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Rez HD (Xbox 360) artwork

Rez HD (Xbox 360) review

"Let's imagine for a bit here, you're a hacker and you know of the existence of a computer that may hold the answer to all that is life, the universe and everything. That computer is heavily secured and packed with the most sophisticated anti-hacker software ever created. Would you try to hack that computer? "

Let's imagine for a bit here, you're a hacker and you know of the existence of a computer that may hold the answer to all that is life, the universe and everything. That computer is heavily secured and packed with the most sophisticated anti-hacker software ever created. Would you try to hack that computer?

Well, REZ is that and more.

REZ is a mixture between a rhythm and a shooting game. To make it short, REZ would be the baby of a twisted relationship between Beatmania and Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner. Combining rhythm action elements with rail shooting game play, you have to hear, and feel the beat to shoot down as many enemies possible with your ray-gun and complete the stages in each level. There are 10 stages and a boss level per one of each of the 4 levels, and a secret level when you successfully analyze 100% those 4 levels.

REZ is a pioneer on this kind of games, mixing music with another kind of game play not related to what is seen in traditional rhythm action games, for example DDR, that would be later be seen on games like Every Extend Extra and the extremely popular LUMINES, which were created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi.

REZ is a pretty easy game to pick up and play. Basically what you do is shoot down your enemies, the viruses that will try to prevent you from accessing and analyzing the data that each one of the levels holds. You can also create combos depending on how many you eliminate, though you can only get up to 8 maximum per combo shot.

And what's the importance of creating combos? You create music with it. Like I said before, this game involves rhythm strategies, like the ones you would find in other musical games, i.e. Rock Band or PaRappa the Rapper. Not only will this be creating a musical experience for your ear buds, it will also be creating a strategy for you to use against your enemies. This is pretty much what makes REZ so popular among Rhythm Action and Shooter players alike.

The difficulty for this game is not that high, but inexperienced players may have some problems at later levels. Though a little practice by playing Travelling mode and you can master REZ like a pro. The main game takes about 2-3 hours to beat depending on your skill, but at the end of each level you have percentages (or grades) of what you did in that level: analyzation, if you collected each cube at the end of each stage, shot down, how many enemies you eliminated, and support items, how many items you collected through out the level.

The items you can collect in the stages are some blue crosses that fill your health bar, called evolution meter, collect 8 and get a new health level. There are also some red balls that fill your Overdrive meter, this is a sub-weapon that works in the same way as a charged shot, pretty much eliminating big enemies or a whole bunch of small ones. But you only have 4 shots so use them wisely. These items are pretty useful to complete the game and its other game modes.

The different game modes available make the game more challenging and pretty addicting. Score Attack is what its name says, you try to shoot down as many enemies and get as many points as possible by doing combos in each level. Direct Assault is pretty similar to Score Attack, but in this mode you have to complete the game in one sit, and even though there are the same numbers of stages and levels in this mode, the difficulty is higher than in the main game mode, since there are more enemies that appear on screen and attack you at once. These game modes can be pretty difficult and they are recommended for experienced players.

While playing, you'll experience a load of astonishing visuals and audio effects, even though this is a last-gen title. Though you may think that I'm lying at first when playing those first stages, seeing only what seems to be the stage, the enemies and hearing just a tune beat. But remember, you create those experiences. The more you advance in the game, the more you feel that you're creating that fabulous experience. In later stages you'll have more visuals, like psychedelic colors, screen faders, colorful explosions, and some pretty weird images. Also, that simple tune beat will be now a complete trance song that will go accordingly with the visual setting, creating a sensation only this game can offer. And since this is REZ HD, the enhanced visuals and audio make it a whole lot better. But for some reason these aren't turned on by default so you first have to access the "help and options" menu and turn them on, specially the rumble and Trance Vibrator options.

If you have two or more controllers, you can activate Trance Vibration mode that will make all your controllers vibrate to the beat of each stage, making it a more worthwhile experience. It is recommended that you use three controllers while using Trance Vibrator options, one on your back, the other one on your feet and the third one to be able to play of course.

REZ HD is a game that by its simple yet original game play method, it will keep you coming for more, and even if you already own REZ for the PS2 or Dreamcast consoles, the enhancements made in REZ HD, like the adapted and maybe superior Trance Vibrator options, make it a worthy successor for this generation of gaming consoles.

deft's avatar
Community review by deft (August 05, 2008)

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