Developer: Q Entertainment
ESRB rating: Everyone 10+
Release date: Available now
In 2001, a game called Rez was released for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. It featured an on-rails experience with amazing sound effects and a sound track that changed based on what you were doing. 2011’s Child of Eden, created by Rez designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, is a prequel of sorts that features many of the same gameplay and sound effects. Is Child of Eden, developed by Q Entertainment, worth the trip, or does it skip a beat?
Child of Eden tells the story of the creation and salvation of artificial intelligence program, Lumi. Lumi was once a girl born in space who longed to feel and experience Earth. Long after she died, her memories and feelings were programmed into Eden which is an Internet archive of all human life. Shortly before Project Lumi is completed, Eden is infected by viruses that threaten to destroy all of the knowledge it possesses. The goal is to purify all of the archives and save Project Lumi.
The campaign in Child of Eden is broken into archives. The five archives are Matrix, Evolution, Beauty, Passion, and Journey. Each archive features a different theme from human existence and the viruses in each level take on different forms to match the environment. Completing an archive awards a star rating, which is used to unlock other archives. Upon completion of an archive, the player is also awarded a trophy. These trophies are purified viruses from the completed archive that will float around the screen on the game’s menu. Though the campaign features only five levels, it offers replayability by making the player repeat levels to earn more stars and unlock more trophies.
Child of Eden, like Rez before it, is an on-rails shooter. It can be controlled using either a standard 360 controller or by utilizing Kinect. Both control styles work well enough, but they offer very different experiences. Using a controller is more precise, but it makes the game feel less immersive. Using the Kinect to map your hand movements, on the other hand, makes the game more challenging and more entertaining. The game features three weapons: a lock on laser, a rapid fire laser, and a smart bomb called Euphoria that clears the screen. When using the Kinect, your right hand controls the lock-on laser, your left hand controls the rapid fire, and raising both your hands in the air activates Euphoria.
Child of Eden is an incredible visual and aural experience. The level and virus designs fit the game perfectly, and the music is incredible. Like Rez, the player’s actions alter the sound track, adding new sounds and effects as viruses are purified. The game has great replayability, and there are tons of unlockables, including music videos and alternate gameplay settings. The campaign itself is pretty quick, and I finished all five archives in about three hours of playtime. Also, the last level was disappointingly easy, which was a letdown after playing through the challenging stages before it.
Long story short, if you liked Rez, you will love Child of Eden. It offers a fantastic experience and the Kinect controls make it feel incredibly immersive. For those of you who haven’t played Rez, this is definitely a game worth checking out, particularly if you have a Kinect. The game is alright with a regular controller, but it shines when you are standing in front of the TV, waving your hands across the screen, making it easily one of the best Kinect experiences out there.