Weapons: Basic melee weapons are available to you such as crowbars and clubs. But there are more than a few tools for use here. There are machetes, hatchets (these can be thrown and picked up again after hitting, this is very useful). Knuckledusters, scalpels, and the best weapon bar one, a chainsaw! This is used by miming the movement of using it and it's very very easy to use all of these.
A little more complicated to use is the Azoth, a device that can burn through obstacles and project street fighter style fire balls at your enemies. This is a little trickier to use but you will soon get the hang of it. It has 6 'shots' so to speak. But if you use them all, watch the HUD and you will know when it's ready to go again.
Enemies: zombies, simples. But there are different types so be wary of them. Some are slow and shambling, but some spew or spit venom/acid and some will run at you and explode! Watch out for the siren as well. These 'ladies' scream so be prepared to cover your ears (Literally!) and then there's Ernst himself.
He wears a helmet and visor and can only see you when the visor is open. But when it's closed he can of course, still sense you and hear you so now we have to get stealthy. This takes timing and patience but the time will come when you have to face him and other boss creatures. Time your attacks and watch out for the prompts that will warn you when to dodge. As for best weapons and tactics? That's for you to find out for yourself. OK that's the meat and gravy what about the trimmings?
Graphics: Functional with a suitably grainy movie like texture to the presentation. Colours are muted so it looks a little like an old Hammer horror movie. Water and other environments are well animated and lighting is suitably moody. The interior of the castle is a little grey and perhaps bland but then again it seems to suit the setting. I don't think the criticism's I have seen aimed at the graphics in some forums are all deserved.
Sound: Very eerie and atmospheric. It's no Dead Space though but what you have works well enough for me.
Music: Again atmospheric enough but lacks some impact for me.
Gameplay: OK for the most part it's easy to get to grips with and is responsive. Combat is intuitive and is quite satisfying in it's own way. As you by now have read, there are many tools of the trade at your disposal but there are..no I am getting a little ahead of myself.
Next come the pro's and the cons. Brace yourself...
Cons: I have to go here first I really really do. This game really is a prime example of imbalanced controls and gameplay. When not prompted some movements are easy to do, in fact they can be done by accident. But sometimes you need to do an act as prompted on the screen by a message under an icon.
Crouch simple enough. No problem.
Use a lever, again easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Running: When not prompted this is easy as pie. No it is. Just move your foot further forward to run, stop by bringing feet level with each other. But when you need to do it and I mean NEED to do it like escaping the sinking train at the start, then be prepared to see the YOU ARE DEAD message again, and again and again. There's an icon sure, and if the move is executed then the icon will turn gold but it simply goes against what is stated in the manual. Do you wait for the Icon to go gold? No, hang on too long the icon goes red and you get swept overboard. Move before it changes colour and you stay exactly where you are. So is it one move to run? Two or three in rapid succession? I have no clue. I made it across the train after lord knows how many attempts to do so and that was by accident. I was moving forward to switch the console off and eject the disc and voila I was across the train!
I am now likewise stuck again on another section that needs running. This time to avoid a mechanical trap. And I have died again and again and again...
Stealth mode is also problematical. Just the slightest movement will alert Ernst when you need to avoid him. So stay still. I mean really really still. If you are also not that careful with the positioning of your left hand, you can find yourself being taken back to the save/load menu. I have done this a few times, trying to do other more actions that are relevant to the character's survival rate.
It's also a shame that with the range of a Kinect sensor that somebody didn't see fit to include a two player co-op mode? A missed opportunity there for sure I feel.
Pros: The gameplay is for the most part responsive. Combat is visceral and satisfying and there is a sense of satisfaction when a goal is achieved. The game does sometimes help you along and hinders at others (see above). The action flows at a reasonable pace and lets you get your breath back when needed before the chills come again.
Summary: This game is best described as a case of swings and roundabouts. When it needs to it delivers a satisfying experience but at the next turn throws frustration in your face. I wouldn't mind but it's in unequal measures. This may well be an indication as to how Kinect games may go in the future, but if so then please someone make sure that the control interface is clearer and more user friendly. Is that too much to ask? I think someone at Sega or several someone's to be honest, missed the boat and I can't help but feel that some bugs were missed before the game got released. Maybe a patch Sega to fix the running problem? Or a clearer explanation as to what to do in the manual.
My advice, try BEFORE you buy. This game could and should deliver in spades. It does not. But it does have it's moments so I urge you to try this on a rental basis first. I feel a patch is needed or a clearer manual. The score reflects my opinion of the game as it stands now. If it gets patched and the run problem is negated then I'd happily rescore it.