End Evil

Rez

The videogames industry suffers from a proliferation of souless, badly made, profit driven catastrophes. The cycle generally starts with a decent game (GTA, Doom, Civilisation etc). After these games are seen to be successful, partly because of their originality, the corporate suits sit round in a huddle with under-imaginitive games developers and discuss future projects. Presumably at this points one of them says "hey look at that game, it made alot of money last year" and the others all nod in agreement. One short leap of imagination later and they all decide to make a cheap nasty clone of aforementioned successful game. In short the reason for this is capitalism. Profit, not making a good game, is generally the aim of, at least the publishers, if not the game developers themselves.

Anyway in case you started reading this to find out about Rez I suppose I should move on. I would suggest that Rez represents an attempt to create something original, something different and something, which if successful enough, is destined to be copied over and over ad nauseum. Rez is completely different from any game I have played before, and there have been a few. It is a hard game to explain, if I was to say it is reminiscent of Tron with the wireframe graphics you may be unimpressed but the explosions of colour and light are fantastic. This game also utilises music in a far more interesting way then has ever been done before. We aren´t talking about some cheap simple simon machine in which you copy key presses to create the right tune, this is something altogether more sophisticated.

The background story for the game is frankly irrelevant, so suffice to say you are invading a computer system (you are a virus, as is humanity funnily enough) and you are fighting through levels of a computer defence system to activate the most powerful AI in existence, called Eden. That will do, the story is unimportant as it only provides a very loose backdrop for the game.

Great visuals in Rez

In game you are alternately different types of wireframe man, a glowing ball and a strange kind of blobby thing (apologies if this is too technical). These are the various forms you can evolve through as you progress. Collecting progress items will evolve you and getting hit when attacked will devolve you. You fly through a series of more and more impressive levels trying to destroy a constant flow of attackers, who appear in a wide variety of different forms. In addition to this the timing of your fire at opponents and their subsequent destruction creates and contributes to the music which plays throughout.

The whole game can be played right through in few short hours. Before you complain however, consider the possible differences in your experience each time you replay it. The better you get at timing your attacks, the more complex the music you can build, the more rewarding the psychedelic colourscheme becomes, and ultimately the more enjoyable the whole experience is. The control system is great, very easy to use. Basically you fly along through the levels in constant movement and can change your camera angle to some degree, although the way your character faces is usually a good cue as to where the next wave of attackers is going to spring from. As the action builds up so does the music and lightshow. You hold down x to target enemies and aim with the left analog stick or d-pad. You can target up to eight things before firing, they will then be destroyed in the order in which you targetted them. The gameplay is so fantastic and the visuals and audio so engrossing that you only need two controls, satisfyingly simple.

This is strictly a one player game, I would recommend total darkness to get the most from Rez. It is obviously a good group background thing for after a night of clubbing and does seem in tune with a certain chemically assisted frame of mind. However it is enjoyable and interesting enough that it should be accessible to a wide variety of people. If you have complained about the lack of anything new for your PS2, the endless cycle of licenses and sequels then try this it may restore your faith in gaming.

The game has to lose some points for being too short, although it does have great replay value. It is also very easy and there is no difficulty setting so there is nothing you can do about this. There is nothing else I can really say I didn't like about it. The most original and captivating game from the last few years, a mixture to assault all the senses (except smell and taste obviously). I would recommend buying this game. When I bought it the sales guy said "great choice, this game is the best thing ever, some folk don´t get it though". There´s only one way to find out.


Reviewed by Simon Hill

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