Child of Eden Review: An Experience With Synesthesia
Child of Eden is an extraordinary game. Created by the mind of Tetsuya Mizuguchi who brought gamers the sleeper hit known as Rez back on the Dreamcast and PS2 over a decade ago, Child of Eden follows a structure much in line with its predecessor.
As an on-rail arcade shooter, the task at hand is quite simple in nature: shoot your way through levels and attempt to reach a high score. These old school mechanics aren’t what makes the game phenomenal.
Regardless, it is the visual and musical aspects that come into play while moving through this experience that make it special.
The story revolves around a girl named Lumi, the first human being to ever be born in outer space. Lumi dies before the game even begins. Though her wish to interface and touch humanity live on as her memories were preserved in Eden – the futuristic evolution of what we today know as the internet. Eden preserves all of humanities’ historical existence in its data archives alongside Lumi’s memories. In the 23rd century, the world of Eden is threatened by a viral outbreak. The player is tasked with saving Eden so that the project to create an artificial Lumi persona from the archives can succeed.
Part of what makes Child of Eden so enticing is how the game is played. While the game supports conventional controls, the experience changes entirely when using the Playstation 3′s Move controller or the 360′s Kinect sensor. It is here that the experiences of synesthesia come into play. For those who do not know, synesthesia is the idea of melding multiple senses into one unified experience. Hands dance around in a symphony as they destroy enemies with a variation of laser attacks: the aptly named Octo-Laser allows players to lock on and destroy up to eight enemies at once, while the Tracer fires a constant machine gun-like barrage on foes. A single-use desperation attack known as Euphoria also exists. This allows the player to wipe the screen completely of all enemies and attacks, should things prove too hectic.
Music evolves to the player’s rhythm, composing and conducting the destruction of foes in the journey through Eden. It is the job of the player to constantly balance melody with survival in order to get the highest score possible. The soundtrack is simply a joy to listen to, each stage features a unique sound that builds to the intensity of activity on screen. Missing an enemy or taking damage means sacrificing pieces of the music, an extra helping of incentive to go for the high score.
Amazing as this game is, it is admittedly quite short. There are only five chapters to play through, each one ranging from ten to fifteen minutes each. Through various situations of trial and error, the core game can be beaten in roughly two hours or so. Even so, it’s an experience that make use of sight, sound, and touch, melding them together into an unforgettable experience, is something that shouldn’t be missed in a lifetime. Child of Eden is available now for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
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