Child of Eden Preview: Story, New Levels, and Playing Without the Kinect

The latest game from the makers of Rez continues to impress.

If you've been following Child of Eden since its announcement at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, it shouldn't be too surprising to hear that Q Entertainment's upcoming musical shooter is shaping up to be a bundle of gorgeous fun. In our previous looks at the game, we've just had the chance to try individual levels that have dazzled with their impressive visuals and made a case for Microsoft's Kinect as a control option. However, in our latest look at the game--based on a work-in-progress version of the Xbox 360 game that features a fair amount of the game's final content with four playable levels and various menus to poke around in--we've finally been able to get a proper feel for what the game is going to offer. And, most importantly, we got a feel for its controls with and without the optional Kinect.

The nearly complete version of the game we tried let us a start a new game from the beginning, giving us the chance to see the narrative set up via an introductory cinematic and some text. We also got to play through the first four levels of the game, leaving the fifth a surprise. Before hopping into the game, we had the chance to poke around the game's menus and see that there will be a variety of art, video, menu option content, and more that will have to be unlocked through playing the game. While most of the unlockables are just art to be appreciated, you'll find content to customize the game's menu, new modes, difficulties, and ways to modify the game that will keep it interesting.

The visuals in this latest version of the game improve on what we've seen before and look fantastic. The surreal world you'll be blazing through in Child of Eden is a trippy pastiche of art styles that shine in HD. The only tricky bit of the experience is that you'll likely find yourself either so focused on your score that you may miss a lot of the beauty on display or get so distracted by the environments that you'll have a hard time getting through levels. Each stage is packed with detail--great, small, flashy, and everything in between--that already shines in HD even in its work-in-progress state. And don't get us started on the vibrant color that brings all the stages to life. Q's art team is clearly going for broke with the power afforded to it by the Xbox 360 and infusing as much color as possible in the levels, making Child of Eden the game that epilepsy warnings were made for (and we mean that in a good way).

Obviously, the dazzling visuals in Child of Eden would be just eye candy if the game didn't make equally ambitious use of sound. The tunes in the game, provided by Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Genki Rockets, complement the visuals in exactly the way you'd want them to, which makes for a rich, immersive experience. While we can appreciate that Child of Eden's thumping tracks may not suit everyone's groove in terms of personal preference, they have a certain universal appeal, thanks to the game's overall presentation.

One of the notable features of this version of Child of Eden was the option to spend some quality time with the controller as opposed to the Kinect. Although the game wasn't quite complete, with control refinements and other tweaks still happening, we've gotten a proper impression of the two control options. Basically, both offer two distinct experiences with the game; one traditional and one that's more experiential. As you'd expect, the controller is your traditional option, mapping out your actions to the analog stick and face buttons. You'll move your cursor with the stick, use X to fire your rapid-fire tracer shot, A for the lock-on shot, and B for your Euphoria smart bomb. It's a simple, responsive layout that's precise, allowing players to rack up high scores amid the Technicolor mayhem. While you'll earn points for successfully blasting anything, the real points will come from pulling off perfect combos with the lock-on shot. If your reflexes and rhythm are good, you'll be able to get a groove going by locking on to the maximum number of enemies and releasing your shot on beat. Pulling off the rhythmic combo will earn you a score multiplier that you can repeat for a maximum of eight times, earning you a ton of points.

The Kinect offers a more immersive, experiential control option that's obviously more physical, relying on motion and gestures. The control scheme for the Kinect has been expanded to offer more options for players, which is good. The first option is in line with what we've played before; you'll control your onscreen cursor with one hand, clap to switch between weapons, and make like a cheerleader by making a "Y" to trigger the screen-clearing Euphoria bomb. The second option offers more precise options, thanks to mapping each shot type to a hand. You'll use the tracer when moving the cursor with your left hand and the lock on with your right. Sadly, the Euphoria bomb is still triggered with a human "Y." While high scores are possible, especially with the second Kinect control option, they are more challenging due to the peripheral's current limitations. The game does take this into account and offers different score values for earning stars at the end of each level based on your selected input option, so you won't be penalized for your choice. The stars are key to unlocking new levels and content, so earning them will be a priority when playing. While different, we can understand the appeal and accessibility of the Kinect for people who want an alternative control option.

Child of Eden continues to leave us with a positive impression and a smile on our face after playing. The game's gorgeous and inventive visuals marry nicely with the simple but addictive gameplay. While we appreciate the inclusion of Kinect, we're very grateful that controller support is on hand as well. As we mentioned, Child of Eden offers two distinct gameplay experiences with each input device, and we're happy we have the choice to pick whichever suits our mood. We're also happy to see a decent chunk of unlockable content to encourage replays. All told, longtime fans of Q and Mizuguchi's work should be excited by what's coming. Newcomers who may be unsure if Child of Eden's playable laser-light show is for them should give it a try. There hasn't been anything quite like the game in this generation of consoles, so it's worth a look.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

59 comments
SesameSeeds
SesameSeeds

@mickey_mickey48 so far the best game i ve seen in kinect is dance central thats why i want to have kinect also

mickey_mickey48
mickey_mickey48

Till this moment not a single kinect game gave me interest.

Crocodile3
Crocodile3

I fancy a break from FPS games, so I am going to get this. Although I am not sure what else is out in June Is this made by the same people as Lumines? That was brilliant on the PsP.

da_illest101
da_illest101

i feel like the music is the only thing worth liking about this game

Stigmaticn
Stigmaticn

It's official. Kinect has been out for what... six months ... and they're already out of ideas. I mean... it's pretty and all, but a rail shooter?

hasancakir
hasancakir

it's so......colourful......it could be nice a after-drink game :)

styx56
styx56

Too bad the ps3 version won't be released till September though.

onthe_dl
onthe_dl

this game will be awesome. Not a day one buy but after a few months and a price drop I will be saving eden.

erikthepoes
erikthepoes

they should fuse this game with dance central and call it Child of Dancing Eden Central

Decrate
Decrate

i still have no idea what this game is about all i see are a bunch of colors and effects

milkweed5
milkweed5

And the 2011 winner for "Game that Induced the Most Seizures" goes to....Child of Eden! Looks interesting.

srujay
srujay

this game looks fun for a while.. then will be repetitive and boring! just like all kinect games!

KAM10000
KAM10000

The game is not bad its nice.

calum1984
calum1984

@lamprey263 your failing to take into account rezhd was a remake of a dreamcast game hence the price, child of eden is a new game that cost money to develop. Boils down to whether you like these type of games in the first place to know whether its worth it, id pay it at least ive always liked games like res, panzer dragoons (the first 2 on rail shooters), afterburner, and space harrier so this is right up my alley well worth it in my eyes. On the note project draco is really the one to watch for me some of the developers from panzer dragoon are on the team making it......

sleepingzzz
sleepingzzz

Requirements for this game: Xbox360 Kinect TV Drugs

aryeec
aryeec

This looks kinda fun. If I had a 360 and kinect, I'd probably get it.

lamprey263
lamprey263

I don't have Kincet but if it plays like Rez HD then I should be just fine with regular non-Kinect controls. My only concern is will this be worth it. I mean Rez HD was what, $5 or $10, it was a good bang for its buck, Child of Eden will probably be $60, I'm having second thoughts about day one buying if it's going to be short. I mean I'm not even used to buying these 5 hour games for $60, I need to get used to that before I start buying 1 - 2 hour games for $60.

El_Esbirro
El_Esbirro

Gimmicks and more gimmicks...........buy accesories and more junk that you will only use for that game ONLY!....PASS! when will they learn that if i want to swing, kick, punch, dash or whatever other action you do with either the kinectic, move or wii, i rather go outside and DO IT! when i play games, give me my CONTROLLER!!!

XAF1
XAF1

I'm looking forward to this game but hearing that the Kinect is optional sort of shakes my confidence in it not feeling like "been there, done that." When I saw the E3 video last year the Kinect was really the only thing that caught my attention about the game. I really would never buy it otherwise. The eye candy is nice but that's exactly what it is, a shooter with eye candy and nice music. Hopefully the Move and Kinect can make it feel like more than that.

Fureh
Fureh

Dude in the video looks baked lol

Anoush13
Anoush13

This game looks pretty awesome, but can't help but think it will turn out pretty bad due to Kinect. I'm not saying Kinect is bad, but when it comes to precise, and small movements, it really doesn't hold up to the PS Move. Move was built for prevision, especially for aiming, and would be perfect for a game like this! Kinect is better for games using the whole body, because it tracks bigger motions so much better! I don't know, I may be wrong, but from what I've seen from my Kinect so far, just makes me thing this game won't be the best for Kinect.

diazorlando90
diazorlando90

if that freaking girl pops up im not buying it

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Oh wow. I must have missed when they first covered this because I haven't seen this before now. Rez was truly excellent and this looks like it will be too. Watching this one very closely indeed....

IceJester45
IceJester45

Still looking awesome. I can't wait. It's good to see unique games like this one.

TBoogy
TBoogy

Watching this guy play the game in the above trailer, I couldn't help but get a "Neo inside the Matrix" feel. Which is a good thing still, for me.

KevinnButlerNPK
KevinnButlerNPK

Wow the irony of a person with a Mii talking about an MS product being imprecise is lol worthy.

Twiztid-Maddox
Twiztid-Maddox

Child of Eden will be great, just can't wait to play it with Move! Kinect is too weird, I'd feel dumb playin this game on a 360...

y2kern
y2kern

this games looks nice. this new gamespot site looks wierd, i prefer the older one

Indyskater
Indyskater

I knew Kinect couldn't handle this, that's why they have to lower the score value for earning stars. Kinect always did seem useless and imprecise to me as a game device. Good thing for the controller option. I hate playing standing up anyway, unless it's a sports title where you just get up to do your thing and sit back down.

jecht_35
jecht_35

kind of tripy but looks interesting will follow.

KC_Hokie
KC_Hokie

I might have to get a Kinect for this game.

Swedenik
Swedenik

WOOAAH, what happened to the site! Its all new and what not

FamousCalibur
FamousCalibur

simply a beautiful game, but i leave for 2 hours and gamespot changes on me, that was random lol but i like it :)

Skargamer
Skargamer

I'm liking the new layout! :) The game sounds cool too. :P

Skirikidik
Skirikidik

I still can't get over how wierd people look using the Kinect, much wierder than semi-traditional handsets like the Wii controller and PS move. Also, that girl that your supposed to save flashing on screen was creepy, not to mention jarring. Way to not kep with the graphic style. Negativity, negativity negativity.

Skirikidik
Skirikidik

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Skirikidik
Skirikidik

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SilverLlama
SilverLlama

it looks like something you would play at an arcade

Freakazoid_br
Freakazoid_br

@reanor I understand (though do not agree with) your critics on the lack of innovation, but you shouldn't appeal to building vs killing arguments if the things you build will kill the "pretty flying things" to begin with. Be consistent.

pjordan0404
pjordan0404

looks different but It still doesnt look all that fun and the comtrols look awful for kinect

reanor2
reanor2

Why shooting? Why not creating instead of destroying? Like instead of shooting why not change that mechanic to like generating new things that can eat those other bad things. You move your hand and good things start to follow your movement you point them to the bad things and they eat them, or why nto a game with a logic of building some superficial structure with moving your hands. You are artist, but instead of shooting you build. They are making better games every year but still use same old dumb mechanics. Oh yeah lets make these pretty things fly around and lets KILL them! *roll eyes*