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Child of Eden
Child of Eden

PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360
Genre: Action Players: 1 to 0
Developer: Q Entertainment Official Site: http://www.childofedengame.c...
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date:
16th June 2011
Child of Eden

Genre: Action
Players: 1 to 0
Developer: Q Entertainment
Official Site: http://www.childofede...
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date:
16th June 2011
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Child of Eden Review
Review By @ 11:34am 27/06/11
When Tetsuya Mizuguchi produced Rez 10 years ago, the way it wove the gameplay of a simple rails shooter into a layered soundscape was revolutionary. Since then, we’ve seen a few other games that have forged a close relationship between audio and action, but Mizuguchi’s latest project represents a refinement of the basic concepts that started it all.

Child of Eden is both thematically and mechanically near-identical to Rez. The game takes place within Eden, the digital system that was the setting of the first game. Here, it’s presented as a depersonalised archive of all humanity’s knowledge - a kind of futuristic Internet, though devoid of trolls and cat photos. The game’s story is a single concept rather than a progressive narrative, and it’s classic Mizuguchi: defeat the viruses which have infected Eden, in order to save an AI reproduction of the first child born in space, named Lumi. Lumi also happens to be the fictionalised frontwoman of Genki Rockets, the group that performs all the music in the game, but even with that knowledge the game never feels like a cheesy music video or promotional tie-in. The soundtrack’s style can be best described as vocal trance, but it won’t matter whether you’re a fan of the genre - the game is less about listening to the music than incorporating it as a single element in the overall synaesthetic experience.

Broken down to the basics, it’s easy to make the game sound unappealing: it’s a rails shooter with no sense of character progression, and five main levels that you can fly through in an hour or two. But describing it in those terms is utterly missing the point; Child of Eden is designed around the principle of synaesthesia, a neurological phenomenon where someone’s perception of one sense is linked to another, such as seeing sounds or tasting colours. While it’s impossible for most people to experience synaesthesia in the truest sense of the word, Child of Eden seeks to engage as many of your senses as possible in a harmony that’s ultimately more satisfying than the sum of its parts.

Where Rez’s spartan wireframe-heavy art style was obviously evocative of its technological setting, Child of Eden’s visuals often have a more organic feel that makes the most of the leap in consoles’ graphical capabilities since its predecessor. The abstract and the familiar are blended into a vibrant, mesmerising world, and each of the game’s levels has a very distinct feel to it. As enemies appear, you can take them down with one of two weapons: one locks onto up to eight targets at once, and releasing the button in time with the beat of the music will maintain a combo for a higher score; the other is a rapid-fire weapon that’s needed to damage certain enemies and shoot their projectiles out of the air. It’s possible to use either a regular controller (up to four of which can be set to vibrate in time with different parts of the music) or the Kinect to navigate the levels, and the motion controls are unexpectedly the more enjoyable way to play.

Clever design means the most efficient way to wipe out enemies is through movements that feel incredibly fluid and natural, giving the player the impression that they’re conducting a gorgeous orchestra of death. There’s still a slight lag when using Kinect, but it’s much less noticeable than in the launch titles and the controls only really feel clunky when moving the camera around. Having the camera and reticule movement mapped to the same hand can initially feel disorienting to those who are used to twin-stick shooters, but the issue subsides as you become more familiar with the enemy patterns and realise that large camera movements are rarely necessary.

If you’re the kind of player who needs a constant stream of new content, Child of Eden may disappoint with its length, but the game does make some efforts to keep things feeling fresh. The aesthetics of the levels shift subtly on subsequent runs depending on how well the player has done, and you can also unlock a few visual filters to put a whole new spin on things. For those who enjoy the aural side of the game, there’s also a bit of mileage in playing in the “Feel Eden” mode where you’re invulnerable and free to play around with the different audio filters and sound effects available. But even without those tools, the superb design and incredible visuals provide more than enough reason to continue to return to a game that’s the best reason so far to own a Kinect.
What we liked
  • The uplifting experience of synaesthesia
  • Visually stunning
What we didn't like
  • You can blow through all the content in a couple of hours
  • A few control quirks with Kinect
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Reverend Evil
Posted 12:13pm 27/6/11
That looks really cool and the music sounds great. Is there anything else sorta like this on xbox that you can use the Kinect thingy with?
Posted 12:15pm 27/6/11
There was a vibrator attachment for Rez, I'm not kidding. I doubt something like that would happen again lol.
Posted 06:35pm 27/6/11
Looks cool but I heard it was really short, like 2 hours or something
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