Child of Eden Preview

  • By: CM Boots-Faubert
  • Posted 20th Apr 2011

Child of Eden

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The first five minutes of play as we demo'd Child of Eden were plagued with a very strong feeling of Déjà vu -- it was impossible to shake, but our conviction that this was a new title and that we had not played if before nearly overpowered the rational side of the brain that said, in effect, yes we had.

Thinking back I did not recall seeing Child of Eden at the last E3 -- that does not mean it was not there it just means we did not see it there -- which was when Peter reminded me that we had in fact played this before. At the Tokyo Game Show.

The realization was a relief -- it is not good to think you are going crazy -- and just when I was settling down to start drinking it in again, a bloke in line leaned in and said: or you could be thinking of Rez."

Bam! I was.

Child of Eden is a rhythm action game that was created by the famous and much respected Japanese game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who I hasten to add is best known for his game Rez . Child of Eden was not simply influenced by Rez, it is its sequel, and considering the pure fun factor of Rez that is a very cool thing.

The game has players shoot at various targets which produce melodic sounds as they are destroyed, while creating intensely fascinating patterns.

The word is that its development for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is heavily influenced by its compatibility with Kinect and Move, though it is fully functional with the standard game controllers as well... A few weeks ago Mizuguchi announced that he had developed a unique corset peripheral for the game, which featured four controllers -- all of which vibrated to the game music -- but the special controller is not planned for general sale to the public, and currently only exists at the Q Entertainment studios.

Calling this a music rhythm game is a bit misleading, because it was designed as a shooter -- the sort of shooter that your mom could enjoy!

An experiment on synesthesia that integrates sound, vision, and touch in one seamless experience, the game features music with a decided New Age influence, which works well with the basic plot of the game, which centers around the player defeating a virus that could infect the human personality AI that is at the core of Project Lumi, the AI contruct in which Rez -- and now Child of Eden -- takes place.

Game Play
With play that is very similar to that of Rez, the game revolves around shooting various objects that come onto the screen -- the destruction of which produces musical effects as well as interesting imagery. This is very difficult to describe in writing, but if you watch the video above you will get a much better idea of what we are talking about.

Gamers can switch between the same lock-on aiming system used in Rez, or a cannon that shoots a flowing stream of shells. With Kinect the gamer can aim using their hands and clap to change weapons, which transforms the game into something very unique and different from what it plays like using traditional game pads.

If you gathered the impression that everything in the screen is a target with the potential to hurt you, that is not entirely accurate. Intermixed with the targets are healing objects, and once you find your groove the targets and resulting music tend to increase the temp and your heartbeat at the same time, making an easy transition from a relative calm to a frenetic blast in just a few minutes of play.

If we had to think of a game concept that was perfect for demonstrating the motion-aware controller setup that is Kinect, we could hardly improve on Child of Eden, and while the game can be played with the standard controllers, we would be remiss if we did not encourage you to use Kinect instead, because it really adds to the game play experience immensely.

If we are remembering the time line right, Child of Eden went into development long before Kinect was made available to studios with the notion of integrating its control scheme into games -- which is actually hard to believe in this case, because it means that Mizuguchi somehow imagined the first Kinect game before Kinect existed!

Our demo lasted less than 15 minutes, but in that time we managed to take the song within which we played from what seemed like a waltz to a ripping lambada, all the while wondering how much more fun this would be with a few glasses of wine...

As the game unfolds you start to develop your own strategy, working away at the layers of shapes until you expose the more substantial bits hidden beneath, and then you go in for the kill and smash the invader with a happy bomb -- yeah, I know, you have no clue what that means...

Suffice it to say that once you get your hands on this one, you are going to need to pace yourself if you are using the Kinect as we suggest, because the addictive quality of Child of Eden could easily see you spending way more time -- and energy -- on this game than is probably good for you.

Child of Eden is set to release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on June 14th -- and if you want to prepare for release day, it might be an idea to pick up a copy of Rez!

Official Title: Child of Eden
Developing Studio: Q Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: June 14th, 2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 / PS3
Genre: Music Rhythm
Ratings: TBA