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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?
RECOMMENDATION:

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.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

10/13/2011 at 05:12 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I know you mentioned that it's compatible with the normal dual shock controller but would you buy a PlayStation Move for this game?

Jesse Miller Features Editor

10/13/2011 at 05:34 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

That's a tough call because I wouldn't recommend buying a specific controller just for one game, especially if it doesn't require it - and with there being practically no other games that are worth getting the Move for it would be harder still. That said, if you can pick it up on the cheap, I would say go for it. It actually does make a great game even better.

Anonymous

10/14/2011 at 07:19 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

"with there being practically no other games that are worth getting the Move for it would be harder still."

Oh really? What are these games I use Move with then? There are tons of Move games worth playing.

Anonymous

10/14/2011 at 07:33 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I would recommend buying a move controller even if you dont dig the hallucinogenic trip that is Child of Eden. The games out now for the move might not be in the hundreds yet but there are more than a dozen good games out. For instance No More Heroes, Dead Space Extraction, KillZone3(sharpshooter required), and plenty of PSN titles that are good for gamers on a budget. Dont overlook the move its more than just a fad.

Anonymous

10/14/2011 at 08:21 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

^ to the chap above this post......For killzone 3 you DO NOT need sharpshooter to play, a move controller combined with a standard controller works just as well.

@Esteban......maybe buying a move is not worth it for just this one game, but throw in heavy rain,killzone,dead space extraction,lbp2,sports champions,Resident evil 5(real cheap now on psn), also a few good psn games that support it......Funky lab rat comes to mind and possible support for future titles like metal gear solid rising and so on....i think u have a winner there.

Jesse Miller Features Editor

10/14/2011 at 10:18 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I don't think that I was clear in what I meant - Sure there are plenty of other games that feature Move support (including Resistance 3, the aforementioned Killzone 3 and Heavy Rain) but Child of Eden is the first game I've played where using the Move actually improved the gaming experience. All three games I mentioned above are much more enjoyable with a standard controller as they were not designed to use the Move as a main means of control like Child of Eden was.

Anonymous

10/17/2011 at 09:49 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

Of course an added bonus is the beautiful 3D, should you have a 3D setup.

daRth_kiLL

10/18/2011 at 05:44 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I dig the premise of the game. While I'm not a fan of motion-controlled anything (I don't even like touchscreen stuff lol,,,too "newfangled" for me) I dig that this game is JUST AS accessible without a move remote. The box art GRABS your attention....gameplay sounds quite fun, as you've described it. Once this title gets down to about 20 bucks (anyone know what it runs new right now??) I'll bite!!!!

Jesse Miller Features Editor

10/18/2011 at 05:45 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

The SRP on this title is $40 at the moment. You should be able to grab it close to twenty in the used market.

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