Child of Eden is the sequel to Rez, a rail based shooter which is equal parts Panzer Dragoon and CPU battle from Tron. The basic premise is that the first person born in outer space had their entire life experience digitized and uploaded to a futuristic version of the Internet. Now a virus has invaded the system and it’s your job to purge the virus from the system.
As the game progresses you are given an aiming reticule which allows you to paint your targets, when you’re ready or have a maximum of eight targets painted you can launch an attack that destroys all of them at once. In addition to this hold and fire technique, you also have a cannon of sorts, which is weaker, but more effective on purple enemies. You can use it to fire on a purple enemy, change them to another color, then destroy them with the hold and lock technique. The cannon is also used to shoot down enemy fire which is also purple. There is also a limited super bomb technique which destroys all enemies on screen, those shots have to be earned however.
Graphically, the game is stunning with out of this world visuals representing both the virtual system archive in which you’re operating and the viruses you’re eliminating. I couldn’t help but feel slightly Tron-ified. If, at some point, someone gets a film version of William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” off the ground, this would be an excelent attempt at visualizing his connected network space.
The only beef I have with an otherwise excellent game is the whole “Better on Kinect” thing. I have a freshly installed and calibrated Kinect, it works flawlessly with Dance Central and Kinectimals (I haven’t tried Kinect Adventures yet), and yet with Child of Eden I found the Kinect controls to be less than responsive.
Moving the aiming reticule around felt jittery and imprecise. There are options to control the speed and the smoothness, but neither of those seemed to make a difference. In a shooting game, precision of control is what makes or breaks the game, and for a title that is designed to showcase the Kinect it’s pretty unforgivable.
I really felt, in order to play the game “properly” I had to switch to the standard controller and once I did I was able to fully experience how breathtaking the game actually is.
There are only five “levels” or “worlds” in the game, but each one feels long enough that regardless of control scheme, you’re kind of exhausted and overwhelmed by the end. Many reviews have complained about the shortness of the game, and it’s true, but each of those five levels go on for so long you can’t really say that you could want more out of a game.
In addition to the worlds that you unlock there are also bonus features such as the live action videos which define the story aspect of the game, concept art and the like. There is also a “No Fail” mode which allows the player to experience the game without fear of being killed by the virus, ideal for experimentation, children or casual players.
All in all, Child of Eden is one of those games that should be experienced by everyone, but don’t let the “Better on Kinect” fool you, it’s not required and may, in fact, be more playable without the Kinect.
Jonah Falcon is a blogger for TMRzoo and GameStooge.com and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Jonah provides his readers with reviews, previews, release dates and up to date gaming industry news, trailers and rumors.