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Child of Eden turns Rez's nightmare into a dream. Everything, from the Kinect controls to the visuals and music is designed to transport you to another place. However, the question is whether Child of Eden can find the audience it rightly deserves.
If any game stayed with me while I wasn't playing it Rez did. At its height I'd close my eyes and see the stream of beats and swirling colours of its usual gameplay. As you might imagine, I'm more than a little excited about Child of Eden, the spiritual motion controlled successor to Rez.
Like Rez, Tetsuya Mizuguchi uses this as another opportunity to side step traditional genres. Child of Eden is as much about creating an experience as it is a videogame. Underneath it all it is more a game than anything else, but the various layers built around this are as engaging as any play mechanic.
At its heart, Child of Eden is a beautiful on rails shooting game. The game directs you forwards so that all you have to do is shoot the viruses which have corrupted Eden.
It can be played with either Kinect or Move (available in September), but is notably not available on the Wii for what I imagine must be audiovisual limitations. This motion input enables you to interact with the game as if you are conducting a symphony.
Child of Eden really penetrates your psyche as the music and rhythm meld with the shooting gameplay.
Like Rez, Child of Eden really penetrates your psyche as the music and rhythm meld with the shooting gameplay. You stand in front of the camera and make a simple series of motions. One hand represents your gun while the other can reach for a Vulcan autofire cannon. Alongside these gestures you can motion to collect ammunition, throw objects at enemies and clap hands to switch guns. You can also use your other hand as your Vulcan cannon with auto-fire shots.
This all sounds quite staid, but as you play the game it uses these simple elements to create an experience that builds into something entrancing. While the Kinect and Move controls are optional, it is in the combination of gestures, music and motion that the magic really happens.
While I used to close my eyes and still see Rez playing in my mind, what remains about Child of Eden after playing is the feel of it all. Even thinking about it now I want to extend my arms and sore with the music, homing in on the next power up or collectable
What remains about Child of Eden after playing is the feel of it all.
This holistic approach to the overall aesthetic even goes as far as offering sensory feedback with the option to connect extra controllers to produce haptic stimulation to enhance the audio and visual experience. This will no doubt remind some of the much maligned, but intriguingly engaging, Rez vibration pack.
Although Q? Entertainment's included the option to play with the joypad, once you have experienced this on Kinect you are unlikely to reach for them. In fact this may be the first game I simply couldn't imagine playing without Kinect. It will be interested to see how the PlayStation 3 Move experience matches this when it is released in September.
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