It’s 200 years in the future, and everything on the internet is made of pretty pictures. Kind of abstract, right? That’s the point, though. Something has happened to the internet (called Eden), and it’s up to the player to make it right.
Xbox 360 owners got to experience Child of Eden earlier this year, and now it’s available for PlayStation 3 owners also. I do not have an official word on why the two were not released simultaneously. My guess is that it had something to do with porting Kinect (Xbox 360) over to PlayStation Move.
Before I go into the game itself, I have to differentiate using the 6-Axis controller versus the Move on the PS3 edition. Using the Move takes off a lot of stress. When using the Move, the cursor on the game screen feels (when properly calibrated) like an extension of the arm. Once I got over the learning curve of the game – low for someone who doesn’t feel at home with First-Person Shooters – the game was both challenging and fun.
Using the regular 6-Axis controller is a different story. The cursor is too sensitive to movement, and I found myself getting frantic making sure I was aiming right. It did not feel organic in the slightest, and I felt myself ready to ask for a refund (the cost is actually worth noting: I will mention it later on). I’m sticking with the Move whenever I put that disc back in again.
Child of Eden is the brainchild of Tetsuya Mizuguchi. He made Rez back for the PS2, and Child of Eden is to serve as the prequel. Rez is remarkably similar to Child of Eden. Both are non-standard First-Person Rail Shooters, both combine hitting targets with music, and both have artistic backgrounds that players can get easily lost in. Also, both games are unforgiving when you lose your hit points.
PS2 did not have the courtesy of the PS Move, and I wish it had. I frequently found myself sent all the way back to the beginning of long stages in Rez. Someone must have taken the hint, as Child of Eden levels are shorter by comparison.
There are two difficulties of play: Normal and “Explore Eden.” The latter of the two is a fancy way of saying “Congrats, you won’t suffer damage.” The downside is that whatever you score doesn’t count. The way you advance in Child of Eden is by accruing points and earning stars; stars will be awarded by your score. Players can expect to explore 5 worlds of Eden, and you’ll want to play multiple times in order to increase your performance.
It is easy to avoid being damaged; the game has a Heads Up Display which tells you where projectiles are coming from. If players are on top of things, then eliminating projectiles can be done as soon as they come on-screen. If you wait too long, you may not be able to maneuver in time to aim properly. It’s another challenge to an overall well-constructed title.
The backgrounds are gorgeous – maybe a little too gorgeous. It’s worth dialing down the difficulty to take in the beauty of it all. After all of these gameplay considerations, there is actually very little about Child of Eden that actually pushes gaming. I think the calibration could use more work on the Move – it’s too sensitive, yet far easier than using the controller. There should be continue points in every level. Those flaws aside, this is an excellent game.
Child of Eden is priced at $40. That’s a price point worth celebrating. Games do not need to be $60, especially the shorter ones. Child of Eden is at least 10 hours of gameplay, and with the trophies and online leaderboards, you can get another 5-10 out of that. This game has taken a significant portion of my week, and it will continue to ebb and flow in and out of my game time. The price is more than worth it.
Child of Eden is now out for the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3. It has been rated E10 (Everyone 10 and up) by the ESRB for mild fantasy violence.
FINAL GRADE: B+