Monday, June 02, 2008

For the love of a beautiful game No 1: REZ HD

I’m a gamer, out and proud... 

... and have been since my parents got me a ZX Spectrum (48K 'natch) when I was 8 or 9. Since then I’ve seen them all come and go, the Commodore 64, the Atari, Megadrive, NES, SNES, Gameboy, PS1, Saturn, Dreamcast, N64, GBA, Gamecube, PS2, DS, Xbox; and I’ve owned and still own most of these and have an antique (esq) wooden trunk full of games.

Currently it’s all about the Wii and Xbox360. Don’t own a PS3 and don’t ever intend to.

I finally got onto Xbox Live at the weekend; this is basically Microsofts console server where you can download games, movies, updates, play games with others etc. 

I was after one thing REZ HD.

REZ originally came out for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 (Garfer and Piggy already self-outed as owners; the shame of it!).  The Dreamcast was a doomed console from a manufacturer that had lost sight of what had once made it great. It was also not helped by a limited and poor line up of software and very very strong competition from Sony’s marketing giant. The game itself was not a success and due to the relatively few Dreamcast owners out there it disappeared. However due to it's critical success it was deemed worthy enough for a conversion for the Playstation 2 (I think) a year later.

It was moderately more successful but in light of an increasing trend for ‘realistic urban/war’ games such as the Medal of Honor and Grand Theft Auto series it was already somewhat of an anachronism – an on-rails shooter that last only an hour where most games were trading their desireabilty on many many hours of play (anything less than 20 hours of play is still seen as a rip-off). Few could see it's true worth. 

It again disappeared from gaming store shelves and 2nd hand bins, only to be found on eBay where it was changing hands (for both consoles) at only marginally less than when it was first released (albeit for an elite few, an anathema for the majority of old or 2nd hand games).

The thing is, REZ is not just a game. When you look at the trailer you can see that it appears to be about the visual and the music, and that is the point. It’s meant to be short because it’s meant to be played in one sitting; an hour of crazy shapes and booming beats that vibrate through your hands and arms until before you know it the games over. And although it does look complicated it is in fact very simple, point and shot. 

Just like a great album it has fantastic replay value; something many games simply do not have.

It looks terrific, and sounds fantastic. I hesitate to call it art because the issue of can games be art is so tired right now, and without the appropriate distance it’s impossible to be subjective. Saying that though, I’m certain REZ will be a contender when the definitive history of the first 100 years of video gaming is written.

Even better, Xbox Live has just released it as a download for only 4.00GBP and it’s in beautiful HD. The game looks absolutely phenomenal; crisp, sharp, colourful and loud. In fact the only thing to change is the HD aspect, everything else is as it was. Perfect. An absolutely bargain

GTA 4 is great, of course, and it may be a fun and bang up to date game now, but unlike REZ it just won’t be being played 8 years from when it was released; unlike REZ it will look old and yesterday.

REZ is pure gaming; fun, crazy and diverting. Sure it ain’t the real world but it has absolutely no pretense to be so.

Maybe next (and on a similar theme): JET SET RADIO FUTURE 


Piggy and Tazzy said...

Yay! First!

Golly, we're all going video gamey this week, aren't we?

Rez looks fab!

I'm one of those saddo's that had a Dreamcast. To be honest, I thought it was quite good. Just a pity that it died a death.

garfer said...

Oi, what's an 'ancoryism' when it's at home?

I bought a Dreamcast purely for Phantasy Star, which was a bag o' shite.

Herge Smith said...

Garfer - I think that may have been a mistake.

Blimey, 2 for 2 dreamcast owners, and did neither of you fellas have Rez? What about Jet Grind Radio?

I also have a dreamcast, but i didn't get it until last year - cost me a tenner, and came with a few games.

I'm holding out until 2015 to get a PS3, it'll be about a fiver on ebay by then, as will most houses.

Alex M said...

Nice one. I do love a bit of Rez. Though I had a Dreamcast (recently given up to Gamestation for 20 pieces of silver, or about £5 at todays prices), it was on the PS2 that I discovered it and spent many happy hours giving myself vibration-related circulatory problems. In my hands, I hasten to add.

If I ever get a 360, Rez HD's gonna be one of my first purchases.

Piggy and Tazzy said...

I'm kinda agreeing with Alex - Rez looks better the more I look at it.

I also agree with Grafy that Phantasy Star was shite.

MDK2 and Soul Reaver were my fave games on Dreamcast.

Piggy and Tazzy said...

Grafy? I meant Garfy.

Actually, Grafy sounds rather nice. Yes, I think I may refer to him as Grafy from now on.

Well, for today at least.

He might batter me if I keep it up longer than that.

Herge Smith said...

Honestly fellas, REZ HD is the shit! and absolutely the reason we've all traded in our perfectly fine CRT TV's for this new fancy tech.

Alex, get yourself a 360 and get on LIVE - same for you Piggy.

You know you want it.

MDK2 was another somewhat underrated game.

Alex M said...

Would like a 360, but we've got a baby on the way and the missus would have my baws for a pair of fetching designer ear-rings if I blew 300 quid right now.

Might be worth it though. :)

Herge Smith said...

Hmm... plus it sounds like you already have a wii... it's unseemly for a fella to have a babbie and 2 consoles.

garfer said...

A fella with a babbie needs at least three consoles and a separate room in which he may game free from the demands of the grasping infant.

Herge Smith said...

See, that's what I think, that SHOULD be the rule, but the reality is everything is sacrificed for the babbie.

My mate had a love, A LOVE of guitars and amps and as soon as his significant fell up the duff all traces of a former existence were wiped clean. Even his divine Nad separates and kick-ass speakers.

MJ said...

Divine nads?

Who has divine nads?

Herge Smith said...

MJ - you're like a moth to flame. Got to admire that.

Alex M said...

Nah, to be fair she's cool about it, and I am only joking about getting a 360 right now. Though once things have settled down a bit financially I dare say I could table the motion. Hell, it was her idea to get the Wii.

Herge Smith said...

The Wii has been fantastic in bridging the gamer gap. of course most people don't see the similarity between the wii and every other console.