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Child of Eden Review

Child of Eden Review

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Child of Eden (XBOX 360) Review

Child of Eden (XBOX 360)

Professional Resume Writer Calgary When Microsoft launched Kinect last year the initial games were a collection of fun titles which gave a feel for the technology (such as Sports and Adventures) and then mixed in there were some interesting glimpses of how the gaming experience for kids would and could change. Since then the add-on has been waiting for that must have title which draws the hard-core gamer into the technology. While many gamers are waiting to see how Kinect Star Wars will turn out, and it could be an essential purchase, one game which has been building momentum over the last while is Child of Eden.

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Gameplay
When Child of Eden starts we are presented with a brief introduction which explains our futuristic setting where the consciousness of the first human (Lumi) to be born in space has been recreated within the internet, now known as Eden. Unfortunately this version of Lumi us under attack from a virus which we must destroy in order to save the project.

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Because this is an on rails shooter we control our target with the left stick on our controller and with the X, A and B buttons we can fire our weapons. The majority of the time it is A (which has an auto lock function for up to 8 targets) however enemy fire and some items themselves are killed via X when our target changes to purple and finally we have a smart bomb-esq weapon called Euphoria on B which will often kill all of the onscreen foes. These "bombs" like health points are dropped by enemies randomly and we pick them up by targeting and shooting them. All of this is of course accompanied by vibration feedback from our 360 controller.

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When playing through Child of Eden players are presented with a very unique visual style as the game throws vastly different environments at us that are filled with huge variation from small, basic line based squares and cubes to massive enemies, packed with colour and detail. Each of the levels also has a couple of backdrops which although not always packed with detail are interesting in their own way.

There is no doubting that the game has its impressive moments within this art style however there are also moments where extra time could have been spent taking things to the next level in quality. Beauty for example has water backdrops in places however the water isn’t particularly well created compared to some other titles. We also noted on a few occasions that the game suffered framerate issues which on such a visual title really can draw the user back out of the experience.

Audio is of course a huge part of Child of Eden as everything we do creates a new sound within the game. Turn of the electronic soundtrack for example, leaving just the weapon/environmental effects and the game is still absolutely packed with sound.

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User Experience
Normally by this point in a game review we would have dropped a number of our opinions into the text but in the case of Child of Eden we have, where possible, stayed away from doing so. The reason? This isn’t a standard game and can’t, in our opinion, be reviewed as one… though many have tried.

To explain a little bit about why think back to the original Tetris on the Gameboy. At its core we have a game where monochrome shapes fall towards the base of the screen, we move them with the d-pad, rotate with a button and as we progress they get faster. Now we all know that this is a classic title, one of the best ever released and one of the most addictive. It has its own specific visual style and audio type too… try to tell someone who hasn’t played it that the game is worth 90%+ and they will look at the reviewer like they are mad. Falling blocks, minimal input… a classic???

In many ways Child of Eden is in the same boat but before we discuss that a few other thoughts.

In terms of user interface there are a few things which could have been improved in Child of Eden and it does have a feel in places of a game which hasn’t quite received the polish it needed. The controls for example are not always well thought out. In some areas of the menu for example we will be required to press X/Blue to progress, others it is the standard A/green. In others we have to make extra steps to get to the obvious place, for example entering the level selection screen we are always centred on Matrix rather than being taken to the current, uncompleted level. Essentially Q Entertainment are making things harder for the user than they need to be.

The same can be said of the first level which until completed features tutorial steps which rip the player out of the main game interface to tell them about the weapons, gameplay etc. This is fine the first time round but if we are to die any time during the 10minute duration of that first level we are taken back to the beginning (via the main menu) and are made to see the tutorial steps as we play and there is no options menu item to turn of the tutorial, only a chance to view it outside the main game.

A little bit more thought, care and attention in development would have resolved these issues completely.

So, the game itself…

Playing Child of Eden is a real mix of experiences. First and foremost it will be unique for most players, something they have not experienced before as the music and visuals blend in a way that few games manage. In addition to this new experience there are flashes of more traditional games along the way, the collect stars to unlock levels concept is taken from Mario (and others) the on rails "flight" through waves of enemies with mini and major bosses that have specific sections which must be hit is very reminiscent of Starfox (Lylatwars) as one example and as a result for those on controllers Child of Eden will feel reasonably natural and simple to pick up due to the limited buttons required and give or take a few mistakes each level will be easily completed for the first time in 1-2 attempts.

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For those on Kinect things are a little different though, it is a much more challenging game. Part of this is down to the fact we have to adapt to an entirely new control experience but the game is also more difficult as we lose some of the precision and speed that a hand held controller offers.

Interestingly however the two methods do have one aspect in common, strain. Whether playing hand held or full bodied the constant firing of our weapons will result in finger or arm fatigue after some time playing and breaks will be required. This aspect actually highlights one of the issues that we found with Child of Eden, essentially it is a button masher. Players can fire up a level and other than a few sections which require precision aim (with failure resulting in health loss) the levels can be completed with minimal thought, just tap away on the two main weapons as much as possible. Considering some levels are more than 20 minutes of this near constant firing, it will be tiring for most players.

In addition to this weapon fatigue we also found that the game, being so visually and aurally intense, can cause a little bit of sensory overload, so once again breaks will be required so as to avoid headaches.

We also feel that the developer has missed an opportunity in terms of style by limiting the soundtrack to the electro-dance-pop used in Child of Eden. To many it is a style of music which will not appeal and the game would have benefited from additional genre options appealing to a wider group of people. Classical and soft rock being two which could have been ideal alternatives. In our case the soundtrack was a little too much and we ended up turning down the music and leaving the game to concentrate on the audio provided by our weapons.

Child of Eden also frustrates due to the developers decision not to offer save points, using the Evolution archive as an example, it will take approximately 20 minutes to play through. If we happen to die 19 minutes in we are sent back to the main menu and have to restart the level from scratch. No save points, no quick continue… this and the need to replay levels to get enough stars to open future archives feels a little like they are decisions taken to have the campaign feel longer than it actually should be.

So Child of Eden is not without its faults and it certainly won’t offer huge depth of gameplay or a lengthy "campaign" but it is a game that is very much worth playing and without doubt that is the case for those on Kinect.

In summary, Child of Eden will offer gameplay which is completely unique to each individual user and the success of the visual and aural approach will vary hugely from player to player which makes the game impossible to rate. The game does however offer a style of gameplay and overall experience which should be experienced by Kinect users and with those aspects comes a glimpse into what is possible with the technology.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.