22 Reviews

Child of Eden


For anyone who didn't play Rez, Child of Eden is going to be a hard one to pitch.

It's an on-rails shooter; let's start there because it's a room we're all familiar with. You've got your reticule, two 'weapons' - a lock on and homing attack, and what's best described as a rapid-fire pulse rifle - and you're moving through environments shooting enemies before they shoot back.

Is everyone still with us? Ok, good. Now, here's where it all gets completely Mizuguchi.

This time the environments aren't city streets, airports or military barracks they're beautifully relaxing psychedelic dreams in underwater, cosmic tunnels of light. The 'enemies' are, seemingly, anything Tetsuya Mizuguchi's mind can muster from glowing jelly-fish to wire-frame express trains.


If you can't quite picture what that might look like, you're on the right track. It's actually pointless to try and describe one of the visual experiences Child of Eden throws into your retinas. We could tell you about shooting glowing orange plates on a whale made of thousands of bright blue lights, swimming and turning through space before it transforms into a fiery red phoenix in a display that puts the Northern Lights to shame.

We could try and describe the giant, neon clock face that assembles itself in front of our eyes with its myriad of laser-lined mechanisms, or the "boss battle" that sees two colossal bodies of light racing down a wormhole. We could try and describe Child of Eden but it wouldn't be nearly enough to express the visual mastery that the game demonstrates.

Don't bother with Youtube either. Mainly because Child of Eden demands the big-screen, HD experience perhaps more than any other, but also because there's more at work here than soul window wizardry.

If there's anything competing with Child of Eden's visuals it's the thumping but somehow therapeutic trance soundtrack that has enough hooks to snare even those with the folkiest of musical bents. Then there's the tactile feedback of the controller (if you use one, which we'll get onto) completing the sensory assault. Rumbles pulse through your hands at key points in time with the music, increasing in intensity as a climax approaches (in-game) rallying your whole body for a big finale.

And still you don't have a full understanding of what Child of Eden does and how it does it. For that we apologise, our earthly writing ability can't match what feels like an unearthly game.

Rez fans, you're in a far better position thanks to your polygonal pilgrimage through Mizuguchi's wire-frame world back in 2002. Child of Eden is essentially Rez 2 brought up to modern day standards and given an original soundtrack. Of course, core Rez fans will tell you that the original has managed to maintain just as much appeal as it had ten years ago because of a timeless concept that relied more on creative ingenuity than chipsets and processing power (a HD update on XBLA helped too).


But, with modern day technology, that concept is literally able to blossom into something infinitely more striking. If Rez made do with creative visuals rather than graphical polish, Child of Eden boasts as much mesmerising imagery in a traditional sense as it does artistic vision in a way that hasn't been seen since its predecessor.

As with Rez, successful shooting contributes to the base track. Hitting a perfect combo at one point might add a short section of heavenly, female vocal. String a number of perfect combos together and the vocal segments will progress and follow on from each other. The rapid-fire weapon is a drum kit rather than an assault rifle, laying down an up-tempo beat whenever it's fired.

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