June 14, 2011

A Psychedelic Future

Lasting First Impressions of Child of Eden from Ubisoft

Child of Eden LogoIt’s been a long while since screens and teasers for Child of Eden began making their way across the vast landscape of the internet seizing the wonder and imagination of anyone who found them.  The stunning visceral landscape captured our curiosity but also demanded further answers to many questions regarding how this game would be played.  It was quite obvious this was going to be a game aimed at Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony Move peripherals but not much else was known about it except that we had to see it.  Finally, for the first time, expectant gamers had the chance to witness and experience Child of Eden at PAX East 2011 where the Ubisoft booth found itself surrounded by players and onlookers alike trying to get a glimpse of this mysterious wonder of a game.

Child of Eden throws the player into the midst of a battle to save Project Lumi, an initiative to reproduce a human personality inside Eden, the future version of the Internet containing the archive of all human memories and experiences.  Before completion, this archive is invaded by an attacking virus and it is the player’s mission to purify Eden and restore it to its hopeful and peaceful existence.

Child of Eden 2

Child of Eden was born of the mind of Tetsuya Mizaguchi, the father of Rez and Lumines, so it goes without saying that this game is based around psychedelic visuals and stunning music.  This game seems like something right out of a dream existence and is an absolute beauty to behold.  Child of Eden takes the player through a virtual kaleidoscopic matrix of synchronized music and mind-blowing imagery unlike anything you’ve seen before.

I have had the opportunity to review only the Kinect version of this game so my review will be from that point of view.  The controls in Child of Eden are simple and straight forward.  Using Kinect, your right hand controls a targeting reticule which will fire on the targeted enemy when you push your hand forward while your left hand controls a continuous shot reticule used more for defence, shooting down enemy missiles.  Beyond a third movement of raising both arms in the air to launch a powerful ‘bomb’ attack, there is nothing more involved in playing Child of Eden.  While the controller can be used instead of Kinect, I actually found that Kinect was the better way to play the game. Using your hands to target the enemies is much faster and more accurate than using the controller.  This game was meant for Kinect and it definitely shows.

Child of Eden 1

With the controls being so simple and easy to grasp, Child of Eden is actually the perfect game for even the newest player to learn and enjoy.  I was using this game as an example of how the Kinect works to show my Father (age 68), who is not a gamer in any way, and he was so intrigued by it that he gave it a try and was able to pick it up with no trouble at all.

The object of each level in the game is simple enough as well.  Simply target anything coming at you with your right hand and fire one them by pushing forward, and use your left hand to take care of enemy fire.  The more viruses you purify, the higher your score and the more stars you will achieve.  Points are also earned by firing on the enemies in time to the beat of the music.  Each subsequent level will require a set number of stars before it is unlocked.  I don’t know how many levels there are in total, but the first area presented contains 5 ‘worlds’, each progressively more difficult than the previous.

Child of Eden is most certainly a unique and beautiful game and is the perfect game to show off the capability of Kinect.  While the game is fun to play and worth checking out, I found that I didn’t really want to play more than one or two levels in any session. This is simply from the actions required to play causing my arms to tire, my right arm more so due to the much repeated ‘pushing’ action.  This is not a fault of the game by any means and would most certainly be an issue with any game designed solely for Kinect where the constant use of your arms is required.  As mentioned previously, using a controller is an option for those who don’t have or don’t want to use Kinect, however, a controller based game is considered separate from your Kinect game.  In other words, if you start a game with Kinect, you can not continue it with a controller and vice versa.

Child of Eden is a gorgeous, wildly psychedelic, musically immersive and utterly visceral experience that simply must be experienced.  There has really been nothing like it before now and it will, I believe, set the bar for the perfect way of implementing Kinect controls.

Ubisoft, I gave you an hour and I am wildly IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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