Rez – Second Opinion

Rez is something of an odd duck to review, like many recent genre-bending Sega games. I can definitely appreciate its richness and vibrancy, but I can also understand why it didnt exactly become a blockbuster hit.

Personally, I thought the music aspect of it was an interesting novelty, but not really that big a deal when you get right down to it. I focused more on playing it as a shooter and appreciated the quirky sounds in an incidental fashion. Im not the biggest techno-music fan in the world, and the soundtrack to the game never really grabbed me or put me in a groove. To my ear, it sounded mostly like blips and bleeps atop a bass beat, and only resembles a fully produced track when youre firing up a screen full of enemies. I echo Jamess thoughts when he says that the final piece of music was the strongest, and I also concur when he says that it would have been interesting to see what Rez would have been like with a wider range of music. While hardcore clubgoers may want to take a few "mood enhancers" before playing Rez, the aural selection really didnt do very much for me.

Visually, James is right on the money when he calls Rez psychedelic. I thought the presentation of the simple wireframes and trippy colors was extremely fresh and appealing in an electro-minimalist-retro kind of way. The concept and general flavor appealed to the art-y side of me, especially when you take into account the games premise. The simplicity of the stages matches the simplicity of the music, giving a good sense of balance on a metaphysical level.

Looking at the actual gameplay, Rez plays like Panzer Dragoons second cousin, twice removed. Being the Panzer fan that I am, I found the shooter portion of game itself to be reflexively enjoyable. However, be warned that its pretty simple and shallow. After getting accustomed to the games visual barrage, I managed to zone through it in about two or three well-glazed hours. Its short and sweet, but when I was done, I was DONE. None of the extras were compelling enough for me to put any serious effort into replay, and despite Rezs strange, hypnotically addicting personality, its charm wears off rather quickly. Its powerful when taken in small doses, but Rez is not a game to be played for the long haul.

For those gamers who are willing to take Rez on its own terms, theyll find an interesting, unique experience thats exactly what the psychiatrist ordered. However, its more of a mind-altering novelty than a traditional game, so some people may find that the brief high isnt worth the crash of being $50 poorer.