Thursday, September 29, 2011

The New SSX Continues to Defy Reality...

If you don't know by now, the first quarter of 2012 starts off with a bang for me with the new SSX. Here's the newest trailer, which is pretty much just another montage of snowboarders launching off big ramps doing spin tricks like no other (and the occasional glide seen back in the debut trailer).

Saving The Internet Now On Blu-Ray... The Child of Eden (PS3) Review

Note - I haven't tried the Move controls myself or seen this version in 3D yet, so don't expect my exact thoughts on those.

Child of Eden has been out for several months on the Xbox 360 with Kinect support. Now the same spiritual successor to Rez, one of my favorite games of all-time, created by Q?Entertainment is out for the Playstation 3 with some added exclusive features that only the PS3 is capable of. Instead of Kinect, this version is also playable with the Playstation Move controller and its able to be displayed in 3D if you have a 3DTV. Other than that, its the same visual spectacle like the 360 version with amazing sound design as expected from the minds behind Rez, Lumines, and Space Channel 5. Luckily it is priced at 40 dollars compared to the standard retail price because of how short it is. PS3-only owners that want a new Move game and something beautiful to show off 3D technology should not pass Child of Eden up.

As a successor to Rez, Child of Eden plays and is structured like that masterpiece from beginning to end. The story may be weird at first, but pretty simple to understand. Lumi from Genki Rockets seems to be enjoying a normal day inside Eden until a virus corrupts the garden as it is up to you save Lumi and Eden, the internet in other words according to the game. Also similar to Rez, the game is five stages long and can be beaten in a hour or two. However, these five stages (archives in their words) are filled with amazing environments and colors containing different themes. These themes basically describe the stage names themselves as if they have more of a meaning than you think of once you play through them. An example of this is witnessing an evolution of a whale to a phoenix in the coincidentally called evolution archive. Other environments players transverse from range from a garden to an industrial-like setting filled with themed sound effects.

The core on-rails shooter gameplay hasn't changed significantly from Rez, but the difference in Child of Eden is having two types of main weapons to take out enemies. The blue lock-on laser is what we seen from Rez, but the purple tracer is a rapid fire laser that is essential to survival being the only way to avoid enemy fire. Even though the majority of enemies can be taken out by lock-on, some enemies have to be destroyed by the tracer before they fire purple balls for damage as if its something straight out of Ikaruga. There is also the all clear weapon called the euphoria that can be used especially in certain situations like avoiding damage. Boss battles are also a plenty as well, which are not that hard to defeat. Even though Child of Eden can be beaten in a single sitting, it is harder than Rez the first time through even on normal difficulty. My only problem with the campaign structure is if you don't get a high enough rank in certain archives, you have to play them again at least one more time to unlock the later archives. Speaking of ranking, Child of Eden's scoring system is way different than Rez where keeping in sync with the beat of the music by perfect octa-locks is the key to get high scores. Percentage of purification is also another factor with scoring as taking out every enemy in a level is crucial to getting more than three stars.

As I mentioned before, the major additions to the PS3 version of Child of Eden are Move controls and 3D support. At first, two Move controllers would be required to play due to the Kinect controls requiring both hands to play. It turns out that one Move controller is enough as you still lock-on with the pointer and then flick your wrist to fire. The tracer is mapped to the Move's trigger button as you hold it down while pointing at the screen to eliminate enemy fire while euphoria is a simple Move button press compared to having both hands in the air on Kinect for the 360 version. The standard controller still works fine if you played Rez before as both control options have their advantages and weaknesses. Unfortunately, I personally haven't tried the Move controls because I don't have a Move controller to give a full opinion of how they feel compare to playing it with a controller, but whenever I get one, I'll update the review with my thoughts. The same thing goes for the game having 3D support as I haven't seen the game on a 3DTV yet.

As expected for a spiritual successor to Rez, Child of Eden is a visual, beautiful spectacle as the graphics are simply amazing. Diverse environments throughout the five stages, some FMV-like cutscenes with Lumi, and runs at a smooth, consistent 60 frames per second. Sometimes, there might be too much going on with the game screen in certain areas to the point you'll miss an enemy to get 100% purification, but it is a matter of being quick with the lock-on and recognizing patterns even though it is a minor gripe. There are a ton of Rez references from certain bosses and sound effects too. The sound design is no slouch either considering its Q? Entertainment, masters of implementing rhythm into multiple genres. Even though its just Genki Rockets songs throughout the game, the way they were implemented is what makes Child of Eden that special. If that band is not your cup of tea, then you'll probably pass on this game even though personally its tolerable for anyone to enjoy and listen to.

There is arguably nothing like Child of Eden especially in the current generation of consoles. As a successor to Rez, it definitely lives up to the title even though of course it is not as groundbreaking. Comparing whether or not it is better than Rez is another story to be debated on a later time, but I'm still glad Rez lives on with Child of Eden. In addition, its another game that makes the whole "games as art" category since it is one beautiful, visual spectacle (or some would say a crazy visualizer). The game's length is obviously short and can be beaten in a hour or two, but there is enough replay value from an unlockable harder difficulty, a bonus challenge level, other collectables to get, and online leaderboards if you want to get compete for high scores. The PS3 version's Move controls and 3D support might be enough to be the better version, but you can make an argument for the 360 version being cheaper now and having Kinect support. Child of Eden seems catered for a niche crowd having that sleeper hit identity, but it is one immersive experience players can't miss out on since its now out for both 360 and PS3.

Score = 9/10

  • As a spiritual successor to Rez, it definitely lives up that title
  • Another amazing, beautiful, visual spectacle by Q? Entertainment
  • Still one of the best in the biz regarding sound design - superb implementation of Genki Rockets songs
  • Move controls/3D support
  • Even though you can breeze through the game with skills from Rez, the scoring system is deeper than you think once you get the timing of perfect octa-locks down.
  • Enough replay value for players to keep going despite how short it is.
  • As similar to Rez, the game is pretty short (a hour or two long)
  • Campaign structure could of been better since you have to replay levels again to unlock later levels because of performing well ranking-wise when you're playing the campaign the first time through.

EA's Syndicate Reboot + Skrillex = A Cool Debut Trailer

The long awaited Syndicate reboot by EA has been known for a while, but finally the interwebs get the read and see what it is all about. Yeah, its another shooter with RPG elements (Oh wait that's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is the obvious comparison as of late, but less brown), but count on Starbreeze to deliver the goods since they know what's up with shooters for years. Plus, you might as well add some dubstep to your debut trailer to get people excited too (how fitting its a completely new Skrillex song called "Syndicate" - nice one EA). There should be a ton of previews rolling out now in all the major game sites if you want to know more about Syndicate, which is slated to come out on February 21, 2012 for the 360 PS3, and PC.

Some New Last Guardian Footage...

One of the biggest no shows at this year's Tokyo Game Show was Sony's The Last Guardian, the next game from the developers of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. The HD collection featuring the two games I just mentioned came out this week and it looks like this extra trailer for this new game is from the disc. Most of the footage is what we seen already, but there's some new stuff as well. The Last Guardian is still on track for a release sometime next year.