Child of Eden
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Shooter; Publisher: Ubisoft
ESRB Rating: E, for Everyone
Grade: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Child of Eden is technically a shooting game — but in it, your weapon is filled with groovy bullets.
In the future, humankind revels in space exploration and deep thought, accompanied by harmonious music. A virus attacks Lumi, the first child born in space, so you take to the skies to fight brightly colored infections bent on destroying her life force.
Oh yeah, and your weapon is song.
I won’t fault you for thinking this sounds like something from an Enya video or a creation of Bjork. But if you let that stop you from considering this game, you’ll miss out on an intriguing concept game.
The game is only a few hours long, but it will grab your attention for all the right reasons.
Child of Eden uses a regular controller, but it’s best if played via Kinect, creating a shooting game that plays like conducting an orchestra.
As you spin through space with enemies swirling around you, your hands serve as lock-on and firing controls, with each hit registering tones and notes.
String them together, and the sounds blend seamlessly into the ethereal music in the background.
This culminates in extended boss battles where long stretches of musical creation occur with a flick of your wrists, and each movement creates something fresh and new. The accompanying hyperkinetic light show resembles what I imagine happens at a rave without having to coat yourself in fluorescent body paint.
You unlock loads of extra content as you progress, composing music that veers across the house-techno-aqua-whatever genres, pairing naturally with all the streaming, vivid colors.
This game might be an underground advertisement for the drug Ecstasy, but there is no denying its playful, enticing qualities.
Child of Eden doesn’t last long, but I’ll promise you’ve never played anything like it.
NCAA Football 12
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre: Sports; Publisher: EA Sports
ESRB Rating: E, for Everyone
Grade: 2.5 stars
NCAA Football has always been a fantastic collegiate sports series in terms of on-field action, but the details off the field have mired the game in tedium. This year’s edition is no different.
Gamers will notice a few tweaks to the game-day action, some good and some bad.
The AI continues to impress, as each iteration fields players who are more agile and aware of their surroundings.
Blockers and defenders adjust as the play progresses, unlike wide receivers, who still run routes on rails without adjusting to defensive schemes.
There is no reason it can’t work both ways.
NCAA Football 12 sucks gamers into a vortex of menus when they’re not playing an actual game.
Dynasty Mode and Road to Glory suffer the same fate — gamers can spend hours recruiting players, and none of it feels fun because of all the navigation to submenus; it’s all bland static screens and no action.
Road to Glory is especially frustrating, because of how easy it is to create a player who instantly becomes the best prospect in the nation.
Nothing else on the market compares with NCAA Football 12, except perhaps NCAA Football 11, which provided a similar outing without new frills. If you crave the newest offering, go for it, but most gamers won’t miss a thing by sticking with what they already have.
Follow Chris Campbell at twitter.com/campbler or e-mail him at game_on_games@com.