Motion Control Euphoria: Child of Eden and PlayStation Move

ChildOfEden_0059.jpg

First released in June for Xbox 360, Q? Entertainment’s Child of Eden, the psychedelic, multi-sensory rail shooter successor to Rez, makes its long-awaited debut on PS3 this week. It’s a spectacular game. This is how I succinctly described it in my previous review of the Xbox 360 edition:

“Imagine tripping out on a hallucinogenic drug while listening to pulsing techno music, staring into a kaleidoscope, and experiencing the most intense orgasm of your entire life, all at the same time. That’s what playing Child of Eden is like.”

Nothing has changed in the jump to PS3 (except that the PS3 version supports stereoscopic 3D for even crazier visuals, if you have a compatible TV), so consult my original review for more basic details about the game and why I believe it’s totally worth buying, regardless of platform or control method. However, since I wasn’t able to test the optional Kinect control scheme the first time around, I would like to take a moment to tell you about how the game functions as a motion control experience.

ChildOfEden_0002.jpg

Armed with an early PS3 copy, I spent Friday night through the weekend revisiting Child of Eden’s trippy archives, this time with PlayStation Move in hand. First let me be clear: Move controls are entirely optional. The game can be played with a stock DualShock 3 – you aim with the analog stick, hold the Cross button to lock onto targets and release to fire, and slam on the Square button to pop off Tracer rounds. This method works great.

Things are a little different with a Move controller plugged in. As you would do in any light gun style shooter, you aim simply by pointing at the screen and engage the T trigger to fire the Tracer. Unleashing a screen-clearing Euphoria bomb takes only a quick tap of the Move button. Conversely, firing the lock-on laser requires no buttons whatsoever. Lock-on is achieved automatically as you paint the cursor over up to eight targets at once. Then, with a firm forward flick or thrust of the wrist a swarm of lasers bursts across the screen, each one homing in on its respective target.

I wouldn’t say playing Child of Eden with Move enhances immersion in any particular way. By that I mean you don’t necessarily feel like you are directly touching and interacting with the game on a virtual reality level, as seems to be the intention. But the game flat out plays better with a Move controller versus a DualShock.

ChildOfEden_0048.jpg

I typically choose analog sticks and face buttons as my preferred method of video game control when given the option, so I was skeptical at first. But after working through the tutorial and forgetting the joystick controls I was used to from the many hours I spent with the Xbox 360 version, I didn’t want to fight for Lumi and Eden’s survival without a Move firmly in my grasp, the neon glow of the wand’s orb matching the cascade of sparks and lights displayed on the screen.

When switching back to a DualShock, I felt like I was playing at a slight disadvantage. With the Move, aiming, targeting, and firing are performed collectively with one quick, fluid hand movement. In this instance, motion control feels so natural, so effortless; not forced and ‘waggly’. While effective on its on, aiming with an analog stick isn’t nearly as zippy or as accurate by comparison. A wave of the arm allows you to instantly sweep the entire screen and quickly paint eight targets for an Octa-Lock, something that requires greater skill and thumb stick dexterity with a traditional controller.

One negative I will say against this game’s Move implementation, though, is that the calibration process can be annoyingly finicky, particularly when attempting to play from a seated position. I am rarely able to get an accurate calibration without going through the process a few times, as the cursor always seems to track a few inches lower than where I’m actually aiming on the first try. Standing up further back from the PlayStation Eye, the calibration does sync up quicker. But it’s still a slower process than most Move games I’ve played, and far from the desired plug and play operability.

It has taken some time, but over the course of the year the PlayStation Move has shaken off its slow, gimmicky start to establish a lead position as gaming’s top motion controller. A high quantity of great and diverse games is the main reason why, and Child of Eden is one more Move-enabled standout to add to the growing list.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!