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Video Game / Rez

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Rez is a Rail Shooter produced by Tetsuya Mizuguchi and developed by Sega that's set in a futuristic computer supernetwork called the K-project where much of the data flow is controlled by an AI named Eden. Eden has become overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge gathered on the network, and then a virus infects her, causing her to doubt her existence and enter a shutdown sequence, which will mess things up big time since society as a whole depends too much on technology. The player takes the role of a hacker logging into the K-project system to reboot Eden while destroying any viruses or firewalls that happen to inhibit progress, and analyzing other sub-areas of the network to gain access to Eden's location. With visuals heavily inspired by the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, the game's music and sound react to the player's actions in a way that allows you to partially compose the Background Music as you play.

Rez was released on both the Sega Dreamcast and the PlayStation 2 in November 2001 in Japan, and in early 2002 in Europe and North America (though North America did not get the Dreamcast release). Due to its weak sales, it soon became a rare gem. However, thanks to the release of Rez HD on Xbox Live Arcade in 2008, anyone with an Xbox 360 and access to Xbox Live can now not only enjoy the game for 10 dollars (at least in the U.S.), but with even more stunning high-definition visuals and discrete 5.1 channel audio as well. Rez Infinite was released for the PlayStation 4 in October 2016, and utilizes the PlayStation VR headset to immerse players further into the world of Rez. Enhance Games, founded by Mizuguchi, is handling the port, which now supports 1080p visuals, 7.1 audio, and allows 120 frames-per-second on the VR headset. This version was later brought to Steam in August 2017, with higher resolution textures and maintaining VR support, now using the Vive or Oculus Rift.

The game received a prequel, Child of Eden, also produced by Mizuguchi and developed by Q Entertainment in 2011. The game was first released for the Xbox 360, utilizing Microsoft's Kinect interface, and was later released for the PlayStation 3 which also utilized the Playstation Move motion controllers. It is about eliminating viruses in order to secure the first AI "birth", Lumi, the AI duplication of the first space-born human girl.

Not to be confused with ReZ, the host of the video game soundtrack review show ReZonance Soundtrack Reviews, though it does use the song “Buggie Running Beeps” from this game as its Theme Tune. It should definitely not to be confused with the song by Underworld (although the game's title was inspired by it). Nor should it be confused with the arch-nemesis of Gex.

These games contain examples of:

  • After Boss Recovery: Not with the stage 1-4 bosses, but after defeating each of the Personal Firewalls guarding the last boss, you get health and overdrives (if you can snatch them up fast enough).
  • Arrange Mode: Direct Assault, in which you play all five stages in sequence and your score is totalled up over all of them. In addition, it has additional versions of itself that change the color palette of the scenery and enemies.
  • Art Shift: Area X features more particle effects than the original Areas, and a visual style closer to Child of Eden.
  • All There in the Manual: The story for Rez is found in both manuals and supplemental material.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Dying to the final boss triggers a unique ending followed by a credits roll, meaning it counts as "clearing" the game. This means unlocks that trigger on clearing the game, such as Direct Assault modes, will still be gotten should you die at the final stretch.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Are the various viruses encountered as enemies there because the Internet has become dangerous without Eden, and thus were created by humans, or were they created by Eden herself as a defense mechanism, like the bosses? The fact that Sector 5 has what seems to be a fleet of viruses heading towards Eden, rather than strictly defend her, imply the former; it's impossible to know for sure either way.
  • Big Good: Eden, the master computer of the internet, and the entity the player character is attempting to awaken after she went in a virus-induced existential crisis.
  • Bishōnen Line: Each level-up makes the humanoid player avatar slightly less abstract- except the penultimate form is a glowing sphere, and the ultimate form? A 2001-style space fetus.
  • Boss Rush: An unlockable mode, where you fight all five bosses one after another. In addition, the last boss features abbreviated versions of the first 4 bosses before you fight the real thing.
  • Computer Virus: All enemies are explicitly labelled as viruses, taking physical form in the cyberspace of the game. They mostly take the form of mechanical creatures or spaceships.
  • Content Warnings: Rez warns players susceptible to seizures that they might have to exercise caution while playing.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Venus, the Area 3 boss has a massive wall of turrets as its outermost protective layer.
  • Area 4 has a number of wall enemies; each one is defeated by shooting its four glowing nodes out.
  • Area 5 has the Gates of Truth that separate each section. If you don't shoot out the 8 locks in time, you'll still gain analysis (you'll always have 100% by the end), but you'll lose a form in the process.
  • Developer's Foresight: You can play through all the Areas (Except for the fifth) by not shooting at the guardian and deal with all the virus present in later "Analyzations" by still remaining at the 0%.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: In a rather subtle example: If you do particularly good in Area 1 to 4, mainly by bringing up the percentage of enemies killed, the harder the boss at the end of the stage will be; having significantly more frantic and faster attack patterns. The only way to tell is by seeing the name of the boss in their introduction cutscene. In order of difficulty, they go from .MEGA, to .GIGA and finally .TERA.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Travelling mode gives you invincibility, but does not save your stats nor does it let you access Area 5.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Evolution Level 4 has the player character turn into a red humanoid figure in a constant lotus position.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Instead of going at the standard game over screen, dying at the Final Boss causes Eden to literally crumble into pieces, triggering the credits to roll.
  • Joke Character: The Morolian. It's essentially like being on the Zeroth Form (making you a One-Hit-Point Wonder) and you can't go up a form (meaning you always stay that way). It also had slighly slower projectiles prior to Rez Infinite, making it harder to destroy closer enemies and/or their projectiles. It's basically there as a Self-Imposed Challenge and, of course, as a Shout-Out to Space Channel 5.
  • Logic Bomb: Eden is shutting herself down since a virus infected her and she thinks she's "surrounded by paradoxes".
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A common tactic of many bosses and occasionally a few enemies is to send a barrage of bullets and missiles either randomly or aiming towards the player. Can be one of the most dangerous parts of a fight because unlike in many games, there's no way to dodge attacks, so you have to shoot down every missile. If you get overwhelmed you can go from 5th form to game over in a few seconds.
  • Multiple Endings: A It's a Wonderful Failure for losing to the Area 5 boss, a partial ending for defeating it, a Gainax Ending for defeating it and staying in your final form, and a Golden Ending for defeating it while in your final form and get a 100% clear in the whole game.
  • Musical Gameplay: You hear music beats in place of sounds when you aim and fire, and your actions align with the music.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Unlike the main game, Area X doesn't even have an inkling of a plotline to follow. It's not even known if the player is still in cyberspace, as the area itself looks like the void of space and the enemies and particle effects are very distinct from the five main stages, and on top of that every element of the HUD that alluded to hacking and Techno Babble in the main game simply aren't there.
  • Power Perversion Potential: In Japan, the game shipped with what was called The Trance Vibrator. Designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi says it has "no sexual meaning"...right. The Xbox Live Arcade remake offers vibration for three more controllers in lieu of Trance Vibrator support.
  • Scoring Points: Score Attack mode. Optimal scoring strategies revolve around getting as many x8 lockons as you can. Unfortunately, so is dragging on boss battles.
  • Sequential Boss: Venus has three parts—a massive wall of laser turrets, seemingly endless streams of manic flying fish, and the core itself.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Because the game is a rail shooter and you usually have no way to move your character, shooting down bullets, missiles, and whatever else is aimed at you is the only way you can defend yourself.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The final level's music, as per the Adam Freeland piece that it samples, features prominent usage of the phrase, "Fear is the mind-killer".
    • The Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky is credited for being a huge inspiration behind the game's visuals and goal to invoke synesthesia.
  • Stellar Name: The bosses of Area 1-4 are named after planets: Earth in Area 1, Mars in Area 2, Venus in Area 3 and Uranus in Area 4, all of which then add either .MEGA, .GIGA or .TERA depending on their difficulty.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The boss area of Area 5 starts by upgrading you to Final Form, and then you get support items between each of the sub-bosses. Given that the Final Boss will happily indulge in Macross Missile Massacre, you will very likely need all of this help.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Mars.TERA is far stronger than its own .GIGA counterpart, let alone Earth from Area 1. It throws barrier walls at the player twice as often (including mixing in walls that are twice as powerful), and its tentacle-guns fire much more often and rapidly.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The Venus Personal Firewall's second attack pattern creates numerous clock shaped drones, and charges them by shooting lasers at them. The numbers light up as the charge builds and dim when you shoot them. They're destroyed when all the lights are dimmed, but they get charged faster as less and less remain. You get zapped when they're fully charged.

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