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Rez

aka: K-Project, Project Eden, Rez HD, Vibes
Moby ID: 5613
PlayStation 2 Specs
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Description official descriptions

Rez is a fast-action shooter that takes you deep into the world’s computer network. The “Project K” Network has recently been upgraded to handle the rapid expansion of the information age and the core, known as “Eden,” holds the most advanced artificial intelligence the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, Eden cannot handle the ability to create her own thoughts and buckles under the pressure of an existential breakdown. She is lost deep inside the system, and you’re the only one that can bring her back online, saving the world from utter chaos.

You must blast complex viruses, unlock passwords, and destroy firewall bosses as you search for Eden. Each stage is in a constant state of flux dependent on your shooting techniques, which ultimately control the music and colors of your environment. The deeper you get into the dreamlike cyber world of Rez, your form will evolve or devolve depending on your progress.

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

32 People (27 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

Vice President of Product Development
Product Manager
Localization Manager
Associate Product Manager
Localization Producer
Director of Marketing
Lead Tester
Director of Creative Services
Assistant Lead Testers
Graphic Design
Core Tester
CS Project Coordinator
Public Relations
Special Thanks
Producer
Director
Graphic Designer
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 85% (based on 65 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 114 ratings with 3 reviews)

You'll either love it or hate it.

The Good
The immersion. The graphics and sound combine in an incredible way to enable you to completely immerse yourself within the title - it is this factor which will determine whether you fall in love with the game or not. If you can let yourself be immersed by it you'll fall in love. If you can't, then you'll likely hate it, and not understand the attraction. The plot, though very basic, works well enough, and the way that each level (and your character) evolve is incredibly well thought out. There are no life-bars in this game - you simply change form as you are damaged or gain energy - from the base form of a sphere, through gradually more complex humanoid models, to a floating sound-form, to the final form of what appears to be a baby, the transition has to be seen to understand just how well it works.

The Bad
Nothing! But, if I hadn't been so immersed, I would likely have picked up upon the brevity of the game (though to get the "true" ending and all bonuses you're going to have to put in a huge amount of effort, so for me it wasn't an issue), and the fact that it's "only" an on-rails shooter.

The Bottom Line
An experience, and one that I can't guaruntee you'd enjoy. Approach the game with an open mind and hopefully you'll get the most out of it.

Dreamcast · by yprbest (103) · 2003

It's a shooter, a techno trance video, and a reason to crank the volume up.

The Good
It's different. Groundbreaking on a top of the line platform. Reminds me of an old commodore 64 game called moondust. It's a visual and aural experience. It has cool references to network hacking as Tron did 20 years ago. And it's a Sega game.

The Bad
Hard to find. But other than that there are no complaints at all.

The Bottom Line
Start with a shooter. You lock on to multiple targets as in the classic Panzer Dragoon games. There is a hard driving techno beat in the BGM that is enhanced by your shooting. Your character evolves into stronger forms as you progress through the network. It is a bit strange and not for the platformer or sports game crowd.

PlayStation 2 · by gametrader (208) · 2003

Absolutely brilliant!

The Good
Rez can hardly be described in words. When I first saw the game in a computer game show called GameOn in Israel (although I've come to understand it's an international show?), I was utterly confused; the game seemed to me like a chaotic collection of vectors with no apparent pattern or intention. Which brings me to the point: Rez is impossible to understand without playing it.

The game is essentially a pretty simple rail shooter, with minimal controls; the variety and uniqueness comes from the perfect blending of senses: sight, hearing and touch. The game makes absolutely no sense when you can't hear it, because it is architected so that the music, sound effects, force feedback joystick and game visuals work and respond in tandem to the player actions. Playing Rez is different every time, because what you (as the player) do is slightly different, and the game responds differently: subtle shifts in the musical patterns, sound effects that match the pattern of the background music, thump patterns on the force feedback joystick. Are you getting the drift? No? Didn't think so - because the game is impossible to explain, and has to be played to be "understood".

The graphics in Rez indeed look chaotic to the casual observer, but are in fact an orderly mess of vectors and lines. Self-proclaimed to be heavily influenced by the works of Russian artist Wasilly Kandinsky (the game is internally called Project-K), the design is a mish-mash of abstract landscapes, random shapes you could easily mistake for '50s SciFi designs and pretty wireframe decorations, all of which give the game a very Tron'ish look.

Sound is as much a hallmark of Rez as graphics: the music is fantastic, something between dance and trance tracks that set the pace for the game. The importance of the music in Rez cannot be overstated: the entire game revolves around feedback between audio, video and player. Some of the tracks in this game are extremely imaginative pieces (particularly Fear by Adam Freeland) and serve to immerse you deeper in already immersive game.

Rez does have a story, but it's very abstract and it isn't immediately obvious what's going on. Combined with the abstract graphics and minimalistic gameplay, this only serves to create an incredibly immersive atmosphere. It is fascinating that, despite the singularly simple and repetitive gamestyle, Rez is never boring and never feels repetitive. The bosses are beautiful to look at and interesting to fight, and the endgame is so... well, interesting that I wasn't even disappointed by the very short and bland ending cutscene.

The game has an incredible variety of extras and unlockable game modes, and it is amazingly challenging in its more advanced mode (I do begrudge it for not being able to defeat the Morollian mode), all of which give it amazing replay value despite its length (more on that later).

Lastly, the Japanese version of Rez came with what must be the most unique game accessory ever, on which I will not elaborate. :-)

The Bad
Rez has just one fundamental issue: it's extremely short. Even in the more difficult Beyond modes, playing it from start to finish takes between 40 and 60 minutes (depending mostly on whether or not you have to replay certain areas, and how long it takes you to defeat the bosses). But, as Penny Arcade puts it, it was the best hour of my life (well, maybe not the best best hour.)

Also, it is incredibly rare; I had to fork $40+shipping for a copy on eBay and considered myself lucky (the going rate at the moment seems to be between $30 and $60).

The Bottom Line
An incredible game which must be experienced, as opposed to seen. Completely unique, absolutely fascinating and amazingly gratifying, this is a must-have.

PlayStation 2 · by Tomer Gabel (4535) · 2005

Discussion

Subject By Date
XBLA version Kabushi (261928) May 24, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Xbox 360 version of Rez HD appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Licensing

The original creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi had to get the license back from SEGA in order to issue the Xbox 360 version of the game, even though he created the game at the time. That is because video games created for a company are usually considered "work for hire".

Pause Menu

An undocumented feature for the PS2 release of the game is that while you are in the pause menu during gameplay, you can press triangle and square together and the pause menu will disappear allowing you to see the game behind it.

Dreamcast Version

Rez was released on the Dreamcast, months before the PlayStation 2 release took place. It's not widely known that it was ever released on the former platform - both SEGA and UGA officially mention the PS2 release only. This is very likely due to the fact that SEGA discontinued the Dreamcast months before the release of Rez. As a result, there was no American release of Rez on the Dreamcast, and there was no real publicity surrounding the European release either, making it a hard-to-find title.

The Dreamcast version is relatively rare today, especially because the game suffered from many defective pressings. The risk of ending up with a non-working copy of the game is therefore something to be considered when prowling eBay or other online auction sites.

Beta Soundtrack

On 2003, July 31st, a private Rez event occurred in Tokyo, where the team showed new game content to a few selected people. One of the levels was based on Fat Boy Slim music, but never made it into the game due to licensing reasons.

A leaked beta version of the game also contains a list of artists whose music was meant to be implemented at that point in development, including Underworld, Aphex Twin, and The Chemical Brothers.

Wassily Kandinsky

At the end of the credits, Rez is quoted to be "dedicated to the incredible creative soul of Kandinsky".

Abstract artist and composer Wassily Kandinsky was a synaesthete (a person with the neurological condition in which two or more senses mingle into one), meaning he was able to 'see' music and 'hear' color. He described his works as quoted:

"I applied streaks and blobs of color onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could..."

The nature of Rez's audiovisual experience and the references to synaesthetia are obviously linked to Kandinsky, as well as the working title, K-Project.

Trance Vibrator

The Japanese Playstation 2 version was also sold as a limited edition box, bundled with the Trance Vibrator - an additional (external) Rumble Pack whose name left little to be desired of the imagination.

Morolian

One of the player forms you can unlock for the "Beyond" levels is simply called "Morolian". This is an alien invader from UGA's previous game, Space Channel 5.

Title

The game's title has a threefold meaning. It was taken from the song "Rez" by Underworld, and can also be read as a shortening of the word "resolve". Tetsuya Mizuguchi has also stated that the title is a reference to the film Tron, in which death in the virtual world is referred to as being "de-rezzed". Mizuguchi reasoned that if "de-rezzing" means death or dispersement, "rezzing" would therefore equate to bringing something to life or combining separate elements into a whole, both of which can be tied into the game's synesthesia theme.

Scrapped Concepts

Rez went through several design concepts during development. At one point, the player avatar was meant to be seated in a large chair with woofer speakers, and the soundtrack was intended to be mainly hip-hop. Another stage during development had the avatar as a less abstract human form who walked on the ground instead of floating. Another proposed aesthetic for the game was based heavily on water and microscopic organisms.

Information also contributed by glidefan, Apogee IV, Bock, Sciere, and FatherJack.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by NeoMoose.

Xbox 360 added by NamelessLegacy. Dreamcast added by Trixter.

Additional contributors: shifter, S H, Yearman, DreinIX, NamelessLegacy, Starbuck the Third, Harmony♡, joicrawu.

Game added January 13, 2002. Last modified May 29, 2024.