Review: Child of Eden

Tetsuya Mizuguchi, best known the rhythm-based shooter “Rez” has released his newest creation, and in a way I guess you could call it a sequel. Child of Eden, the latest rhythm shooter is allows players to pick up the controller, but more importantly it supports Xbox 360 Kinect.

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Project Lumi is nearly completed and it’s under attack from a virus; it’s up to you to stop the virus and purify the code and save Project Lumi.  Almost completely identical to the gameplay in Rez, players in Child of Eden are thrust into a digital world full of surreal visions and designs. The primary difference is obviously the fact that this game has been built from the ground up to support high-definition graphics which allow for a much more vivid and colorful world this time around.

Gameplay is quite similar to Rez in the sense that the game is an on-rails shooter. You get the choice of using either the Xbox 360 controller or you can be the controller yourself and navigate through the game using Kinect.  Admittedly, Kinect doesn’t have the best track record for precision and response time, but for a fast-paced game like Child of Eden I was quite impressed at its effectiveness.

From the moment I loaded up the main menu, Kinect seems to be 100% responsive in selecting an archive to load up, and I didn’t seem to have any trouble. Each level or archive is broken into sections and some of them a little heavy on enemy presence that Kinect players may not be able to lock on and take down everything before they leave the screen. However, you can still reach a pretty high level of success using Kinect, and practice could very well lead to 100% purification in each of the five archives.

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Each hand offers a different weapon in the game and some enemies are more susceptible to different weapons.  Your right hand gives you the classic lock-on weapon and allows you to lock onto up to eight enemies at once while your left hand offers a repeater-style gun that constantly fires shots. You can’t actually use both at once and you’ll need to put your hand straight down at your side to use the opposite weapon. There’s not a ton of effort required to play the game with Kinect, but you’ll encounter a few instances where the tracking could definitely be a little speedier and tighter.

Using a controller feels right at home for the game, but I have one major disappointment regarding it… no controller rumble. Rez offered it and it was a fantastic little extra to be able to feel the controller pulsate with each beat in the game. Even without that small extra, the game delivers everything you’d expect with perfect accuracy once you get a handle on the analogue sensitivity.  Each trigger controls its respective weapon and when you have it you can activate Euphoria using a face button or by raising your hands in the air with Kinect, and it will purify everything on screen.

As I mentioned the game offers five levels known as ‘archives’ to play through. It’s a small number but if you plan on reaching 100% purification in each level, you won’t be doing it on your first attempt. The game is all about learning patterns and knowing what’s coming next – and your first time through you’ll find yourself focusing more on the world around you. Visually, Child of Eden is a like a dream. The magnificent blend of colors mixed with the electronica styled tunes can help you get lost in the game. Everything is just so surreal and you don’t know what to expect next in its digital reality – but at no point will you find yourself disappointed in the design.

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The soundtrack is pretty cool and was created by Genki Rockets who’s made up of mostly mystery artists, but Tetsuya Mizuguchi is said to be a known producer of the soundtrack.  The soundtrack isn’t really memorable, but as I mentioned you can find yourself immersed in the music during the game itself. Each of the tracks will last 10-20 minutes which sets the game to be around two hours long, but it’s the type of title you replay while constantly trying to top your high score.

Child of Eden is title that all fans of Rez and rhythm-based games should enjoy. It’s great to have the option for Kinect or a controller and of course PlayStation Move when the game releases later this year on the PS3. Regardless of the control method you choose, the game is a blast to play and you can find the title for as little as $30 if you search around. It may not be perfect, but Child of Eden definitely sets a new standard of quality for future Kinect-enabled titles. I can only imagine what Child of Eden will feel like with the precision of PlayStation Move later this year.

COE offers the choice of controllers or Kinect, and it's quite responsive either way. Gameplay is fun and you get better as you learn the enemy patterns. Lacks controller rumble feature though, disappointing.
Gorgeous worlds with amazing particle effects and surreal designs - you never know what's coming as you play the game.
The electronica soundtrack is enjoyable as you play the game, but it's not a memorable tune you can keep as a memory when you're finished.
8.5Final Score


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