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 colored, garden-like 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 aesthetic of Rez, but full of the same visual energy, this time more organic. The new version of Child of Eden available at a recent 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.
Child of Eden now plays better than it had before at Tokyo Game Show 2010, with Kinect controls showing less lag, making it easier to target and shoot objects and enemies on screen. Camera control was still something of an issue when playing with a Kinect-controlled reticule. It was easy to lose one's bearings while zipping through this abstract world.