December 29, 2011

Sweet’N Low – Saving Eden

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 12:18 am

Child of Eden
With all the year-end articles that take time out to lament how the Kinect still lacks a single title that breaks the dancing and aerobics fixation, it has crossed my mind that I may have been playing Child of Eden wrong. And yet revisiting the title has confirmed that waltzing while shooting does little to raise my scores. It’s puzzling to say the least.

Returning to Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Kinect-enabled title did offer me the chance to once again glide along a rail through a cosmic ocean though, cleansing red points of infection from particle whales moving along the same tide before eventually vanishing on the horizon that gives birth to a fiery phoenix. My right hand grabbed multiple targets before a flip of the wrist fired locked-on shots. The left hand fired a repeating laser stream into the wings of the bird, producing a sound that left me feeling as if I were running my hands across a harp.

Perhaps this is the point where touch, vision, and sound come together in a harmony that exposes an experience of subtle discovery – you could miss it entirely in the action of firing lasers and target tracking. The sensory experience provides a clean palette for sights and sounds to emerge, so many tiny pieces weaving together in response to the actions of your hands.

Child of Eden also makes an existing genre more accessible, and that open-invitation encourages the desire to perfect the play of the performance the Kinect allows me to conduct.

Playing the game with a standard controller offers a striking difference – not necessarily lesser, but more linear, and something I want to often compare to traveling along the trench of the Death Star. The Kinect alternative never feels like anything less than the absolute emphasis, offering players a chance to feel quite a bit like Johnny Mnemonic – minus the burden of having to be Keanu Reeves, of course.

Eden is a space and place where abstract concepts take physical shape, and symbolic logic builds a complex world awaiting agile hands. Perhaps the accomplishment was doomed to always be undermined by the want for an expensive peripheral to fully appreciate the offering, but the experience left a significant mark on me this year all the same.

October 11, 2011

Review – Space Channel 5 Part 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — TJ "Kyatt" Cordes @ 1:55 pm

Space Channel 5 Part 2
A long time ago, before Tetsuya Mizuguchi created a bunch of synthesthetic puzzle games, he worked for Sega, where he created Space Channel 5. The crazy retro-futuristic style made it one of the most iconic titles for the now-defunct Dreamcast. Last year, when Sega announced that it was going to re-release a series of the Dreamcast’s most popular games in HD for XBLA and PSN, it was only logical that they would include Space Channel 5…

…Part 2, the sequel which was only available for the Dreamcast in Japan. Well, I guess it technically counts, even though a lot of the world knows it better as a budget PS2 release. I suppose the fact that all the backgrounds in the first game were pre-rendered in 480i disqualifies it from being released in HD. Space Channel 5 Part 2 is also a far better game than the original, but it’s still a bizarre choice for a collection that seemed like it was made to bank on Dreamcast nostalgia.

But alas, this is not a review of Sega’s handling of what could have been a great series of downloadable titles – this is a review of a classic rhythm game. Unlike the current wave of peripheral-based rhythm games, in which the goal is to make a small band into a very popular band, older titles of the genre always had a story to tell – though it was usually a completely messed up story.

The story of Space Channel 5 Part 2 features a futuristic news reporter who follows reports of bad guys who take innocent people hostage and force them to dance – which requires out-dancing the bad guys to save the hostages, who then show their appreciation by dancing in line behind her as she continues reporting; this is how you earn TV ratings in space. The game’s heroine, Ulala, does play a guitar and the drums as well, but only to demoralize rival reporters and to fend off the space police (yes, in the future, if you beat the police in a drum battle, they have to let you go – it’s the space law).


June 14, 2010

Trailer Park – Child of Eden

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 6:12 pm

Child of Eden
Above all else, I’ve been waiting all day for a chance to see even a glimpse of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s spiritual successor to Rez. My wish fulfillment can be found after the break with the E3 trailer for Child of Eden.

Keep in mind that I won’t even pretend to understand what is going on within the game just yet, I only know it’s hitting PS3 and the 360, with some putting the words Move and Kinect into play – and that getting my hands on any part of it to feel the game out is my new priority.


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