Sunday, 15 September 2013

Retrospective: Child of Eden

No blog post yesterday. I thought Id let the lyrical flow of Andi's Suda51 gospel sink in for everyone, plus I had spent the day having a chat with Andi at his place of work n by the time I got home I just wanted to relax. I ended up picking up a copy of Shadows of the Damned too so I could pick up on Suda's work seen as I hadn't played much of it since No More Heroes. So what am I posting today? Its another retrospective! I may do a few of these every now n again in between posts for upcoming games and reviews as its always good to take a look back at something. If reading one of these gets you interested in the game that's covered then hopefully you'll be able to grab a copy n try it yourself. Ill always try n cover a game that is fairly easy to find online at least. It would be unfair to cover something extremely rare on our shores. Today then I'll be looking at Child of Eden.
Story (Wikipedia)
The story of Child of Eden is revealed through the game's introduction. It focuses on a girl named Lumi who was the first human to be born in space, on 11th September 2019 aboard the International Space Station. Throughout her life, Lumi dreamt of visiting earth, conveying her feelings into song which she sent down to the people of the planet. When she died her body was preserved and her memories and data were recorded and archived. The story moves to humanity's advancement in space exploration, and the creation of a universal wide internet system called Eden. Eden is described as a fountain from which all knowledge flows, to those who have never set foot on earth, containing all of human history and knowledge. By the 23rd century scientists attempt to use Lumi's preserved data to create a living persona with eden itself, in an experiment called Project Lumi. As her recompiled persona emerges and awakens into Eden, she is attacked and trapped by an unknown computer virus. The objective of the player in Child of Eden is to save Project Lumi, which is near completion, from the virus attack. If finished, Project Lumi would reproduce a human personality in Eden, the artificial intelligence inside which Rez took place
With this game being the spiritual successor to a certain Rez, also acting as a prequal, on the Dreamcast (and a few consoles since) it also plays similar to its predecessar ie as an artistic on-rails shooter. Targets will come at you from all different directions and its your job to obliterate them. There are a couple of quirks to the gameplay though. Anyone coming from Rez will be instantly familiar with the prospect of painting up to eight targets before releasing the fire button and sending those lined up shots to the target. Doing this alonside the background music's 'beat' will unleash a Perfect shot that scores you more, a Good shot is also attainable should you almost hit that perfect timing. Some enemies will fire back at you and some are impervious to your normal attack. These require your secondary attack. Pretty much anything that is purple can be damaged by the secondary attack which consists of purple 'bullets'. This comes in handy during the boss battles especially as they tend to rain attacks down on you during their vulnerable moments. Boss battles are some of the best parts of the game with multiple layers of vulnerability that each need to be tactically dealt with while all manner of enemies vye for your attentions. When the levels end scores are tallied and stars are awarded which are needed to unlock other levels (5 in total: Matrix, Evolution, Beauty, Passion, and Journey) So, your typical on-rails shooter then. Where it differs is its superb artistic style that helps the game become more of a 'experience' in the best traditons of synthesia touched on by Tetsuya Mizuguchi with his work on Rez
Graphically the game is on another level to most due in no small part to its artistic vision. Its majestic, even awe-inspiring at times with some of the most superb designs for levels and characters on the Ps3. It really deos sell its synthesia experiance to you. The Genki Rockets soundtrack is also superb, then again I am a fan so I would say that but it fits the theme of the game (Rachel Rhodes as Lumi is quite delish too) Tetsuya Mizuguchi also works on Genki Rockets so its as close to a complete artistic vision as you'll see from a director. Its difficult to put into words how everything is arranged from a graphical standpoint as each module has its own visual theme. All I can suggets is a good long look at some screenshots. Also worthy of mention is in regards to the Ps3 version. While it was delayed, a 3D option was added. Playing Child of eden in 3D is one of the most definitive 3D experiences you can have. The added depth & dimensionality of the characters added by stereoscopic really brings the worlds to life. Theres also the odd moment where particles n the like look as though they are dancing before your eyes! Its quite surreal. A must for any owner of a 3D TV & a Ps3.
Personally I adore this game. Its been in & out of my collection for a while though due to its short play time (10-25 minutes to complete each of the 5 levels) I recently purchased it from CEX for £4. Yes, £4! While it is an incredibly cheap game, it deos seem to have got a tad more difficult of late to find so Id suggest if your interested to snap it up if you come across it. At less than £5 these days, Id be baffled as to why anyone could even end up being disappointed with this game. Considering the games we tend to have shoveled in our faces by the big publishers, artistic titles like these are few and far between and Child of Eden represents one of the best I have experienced. I hope you give it a go yourself someday.

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