Taking a look at the successor to Rez was another exciting prospect for me, mainly because my Kinect sensor bar's had about two brief uses and since Christmas it's been sitting at the foot of my flatscreen gathering dust, so I'm hoping that Child Of Eden'll break that trend and let me turn my body into a controller once more without getting bored after testing out the initial gimmick. Also, I got a little bit more interested when we were told this game's been in the works for about 10 years, after all if that much time and effort's gone into surely it's got to be fairly good.
For those of you who have no idea what this one's about, you'll be protecting Project Lumi from a virus attack using a couple of weapons that are literally at your finger tips.
The levels that we got to take a look at were Matrix and Evolution, one of which is the first level of the game and plays out like a tutorial, also as you'd expect it looks a lot like Rez.
Once it gets going there's no holding back, you're bombarded with music and bright lights, and it comes extremely close to throwing you into complete sensory overload. Basically, there's a lot happening on screen! This isn't necessarily a good thing though, I found it quite hard to handle and actually became a little nauseous at one point, which I've got to say surprised me a little bit because I've never suffered from motion sickness or anything like that in the past, so I've got to wonder what it's like for those of you out there who do suffer from those sort of ailments. However after a short period of time, I became used to it and was more than happy to stare at the colourful goings on.
The game has a very organic look to it and diversifies out in comparison to Rez. Also, the music's been provided by creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi's, band Genki Rockets. In my opinion it feels like you're trapped inside some sort of psychedelic club that's coming to life before your eyes and trying to communicate with you through the medium of synthesised sound.
You'll have to deal with your enemies almost immediately and there are two ways of doing this. Holding out your right hand allows you to select multiple targets, which you can then destroy in time with the music by waving your hand towards the screen. Additionally, you can target multiple points on some enemies, if you require a bit more firepower to bring them down. Your other option is to throw your left hand in front of you to activate a rapid fire gun, the target reticule of which you control by moving your hand where you want to shoot. Whilst these are the only two attacks present in the game, you can pull off different combinations with them, and you'll need to work out how best to deal with each enemy that crosses your path, so you can expect a little bit of trial of error to be involved. Also, you can alter the controls to your hearts content, they're very customisable, for example you can switch the attacks round so that you're operating the rapid fire with your right hand and selecting targets with your left. Feedback on how you're coping with any hostiles'll pop up on screen during the course of the game, so you'll be told if you dealt with things perfectly or not.
If an enemy that's coming towards you avoids your attacks, then they'll hit you and you'll take damage up until you die, at which point the screen'll turn red before fading to black. Luckily, health can be collected during the course of the game and it's displayed on a bar on the bottom right hand side of the screen, whereas your euphoria bar is on the bottom left hand side of the screen. Euphoria can be used to augment your attacks, so it's best to keep it charged up until you find a boss character to unleash it on.
When you get to the end of the level a stats screen'll pop up showing you the percentage of the level you managed to purify, your clear time, the percentage of storage items you collected, and a euphoria bonus. You'll also receive a rank, which I'm assuming is calculated from your overall performance and is given as a star rating, e.g. 3 stars.
The game's menus are pretty good fun as well and there are areas such as Lumi's Garden, where you can play around with sounds and make your own music, although you can't actually record the music you create.
Getting to grips with the game with the game looks pretty easy to do, after all the kid who stepped out of the audience to have a go seemed to pick it up remarkably quickly. It's also a purely single player experience, so don't expect any co-op or multiplayer. Last but not least, there's no DLC on the cards at the moment, but there could well be in the future.
What this looks like is a decent, long-lasting, great looking Kinect game, that encourages you to come back for more thanks to the various difficulty modes, a few secrets and some unlockables, well that's if the colours and the music don't act like a flash-bang and throw you into quiet bemusement! My only other criticism of what I saw is that it could get a tad repetitive after a while, but I guess we won't find out whether that's the case for a couple of weeks.
Finally, if you want a bit more info on the game, or you want to try it out, you could always head to the Child Of Eden experience on Dean Street in Soho, where an entire shop has been dedicated to the game, complete with funky interiors decorated by a graffiti artist and a couple of rooms to test the game out in. The experience is running from 3rd June until 22nd June.
Child Of Eden's out on 17th June for Xbox 360 and later in the year for the PS3.