Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rez HD on XBOX 360 Arcade

I miss my Dreamcast. While a small cupboard is all that separates us, a cupboard is as good as a coffin for old consoles. Sure, the Dreamcast still gets pulled out for some classic gaming from time to time, but with Q? Entertainment's release of Rez HD, the blue swirl just got one big step closer to oblivion.

Click here for more.

Originally released by SEGA Japan in 2001 for the Dreamcast and Playstation 2, Rez became an instant cult classic. Seven years on, the game is still fresh: Its unique fusion of music, sound effects and game play are as of yet unsurpassed.

The game's creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi is said to have had no real aspiration to become a game producer until he interviewed at SEGA in 1991. This is amazing, considering he has played a vital role in three of my all time favourite games: Rez, Space Channel 5 and Space Channel 5 Part II.

Set in a future where humanity is intimately linked with computers, players must destroy visual firewalls infected by viruses while searching for lost Eden. Eden is the controlling network entity, that in doubting her purpose and very existence, has fallen into an unwakable sleep. Without her controlling influence, the virtual world is constantly hacked by outside forces. Your task is to navigate this ever changing virtual world, find Eden and wake her from her slumber so that order can be restored.

The game's storyline, while interesting is wholly unimportant. Rez is all about succumbing to the game's hypnotic sounds and imagery, quite literally becoming a part of Mizuguchi's virtual world.

As you can tell from the screen-shots, the visual style is very basic and most elements are created in wire frame. The in-game music is trance-like and the game's sound effects have been crafted to complement the background music perfectly. By playing, you are in fact creating the soundtrack.

That said, the game-play is basically that of a shooter on rails, where your character moves through a set path. Targeting enemies is achieved by holding down a button whilst tracking over them with the D-pad. To destroy targets, you simply release the button and enjoy as your actions create sound elements that are seamlessly integrated into the soundtrack.

When you let Rez take control of your senses it is a bit like watching an iTunes or Winamp visualisation, except you are actively involved in the creation of the visualisations and contribute musical elements as you go.

Words (and to an extent the video) can't adequately describe the whole Rez experience. The only real way to understand the experience, is by not only playing it, but by letting it totally engross you.

In creating an updated high definition version for XBOX 360 Arcade, Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Q? Entertainment have delivered Rez to a whole new generation.

Firstly, the graphics are stunning. Rez HD is the way it was intended - crystal clear, razor sharp wire-frames fill the screen with explosions of colour.

The sound too is amazing. For a game that uses sound so prominently, the 5.1 dolby digital sound is a dream come true.

And at 800 Microsoft points (or approximately $13.00AU) Rez HD is unbeatable value.

To find out more, visit the official Rez HD website.

Luckily, Space Channel 5 (parts one and two) are as yet unavailable on any current generation consoles, making my Dreamcast safe - for now.

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