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D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die makes Kinect exciting again

by Andrew Yoon, Sep 23, 2013 8:00am PDT

Although Kinect is bundled with every Xbox One, Microsoft hasn't made a very compelling argument for how it will benefit gamers. Sure, Kinect voice commands have the potential to be cool, but where are the games? Well, here's one: D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die.

The upcoming cel-shaded adventure from Deadly Premonition director Hidetaka Suehiro ('Swery65') doesn't require Kinect. However, it's precisely the kind of game that's clearly made better by motion controls.

D4 has you playing as David Young, a detective gifted with the ability to time travel after his wife is murdered. Using his new "Memento" ability, he goes through the past with only one lead: a drug lord known as "D" is somehow responsible. "I have to find the killer so I can change the past and be with her in a different future," he says in one of the game's opening moments.

In spite of the grim setup, the tone is recognizably Swery. Deadly Premonition fans will find themselves in familiar territory here. However, the gameplay is refreshingly different.

Suehiro says that the game was designed with popcorn in mind. You'll want to sit down, bucket of popcorn ready, and eat along as you play the game. With Kinect, you won't even get the controller dirty with your greasy buttered-up hands.

The game is essentially a point-and-click adventure, with players using their hand as a virtual cursor. However, there's one crucial improvement that Xbox One's upgraded sensor brings: you simply close your hand in order to select objects. (No more hovering over a space as in the previous generation!)

D4 will often have you mimicking the on-screen action, whether it's opening a door or swinging a baseball bat. You'll even have to use your voice in conversations. For example, in the demoed level, David runs into an attractive female flight attendant, knocking her down. Three options appear at the bottom, some more egregious than the others. You must use your voice to select an option.

Using your body and voice to act out these over-the-top scenarios only adds to the fun. Even activating "vision" mode to get a hint is hilarious: you have to touch your temples with both hands, Professor X-style. Once you do, the screen goes blue, and interactive objects are highlighted.

If you so wish, D4 can be played without Kinect. But, why would anyone want to deprive themselves of the engrossing body-humor that Suehiro employs? Some may write off the gameplay as "gimmicky," but maybe that's exactly what Kinect needs right now.





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