Swery65 brought us Deadly Premonition, so you know D4 is going to be weird. In fact, Swery told me that he drafted six or seven different stories to work on next and in his partnership with Microsoft, went with the "most bizarre."
While the new, Kinect-free Xbox One means the team has had to add controller support -- which Swery says is also very good thanks to a lot of work -- Swery says the Kinect is still the way to go, so that's the way I went.
D4 (Dark Dreams Don't Die) plays like an adventure game with motion controls. It's a lot like the recent The Walking Dead, except without free movement. You can reach out towards footprint icons on screen with an open hand and effectively "grab" them (close your hand) to move spots. You can also swipe away left or right at the screen to rotate perspective. You can at times move your head and torso to adjust the camera as well, like while you're looking in the mirror.
I was started in protagonist David Young's home. You have a stamina meter in the top left corner and interacting with things, like flushing toilets, uses up some of the gauge. In a pretty lengthy examination of his abode, it didn't seem near to running low, so I'm not sure if the cap will become strenuous at all.
You can also put both your hands to your head to activate an internal monologue which acts as a sort of hint system and will direct David to something he needs to interact with to start pushing things along. In this case, it was a file on his wife's murder. He can't remember all the details around it, only that his wife told him to search for "D." 4D also references time, and the trauma has given David a limited time-hop ability that activates under certain conditions.
All of that is the sort of set up. The rest? The rest is Swery. He has said that his main inspiration for his games are his own life and experiences.
Later in the demo I met Amanda. The heterochromatic, bunny-eared blonde was frantically trying to (and successfully does) break into the apartment. The game goes into a combat scenario as she bursts in and you do various swipes and movements to try and corral her, which was surprisingly trying for me only because I made the ill-advised decision to try and spend the day before E3 playing pick-up basketball.
After you catch all the dishware thrown at you and the "fight" winds down, I realize Amanda has had a mouse in her mouth all this time. She "just started living with us one day," David's internal monologue explains. "Sometimes she helps with the groceries." The text under her name reads "Freeloader/Grocery Shopper?"
Once you get over the weird barrier of remembering how the Kinect and motion controls work, D4 is actually surprisingly polished. In what I played, the motion controls also felt a bit more interesting for the otherwise mundane actions the game wants you to be a participant in. It gives it a little more energy than, say, the simpler Walking Dead interaction mechanics.
For all the flying coffee mugs, there are also prompts to draw a line with a pen or grab a remote to turn on the TV. If D4 is going to live in this minutia and be more about the story, I think I'd be fine with playing with the Kinect. But if not, controller support is there now, too.
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