion.

Using touching, swiping and grabbing during the adventure sequences, however, is a chore. Something as simple as moving across a room requires a lot of precision, and Kinect didn't seem too good at detecting my closed fist. It also sounds silly, but holding up an arm for long periods of time can get tiring, and the game has things to grab even during cutscenes, so it never feels totally safe to put your arm down.

Even though one could draw comparisons between D4 and PS3's Heavy Rain — both plots deal with murder investigations and both games have point-and-click gameplay with QTE action sequences—D4 seems to have a tone all of its own. Its story cutscenes were very stylistic, not simply showing what is happening but making creative use of camera angles and staging scenes in a very cinematic way. It seems to yo-yo between serious and comically exaggerated; The "Adventure Demo" started with the main character brooding about solving his wife's murder, and ended with a fight with a rat-flinging cat-girl. Okay.

Meanwhile in the "Action Demo," the protagonist got into a fight on an airplane, and would dodge luggage thrown at his head, only to snag it from the air and flip it up neatly into an overhead bin, or tango a passenger back into her seat. It was both stupid and delightful. D4's graphics match the over-the-top style, with thick dark outlines reminiscent of comic books similar to shaders seen in the Borderlands series or The Walking Dead.

While a nifty idea, my own personal curse with touchscreens and cameras continues. To grab stuff, I had to hold my hand over an icon and then close my fist. I'd do this, giving myself a one-handed applause or signaling that the character was all "Blah blah blabbity blah" to onlookers, but get no results. This shit always happens to me. The guy was like "You have to close your hand," and I was like, "Yeah, can you not see me repeatedly doing that?"

D4 releases worldwide on September 19.