The moment that Child of Eden, the follow-up to Sega’s trippy musical shooter Rez, starts to look evolutionarily different from its predecessor is during the level known as “Beauty”. It’s a trip through a softly coloured alien world, full of bizarre abstract creatures.
Child of Eden still plays just like Rez, however. It too is an on-rails shooter, with a reticule players control with their outstretched hand when playing the Kinect version (as I did last week). You’ll target and lock onto things that look like butterflies, jellyfish and flowers – or how one might hallucinate all of those things – and unleash a series of shots to purify this world.
It's a stark contrast from the cold, angular world of Rez, but full of the same visual energy, this time more organic. The new version of Child of Eden available at a Microsoft preview event had things we hadn't seen in previous builds, namely a new HUD that kept score, showed our life gauge and how many screen-clearing bombs - Euphoria attacks - we had.
"Beauty" plays familiarly to the Rez fan. It's a flight through a blue-skied world, water rippling beneath the player. Sometimes you dip beneath the surface to see what lies beneath. You'll engage in boss fights with big creatures that are made of petals and tendrils.
We also got a look at the game's collection mechanism. It appears that players will be able to collect creatures and objects from the game's levels ("Archives") and house them in something like an in-game aquarium. How we'll unlock and access these collectibles, Q Entertainment reps wouldn't confirm.
But they did confirm the existence of force feedback for Child of Eden, for up to four Xbox 360 controllers at once. The idea is that, even while playing the hands-free Kinect version, players can put controllers in their pockets to feel the vibration of the game's beat.
Child of Eden's "Beauty" level featured music from Tetsuya Mizuguchi produced musical group Genki Rockets, which generally has an airy, upbeat feel. The remix for the "Beauty" sounded uncharacteristically darker, sounding more like a Rez track than the level looked.
Ubisoft and Q are aiming for a mid-year release for Child of Eden, which is also coming to the PlayStation 3.