Child of Eden Review
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On 10/13/2011 at 05:00 PM by Jesse Miller
After months of Xbox 360 exclusivity, Child of Eden has finally made its way to the PlayStation 3. Was the wait worth it?
For fans of Rez or anyone looking for a deeper video game experience.
Child of Eden is not a game that can be easily described—it needs to be experienced. At its core it’s a simple arcade style shooter and the controls couldn’t be easier to pick up, but there is so much more to this game than those simple elements. Child of Eden is a visceral experience in the purest meaning of the word. Simply put, it’s a game you won’t soon forget.
The game focuses on the story of Lumi, the first child born in space. From her home upon a space station, Lumi expresses her desire to go to Earth through song. After her death, scientists seek to bring the girl back to life in Eden--an evolution of what we now know as the Internet--which contains all known human and natural history. Of course something goes wrong in the process and Eden becomes saturated with viruses. It becomes your job to save both Eden and Lumi from being lost forever in a digital wasteland.
To accomplish this lofty goal you’ll travel through five distinct archives, or levels, that reflect many various ecological evolutions through the use of amazing chromatic imagery and music that is presumed to originate from Lumi’s longing melodies. As you travel through the archives on a fixed speed rail, the screen will become populated with organic looking viruses that can be taken out by shooting them with your lasers. This all takes place from a first person perspective that isn’t all that restrictive since you can look in almost any direction as you speed through Eden.
Short bursts of music emit from digital baddies as your fire hits home, creating a living, breathing soundtrack that changes depending on how you play the game. There were times when I would experiment with the sounds, ignoring certain enemies so that I could create new and interesting melodies while playing. It wasn’t the best way to rack up a high score, but it succeeded on a deeper level in which I forgot I was playing a game. Moments like this remind me that video games can truly be art if they are handled correctly.
Each archive concludes with a boss battle of sorts--an amplified and recognizable creature like a whale or phoenix—that brings each stage to a satisfying crescendo before fading to black.
Gamers familiar with Rez, which Q Entertainment brought to the XBLA a few years ago, will recognize many of the control and firing mechanisms such as the octa-lock--a blue reticule that can lock on up to eight enemies at a time before unleashing a stream of lasers to take them out. There is also a manual pulse laser that isn’t quite as powerful as the octa-lock but can be fired in a continuous stream which may tempt some players to use it exclusively. While it is perfectly possible to get through levels using only this single method, high scores and a superior auditory experience are the rewards for players who blend both firing mechanisms together. Harmony is important both in presentation and strategy in this digital realm.
Enemies are largely passive, but there are a few that will take shots at you that can only be taken out with the pulse laser at you as you pass through their digital realm. If things get too hectic the player can unleash a special move called Euphoria that can be grabbed by shooting it when it appears on screen. Triggering Euphoria will wipe the screen clean of enemies and offer a short respite. If by chance you find your life dwindling after taking several hits, there are life packs that are scattered through the levels that can be collected to restore your health. Collecting these items will also add to your final score, so it is important to keep an eye out for them.
Most players will be able to complete each level with relative ease, but the challenge lies in getting a high score which is represented by the reward of 1-5 stars. Getting stars is important since later archives will require certain star counts to access. Reaching a perfect star score is not an easy task and will see you playing through archives over and over again, which you’ll be more than happy to do.
The original release was developed with the Xbox Kinect in mind and so it comes as no surprise that the PS3 version is PlayStation Move compatible. I’m happy to report that it works splendidly. Accuracy is always a big concern when it comes to motion sensitive games, but I experienced no lag or spatial issues. Admittedly the standard controller allows for better precision, but it doesn’t lend itself well to the spirit of the game--you’ll end up directing the Move controller to the beat of the music whereas you’d otherwise end up mostly stationary with a standard controller. I may have accumulated higher scores using my Dual Shock 3, but I honestly enjoyed the game more when happily grooving with my glowing Move wand in hand.
Gamers who have already picked up this little gem on the 360 won’t find much reason to pick up the PS3 version as well, but anyone with a PlayStation 3 and a little soul will find a lot to love in this game. Saving Lumi is a noble pursuit and one that you’ll enjoy for hours on end.