PAX East 11: Child of Eden Hands-On Impressions

PAX East 11: Child of Eden Hands-On Impressions


Now I’ve never played Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez, but I just got done playing a 10 minute session with its sequel, Child of Eden. Ten years later, Mizuguchi is bringing Child of Eden for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it is due out June 14, 2011. The version I played was for Xbox 360 using Kinect. Just to fill you all in, I am a fan of on-rails shooters, and I would like to think I know what’s good and what’s not.

At first glance, Child of Eden immediately stands out as something a little different. The game has almost no HUD. Outside of the first few prompts to teach you how to play the game in the beginning, the only piece of information on-screen are five (what appear to be) rose pedals that indicates health, and the health bar of the boss when you finally reach that point. Everything else works well because the game is pretty intuitive, and I’ll dive deeper into ‘why’ later.

As far as the on-screen action and enemies go, the game looks like a gorgeous kaleidoscope going absolutely insane, and the enemies are as obscure as they come. The best thing I can compare the enemies to are the ones seen in Sin & Punishment. Judge for yourself; compare the image below (Sin & Punishment) and the one featured.


A little bit, right? Give me a break. I tried.

Since the game does not have much of an on-screen HUD, there isn’t many indicators of what to do and when to do it. However, you get a sense of what to do, because of how the game uses a combination of lights and colors to get that across. It naturally gets you to point and shoot at these areas, and it works very well.

Using Kinect, the right arm used a sort of “powered-up” shot, and the left arm featured a rapid fire shot. You shoot with the right arm by pushing your arm forward, and the left arm shoots where ever you’re pointing. Using the right arm is a bit tricky, because you aim and shoot with this arm. That means you lose some accuracy, because moving forward inevitably moves your pointer; sometimes in strange places. This is especially the case when you’re trying to shoot fast.

Thankfully, the game is forgiving, because the pointer covers a lot of surface area, but still not enough to make up for the jolts of movement when pushing forward. Giving the game the benefit of the doubt, I haven’t played Kinect before this hands-on time with Child of Eden since Kinect launched, and maybe I wasn’t as used to it as I should have been. Other than that and the fact that my arm got tired (yes, I’m a baby), the game was a blast to play, watch and hear, and I definitely look forward to more coverage of the game in the near future.