Child of Eden: For Once the ‘Better with Kinect’ Tagline is True

Child of Eden is considered the “spiritual successor” to the game Rez. Which I was excited about when I first transitioned from being a Dreamcast gamer to owning a PS2 as well. I bought it the day it came out and promoted it’s wares to whomever would listen. It was the future of games as art and I was super excited about it but apparently I was mostly alone. It was a commercial failure for Sega and then the developers left to form their own company Q? Entertainment. After ten years, they have released a “sequel” which I bought on day one as well. This was also one of the bigger selling points to me to own Kinect at last years E3.

Things I liked:

Kinect! Regardless of the lack of a purple case, this is a Kinect game. Actually it might be the best one. It not only works well but after playing through the game with both Kinect and 360 controller methods, I found myself preferring the Kinect to shoot. It was just way easier to hover over slightly and then shoot. Surprised by my good fortune to have a reason to use my Kinect beyond dancing I was a little set back because I like to sit on my ass. It not only just works well though, it’s much better at bringing you into the experience.

FMV (Full Motion Video)! Put your hand up if you like FMV games? Ok so I’m probably the only one in the room with their hands up. But I love this stuff and it works so much better now that we’re in the HD generation. More developers should really take advantage of this tech now. Accompanied by the amazing settings, graphics and little details added to each stage it really stands out as a looker on your set. Once people get around the player looking kind of weird playing the Kinect, it really draws everyone in the game. Extra note: My girlfriend has two little sisters, age 7 and 9, I showed them stage 3 (Beauty) and they nearly went nuts. They loved it!

4th Stage (Passion)! In efforts to talk about this with out spoilers, this one will be rather vague. It’s the best stage. Actually it reminds me of my favorite stage from Rez which also happened to be the 4th stage, which was the “hard rock” stage for it. Not really so, in Child of Eden but it is the most upbeat and “hardcore” stage of the game.

Things I disliked:

1st Stage (Matrix)! When I first popped in the game, I was completely underwhelmed by this boring, hold your hand the entire way kind of stage. Even after you do finish it, it will always be a tutorial stage that pauses the action. On top of that the stage is the most lackluster in terms of eye candy and music. Once you beat the stage the game really opens up though. It’s a shame because it’s 1/6th of the entire game.

Sequel?! More like remake. This is Rez. It’s a prettier and kind of mellower Rez. I felt like I was playing what Mizuguchi wanted to release the first time with Rez. But if you’ve already played Rez some of the magic is kind of missing.

More yet Less! This is more an issue if you’ve played other Q? Entertainment games. It not only feels like it has recycled most of Rez but it takes quite a bit of it’s main content from other games they’ve made. (From this point on there are some MAJOR spoilers) For example if you’ve played Lumines. You already know what the last major song is, It’s Heavenly Star. Granted, it’s a great song and fits with the themes of the game very well. Also it’s a remix thanks to the gameplay that Child of Eden brings to the table. But thats also like Lumines in many ways. Then there is the last stage. Which is a complete let down after being a fan of Rez. It had this fantastic voyage through the history of the earth and mankind and our hopes and ambitions for the future. Then there was a boss run through all of the end bosses, plus a new really f’in hard one. Child of Eden just has a VERY easy boss run for it’s final stage. The only emotional strings that get pulled in playing through comes from the song Heavenly Star and the FMV of Lumi (the girl you’re saving) trapped inside Eden (the internet in the future). If you’ve never played any Tetsuya Mizuguchi game before, this is the one to play! You’ll get the whole experience here. There is a lot of content here, just it doesn’t feel like it when not much of it is new.

Final Thoughts:

I have a lot of mix feelings for this game. It’s not a bad game in any sense but I can’t help but compare it to previous games. It is the best game for Kinect and it’s a fantastic experience that really brings you into the game. Playing through I felt like I was going back to one of my favorite places to visit and seeing what’s all changed. Realizing that, not very much has.

Bryan Belcher

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