Thursday 16 June 2011

Today's Review: Child Of Eden

Child Of Eden is an interesting game. If you've played Rez then you'll know what to expect, because this is pretty much a sequel to that. Let me explain what it's about. You basically fly through corridors and large areas shooting things. Sounds boring? Hell no, because Child Of Eden is probably one of the most beautiful looking games I've played. The idea behind it is one of synaesthesia, where all the senses can be incorporated into the gaming experience. Except for taste and smell, because licking your TV while trying to detect odours would probably be a bit much to ask.

But, the other three senses are well accommodated for. Each level is based around a track or set of tracks, seamlessly flowing into each other as the environment changes. The enemies are always changing as well, from small flying blips to massive sparkly blue whales, and when each one is hit or explodes it adds beats to the music, giving you a unique listening experience each time.

The story (if you can call it a story), is that in the future mankind has grown far larger than ever before, and their one focal point of learning is the internet, where all of humanity's knowledge is stored, and which can be accessed from any point in the universe. Therefore the internet is called Eden, because. Then there's some stuff about the internet having a baby or something, I don't know, I wasn't quite wanting to read stuff, I wanted to have my senses assaulted. Well, the child of the internet wakes up in a beautiful meadow, before everything dissolves around her and seemingly you have to fly around and blow shit up to restore it. Which doesn't make much sense either. But, on to the game.

Your main control point is a reticle that can move around the screen, to target whatever it is that needs destroying. You have two weapons at your disposal, one being a target guided laser thingy, and the other being more like a purple machine gun laser thingy. You have to change your weapon in order to deflect any bullets that get launched at you, or to kill whatever launched it at you. It adds a certain element of strategy to the game, but mostly it just adds to the crazy amount of lights and colours that are flying around the screen at any one time.

Each level is unique. The first level starts off inside some kind of computer realm, with blocks folding and building before your eyes, but you quickly move onto a peaceful water level where enemies burst into purple flowers on the surface. Whichever direction the visuals take, it's a wonder to behold. At most times the amount of stuff flying around and making pretty noises screen can be utter chaos, but it's a beautiful chaos.

I've told you about the sights and sounds, but where does the touch come in? Sure, you get vibrations through the controller, but the real way to experience Child Of Eden is with Kinect. Since the controls are quite simple they're pretty easy to transfer to your arms. Your right arm controls one gun, your left arm the other. Being able to basically point at stuff and have it be destroyed really absorbs you into the game, and the targeting is much more fluid than with a controller. There is a downside, however, with the main weapon. You swipe your arms over enemies in order to target them, but to fire you need to push your hand forward in quite a quick motion. This easily gets very tiring and almost painful, as you have to jar your arm forward every couple of seconds in order to not die horribly. But I applaud Child Of Eden for giving it the Kinect support. Microsoft have been promising that Kinect will be used in proper games, not just fitness and minigame crap, and Child Of Eden is a big step towards trying to associate with real gamers, showing that Kinect can be incorporated into things that aren't complete and utter crap.

Child Of Eden is a beautiful game. You really need to see it in action to appreciate it. While there are only five stages in the game in total, the scenes change every time you play, and there's enough stuff flying around the screen that I really didn't mind playing through the same level again and taking in all the sights and sounds. Besides, it's a Japanese arcade game, it's bound to be short and require several playthroughs, that's what they do over there. We have other games to tell us epic stories and make us trudge around collecting items for hours, but if you want a game that is a true piece of art, Child Of Eden is for you.

My rating: 4/5

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