Child of Eden was originally announced back at E3 in 2010 at Ubisoft's press conference, now a year later Tetsuya Mizuguchi's new delve into gaming synesthesia is available on Xbox 360 and it comes very close to being the perfect successor to Rez. Visually, audibly and in terms of gameplay.
For any crazy people out there that haven't heard of Rez, it is one of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's amazing creations. Mizuguchi is the founder of Q? Entertainment; who have developed an array of great rhythmic focused games including two of my favourites; Lumines and Every Extend Extra Extreme. Q? Entertainment and Mizuguchi have dabbled in a few different types of games as well but his main calling is through music and sound and it really shines in all of his games.
Rez was released near the end of the Dreamcast's life (at least in the UK and America) which meant it had quite a limited release. Rez falls into the category of being a rare game on the Dreamcast, making it quite hard to source, however it was later released on the PS2, which made it a lot easier to get a hold of for fans. Then six years later Rez was ported to the Xbox 360 to make Rez HD, which allowed Mizuguchi's true vision of the game to be shown to all, in widescreen, at 720p really helps Rez come back to life.
Rez is an on rail shooter that follows a hacker who is trying to travel to Eden to give it a reboot, while destroying any viruses or firewalls that get in the way. This story is then accompanied with a lock-on shooting mechanic that allows you to deal with multiple viruses in concession, creating audio feedback determined on how you perform. Now this may not make sense for those that haven't played it, if you haven't I do recommend at least downloading the trial off the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace to see how it plays, however I recommend even more that you just buy the game as it's only 800 MS points.
So now you know a little about Rez, and I've told you to buy it, it's slightly easier to picture Child of Eden; similar to Rez you're thrown into the middle of chaos and have to cleanse all that is wrong within Eden; an archive of all of humanities memories. The story itself is conveyed through music and flashing imagery of Lumi herself.
So any players of Rez may immediately feel some familiarity between the first level Matrix, ignoring the introduction of a tutorial its very reminiscent of Rez's structural level layout and enemy placement within an enclosed claustrophobic space. However that will be almost the last that makes you think of Rez. Other than the similarity in gameplay of course, at the end of the tunnel you're given entry to what makes Child of Eden the engaging and wonderful experience that it is. If you don't feel all goosebumpy when you play Child of Eden, then you aren't playing it right, or perhaps you're a little dead inside.
Child of Eden introduces a new way to take on enemies; the default control layout will have you using your tracer with your left hand which is primarily used for taking out any creatures infected by a virus. This is conveyed through the colour purple, anything purple will be required to be attacked only with the Tracer, and this includes missiles and other projectiles coming towards you. Whereas every other enemy can be attacked with the Lock-on Laser this works exactly like the Rez, you can lock onto a maximum of eight targets by hovering over the entity and it just requires a flick of the wrist to unleash your attack. There is also an overdrive gauge which are once again picked up throughout the levels, but it's referred to as Euphoria, and you're required to throw both of your hands up in the air which then sends out a wave of shots, attacking anything in the area.
One aspect Child of Eden needs for the best experience is volume and lots of it, if you're not allowed to turn your speakers up loud due to neighbours or even family members you may be missing out as with a lack of volume or a crap set of speakers you won't get the same experience as everyone else.
One element that gave Rez players a reason to go back again and again, especially with the Xbox 360 version was the score attack mode. Sadly Child of Eden was lacking a score attack mode, giving you only high score tables for the archives within the story, which isstill acceptable but is only within the linear path of the story. What it does have though is an archive called Hope, which is unlocked when you finish the five main archives. Hope is a collection of 10 levels which get insanely hard to complete but are lots of fun and well worth the play. This is where you challenge all your friends to beat your high score, or try and try again to beat theirs.
Should you not own a Kinect bt still want to experience Mizuguchi's newest game, luckily they added in controller support so you can play sat down comfortably on the sofa. This of course makes it one of the only Kinect exclusive titles that doesn't penalise those who don't have access to a Kinect.
Child of Eden is an amazing experience which I never had an issues with while using Kinect, the only thing that ever messed it up was someone walking in front of me, but that's generally a given for any games. The execution is perfect and it stands proudly alongside Rez for an amazing experience of music and some good old shooting. The only aspect I am slightly disappointed with is the length of the game, although of course Rez was fairly short, the levels were just slightly more hardcore than what you play in Child of Eden. It made the experience feel a lot shorter and I hardly had any trouble playing through the archives. Of course I haven't completed it on hard so perhaps I should shut my mouth and attempt that instead.
Child of Eden can currently be bought for Xbox 360 and is fully Kinect compatible, or if you aren't an Xbox 360 owner you can always pick it up on Playstation 3 which also features Move support. Child of Eden was one of the first original Kinect announcements and we highly recommend any owners make sure to pick it up as it really makes good use of Microsoft's little accessory. You can pick up Child of Eden from anywhere between £30-£40 dependant on where you purchase it from. Or if you're a PS3 owner it goes for between £15-£20 on the internet.