The return of an experience that transcends videogame boundaries.
Preview by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
January 22nd 2008
That's the word that Rez creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, coined to describe this all new experience he unleashed on an unprepared world after the strangely addictive Space Channel 5. I have a different word to describe the full effect of the Rez experience: sublime. Because on the surface, it's a very simple game. You move the cursor around with the button held down and it'll accumulate targets to destroy in a burst of flame and scattered polygons. When you shoot (or when you misfire), it makes a sound. So do the explosions and various nefarious attacks of your enemies. Yet these are just little bleeps and bloops for your brain to process as hit or miss. They are woven directly into the musical expression of Rez, just as the visuals and vibration. The result: synaesthesia.
As the owner of both the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 versions of Rez, I felt a jolt of joy when the release date for this XBLA revision was finally announced. This is a game I have beaten to death over two consoles, defeated all of its stages, plumbed all of its secrets, but I'm still eager for more. I know it didn't sell well on its two initial outings, but I'm guessing the odd screenshots and indecipherable videos ended up putting people off. This is one game, perhaps one of the few, that can't be appreciated until you have it in your hands. Simple mechanics become a gateway to a transcendent experience that's still without equal. Now that it comes in high resolution with rich 5.1 sound, fear really will be a mind killer.
The developers have taken it even further for this port, allowing the player to customize both the sounds and visuals with all new filter options. There will also be online leaderboards to brag about your high score, and replay data to pour over to bring that score a little higher. For fans of the infamous transvibrator, you haven't been forgotten as a special option will trigger the vibration in all the other Xbox 360 controllers, to get a buzz wherever you feel like being buzzed.
So prepare to descend down into the depths of a hostile computer system, confronting rogue programs as you evolve yourself into a perfect state of bliss, only to reach the legendary stage 5, where the horizon stretches to the limits of imagination.
Sublime. Synaesthesia. Rez.