Child of Eden was released back in June of this year for both the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. While it aimed to make use of the motion control peripherals for each console, it was also playable with the console's regular controllers. Here we will take a look at the game as a whole, and the difference between playing with the controller and the Kinect.
Known as the spiritual successor to Rez, coincidentally made under the codename "Project Eden", Child of Eden is actually supposed to be a prequel. Then why call it 'child' of Eden? Wouldn't that imply that it's a sequel? Regardless, the story is unimportant. Something about a super computer and a virus. Both games are known for being stylized shoot 'em ups with musical components taking place of the usual sound effects and stunning abstract visuals, creating a unique gaming experience to anyone who hasn't played either game. If you have played Rez and plan on playing Child of Eden, you may be underwhelmed. Don't misunderstand though, it's not a bad game, it's just sticks a little too close to the game that came before it.
Just like Rez, you're on a set course shooting with you weapons and what was known as "overdrive" is now "euphoria". You can pick up additional health and euphoria power ups from select defeated enemies, not much has changed. The visuals have been improved, of course, and are themed to represent their titles, for example the level 'beauty' includes flowers and strange winged creatures, whereas 'matrix' places you inside a computer like environment. My favorite was probably the second level where a giant transparent whale looking things turns into a giant phoenix against a background of nebulae. It's beautiful...for the first time anyways. When you have to play the level multiple times, even the absurdly breathtaking becomes mundane (though still probably one of the better games to bring up in an 'are video games art?' debate). Herein lies the other problem with this game, it's way too short. It's only 5 levels long and the entire thing can be beaten in a little less than an hour. That's not something I'd expect from a game that cost as much as any brand new current gen title. A downloadable game, sure, but a full length game? It's really unacceptable. There are some extras like visual effects that change the colors of the levels, and additional sound options, but that's still not enough content to warrant a full price tag.
Controller or Kinect?
While the game's box cover boasts "Better with Kinect Sensor!" I'd have to disagree. When you're playing with the controller, there's only 3 button options gun 1, gun 2, and euphoria. Easy-peasy. Just move the d-pad and shoot, it's actually kind of fun! When you attempt to play with the Kinect, you will be frustrated to no end. Not only because of the Kinect's slight delay, but also the supposedly simple controls are almost impossible to pull off. After re-calibrating my Kinect to make sure I wasn't crazy, it was still a pain to even navigate around the screen. When I tried to fire my lock-on attack the screen would just move to the side and stay there, not allowing me to move much at all. Considering this was supposed to be one of the Kinect's launch titles, I was extremely disappointed. It's much easier to navigate levels and take in all the imagery enjoy the experience as a whole when you play with the controller instead of fighting with poor motion controls.Overall this game is worth a quick play through and serves as more of a conversation piece than a full-on gaming experience.
Child of Eden gets a 7/10
Review submitted by Phoenix Gamer's Mel