Review: Rez HD


Having played the Dreamcast and PS2 version of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game, Rez HD, since it was announced back in September ‘07. The game was finally released today, and I couldn’t be happier.

While the original Dreamcast version will cost you about $50 on eBay, and the PS2 version running at least $30, the Live Arcade version is only 800 Microsoft Points, or $10 – an absolute steal!


Hopefully you’ve figured out that the “HD” in Rez HD means that the game has undergone a visual face lift. It now runs in full 720p with 5.1 surround sound. The game looks absolutely fantastic, and plays equally as well. The controls are very simple – use the left analog stick to target your enemies, and hold down the A button to lock on to up to eight at once, Panzer Dragoon style. You can not technically move your character, but you will notice yourself moving around slightly depending on where you’re aiming the target reticle.

All of the Mizuguchi goodness from the previous iterations from the game are present, Tetsuya himself was quoted saying that the game was “100% the same game” as the original. But to top things off and please even the most hardcore, there is an option to play the original game exactly as it appeared on the Dreamcast. This does not have to be unlocked, and is available right from the main menu. However, with the gameplay exactly intact, the HD version is the way to go when it comes to reliving this sensory euphoria all over again. Unique to the Xbox version is the capability to have three trance vibrators running at the same time.

A “trance vibrator” is what they called the extra peripheral that came with the special edition of the PS2 version of Rez, released only in Japan. This was a USB-device that was essentially a souped-up rumble pack, capable of rumbling much stronger than the Duelshock. The trance vibrator thumps along with the beat of the music to appeal to your sense of touch, while the game overwhelms your sense of sight and sound with its beautiful vector-visuals and trance music. Mizuguchi has stated that he did not originally intend for the trance vibrator to ever be used for any sexual reasons, but ever since Game Girl Advance’s story about how she used the device, the internet can’t seem to think of anything else whenever Rez gets mentioned.

When you have extra 360 controllers turned on, you can enter the options menu and enable them as trance vibrators. While playing, I liked to either set an extra controller on my stomach/lap while playing, or place it in between my feet on the floor. The vibrations aren’t a distraction, like some people may think, but instead only immerse you even deeper into the gameplay.

Lots of unlockables, Live leaderboards, and the unique trance vibrator support make this a must-have title on the Xbox 360, especially if you’re one of the sad souls who has never played it before. It’s less than a third of the price you’ll find it anywhere else, and it’s better. Sit down with a friend, let them hold a trance-vibrator, and take turns experiencing true synesthesia. Even if you play this game by yourself though (it is only single player, after all), you won’t be dissapointed. You’ll see why lots of gamers consider Mizuguchi’s masterpiece an almost religious experience – especially after you beat the final area of the game.

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