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Child of Eden

Score: 96%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Q Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Shooter/ Miscellaneous


Graphics & Sound:

You can't escape mention of Child of Eden without mention of the gorgeous, creative visuals. Levels take place within a kind of digital world (the internet of the future), which basically is just a license for the game to put whatever creative, unusual visuals it wants on the screen. You'll go through watery levels with exploding flowers, starry levels with firebirds and flying whales, and you'll go through levels that really can't be summed up except they look synthetic and unreal. Everything glows, objects leave a streak of light in their trails, everything pulses to the beat. It's just nice.

The sound is almost as important as the look of Child of Eden. As you frantically take out enemies and targets, you create sound that fills in the background music. If you take down purple missiles, they each emit a sound in a melody. If you time it right and take out the targets smoothly, it sounds a little better, and a little more like it was meant to be a part of the song. The techno soundtrack is designed to sound right with all the added sound your gameplay creates, however, no matter how good you are at timing. Again, quite nice, and at times strangely soothing, even uplifting.


Gameplay:

Child of Eden's story follows Lumi, the first person born in outer space. Her memories were preserved in a digital store when she died and these memories are stored in the internet of the future. It should also be noted that in the future, the interwebs are called Eden. Sometime in the future, a group decides to attempt to recreate Lumi from her stored memories in Eden. This digital Lumi awakens to her lovely green, peaceful Eden, but the peace doesn't last long. Hackers have entered Eden. And you know, instead of just stealing credit card numbers and publishing passwords in torrents, they have to destroy Lumi's world.

This is... perhaps not easy to explain to everyone. Child of Eden, like it's spiritual predecessor, Rez, doesn't sit nicely in line with the typical "beat the bad dudes" formula of most games. You're making flowers explode into digital fireworks. You're targeting crisscrossing squares of light on a giant matrix of light pillars. You're fighting space-whales. "What are you doing again?" is a common response to the game being played to spectators.

Ever so often, while you're fighting your way through this digital world, you'll catch glimpses of the innocent, hopeful Lumi in a white flowing dress. She sings a snippet of song before it's back to the action. They're moments of peace and calm in a chaotic world of sound and color. They represent what you're trying to save. They represent whatever you like, really. At its core, this is a game that encourages you to imagine and wonder.


Difficulty:

Child of Eden is a perfect example of controlled chaos. Lose control and things end quite quickly. You've got to have eyes and ears tuned to subtle cues to stay alive. For example, you'll hear a change of music and see a thin targeting line appear when missiles are headed your way. In the chaos of all the rest of the lights, objects, and music, however, it can be easy to miss these cues. The game takes its fair share of trial and error before you can glide through the levels without taking hits.

Since the game is relatively short, most of the replay value lies in challenging yourself at higher difficulties. But you can also play a mode called Feel Eden. Here, you can enjoy the visuals and the unique music creation experience with no pressure or danger from enemies.


Game Mechanics:

No talk about Child of Eden would be complete without mentioning the control scheme. After all, Child of Eden basically represents a breakaway for Kinect games. If it's successful, future games will build on it and only become better. The good thing is that there's no reason Child of Eden can't be successful.

The controls basically divide two weapons between your two hands. A lock-on targeting missile system is controlled by your right hand. Push your hand forward and the missiles will fire at their targets. Your left hand controls a weaker, but faster rapid fire weapon. You can use this against certain enemies, and you can use it when you need some quick firepower. It works quite well, you simply have to get used to dropping one hand down so the Kinect knows which weapon you're using. The tracking is also quite phenomenal, and shows off just how well the Kinect can track. You can choose another control scheme that lets you use only one hand, but you'll need to clap to change weapons. I have to say that I'm not, not, not a fan of clapping, so this scheme collected dust. But at least its there. You've also got the option of using a standard controller.

Although you're on rails, you do have a bit of control over the camera tilt. This means you can feel a bit like you're flying, looking down and over to see exactly what's coming. The flow of incoming enemies is usually enough of a clue as to where you're supposed to be looking, so it never gets too confusing. Overall, the turning and shooting mechanics work together nicely, and when you get the hang of it, you really feel like you're in control, like you're really in this world.

It's hard to describe how it feels to play this game. To some extent, you just have to try it. But it all works together nicely, and it's a must for Kinect owners. Child of Eden is lovely, but it's also challenging at higher levels. It can be an emotional, heart-tugging journey, but you can also just treat it as a hardcore shooter for your hands.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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