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Rez

Developer: United Game Artists Publisher: Sega
22 November 2001
Rez - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.92 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
484 Ratings / 5 Reviews
#309 All-time
#11 for 2001
Rez is a musical rail shooter set in a futuristic computer network called Project-K, where a virus named Swayzak invades the mainframe of the Project-K system.
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Rez
2001 UGA Sega  
DVD
XEU
Rez
2001 UGA Sega  
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JP
Rez
2001 UGA Sega  
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JP 4 974365 830021 SLPM 62101
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Rez
2002 UGA Sega  
CD-ROM
XNA 0 10086 63000 8
Rez
2002 UGA Sega  
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XEU 5 060004 761289
Rez HD
2008 UGA HexaDrive  
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2016 UGA Monstars  
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2017 UGA Monstars  
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2020 UGA Monstars  
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Title
Open your eyes, go to synaesthesia
(written sep 24, 2017)

Rez is the greatest video game ever made.

I say this with a clean conscience and no hyperbole. I’m very confident in the future of games; creators and critics will gain a clearer understanding of the medium and make unimaginable works of art in the coming decades. But for the time being, Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez accomplishes more in an hour than any other does in a hundred.

Rez is a rhythmic rail shooter where the player controls a hacking program sent to shut down a corrupted supercomputer named Eden. The player glides through vistas of electronic sound on their way to Eden, and the journey is just as important as the destination. Alongside an EDM soundtrack, everything around the player creates noise: the enemies, targeting, firing a shot, enemy fire. The game uses a mechanic that syncs every noise to the song, no matter how late or early the input is; Rez is a turntable and the player is the DJ.

For the whole ride, Mizuguchi maintains strong directorial control, his vision is airtight. And yet at its core, Rez is about player expression, crafting the rhythm of the moment, immersing yourself in a sweeping technicolor wave of sound and sight. The player loses themselves in hypnotic digital voids. It’s identity is deeply rooted in both the arcade games of the early 2000s and the work of artist Wassily Kandinsky, who popularized the concept of synaesthesia.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even though the main inspiration came from Mizuguchi’s experience with music festivals and games “making sounds back at him,” Rez is about birth. Mizuguchi himself says this interpretation has personal meaning. The player is a sperm making their way to the egg, Eden, a harbinger of life. To get the true ending of the game, the player has to maintain their highest level form–a baby cradled in a wireframe womb–and hit every enemy on the last level. Only when the player truly collects their senses, gains a complete understanding of their surroundings and embraces their journey to life, Eden welcomes the player into her hands, and releases them as butterflies, as new life. In the credits, they glide over water; wireframe butterflies copy their movement in the reflection. The player has transcended their digital form. They are in life. They are in synaesthesia.

Rez translates a personal, human experience to the player better than any other game. I’ve written about the language of games before, and I think Mizuguchi approached Rez with a similar mindset. Rez is the work of an expert linguist, someone who understands music in a way that no other game creator does. Mizuguchi discovers themes of birth and life, a build-up of sound and senses fusing into a living being, from EDM music and wireframe chasms. This is what makes Rez so contemporary, even today. It’s digital, it’s modern, it’s 100% a game and it doesn’t parody or self-deprecate to take itself seriously. Rez embraces it’s identity fully and finds the artistry that lies within that pure form. The gameplay, aesthetics, audio, narrative, everything else about Rez works for the feeling Mizuguchi wanted the player to feel: achieving synaesthesia.

I’ve been replaying Rez several times to really put into words why I love this game, and I still feel like what I’ve written thus far is inadequate. Hell, I wrote an MLA formatted analysis of this game for fun a year ago, and I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough. I feel scared to put out this review, but fear is the mind killer, after all. My mind races with thoughts of the future when playing Rez. I feel a rush of inspiration, like I’ve been transported to a world of unthinkable possibilities, but outside of that world, I frustrate myself finding the right words to explain where I’ve been.

Rez is so far in the future that I feel stuck in the past when I’m not playing it. It’s a beginning, in every sense of the word. It’s the beginning of a new song, of life, of the future of games, of a new era of art. We’re almost there. I hope the wait isn’t much longer.

(Note: Play Rez in VR. It’s a game that was made fifteen years ahead of its time and deserves the most lavish play-style possible.)
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keublitz 2022-12-10T04:39:13Z
2022-12-10T04:39:13Z
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Rez was a game I'd hear about very often in the mid to late 2000s, especially once it finally saw a rerelease around 2008 on XBLA. I'd always hear it referenced as a music game, but the musical aspect of the game is mostly a part (albeit a significant part) of a much greater experience. In its most basic traits gameplay wise, Rez is an on-rails shooter similar in the vein of Panzer Dragoon or Star Fox, but made even more simple as your character remains stationary and you're only really moving the on-screen reticle. That doesn't necessarily negate any challenge per-se, but compared to other on rails shooters Rez is a much more easy going and approachable game, which is great because this game is one I'd recommend people of any skill level to at least try. Where the genius and beauty of Rez comes in is the over all audio/visual presentation that's a feast for the senses. Aesthetically speaking the game can be visually described as the essence of the 90's/Y2K rave/trance/electronica music scene with all the flashing lights, abstract blocky polygons and wireframe models contained in a seemingly endless surrounding void of visual spectacle. As the game starts, the environments are fairly simple but as you progress through the various levels, the intensity of the surrounding geometry and on screen effects not only warrant, but earn this games' epilepsy warning. How the soundtrack is integrated with the gameplay also helps tie in what makes this game so unique and separate it from many other on-rails shooters as the enemies and projectiles you shoot down add to the backing track of each level's respective music track, completing each section successfully adds another instrument layer to the current song, it's so well executed here with the coinciding visual insanity on screen that it doesn't really matter if the game's core gameplay is simple in nature, the style of the game is the substance of the product and it's masterfully executed. One thing I want to add is how intense and involved this game's use of vibration is. In other games I never really think about my controller vibrating too much because it's either too subdued to be noticeable, used in repetitive scenarios like shooting a gun/getting shot to really feel unique, or at worst absolutely annoying and poorly integrated with the on screen experience. Rez's use of controller vibration may not be wholly unique, but just how well it's used along side this game's other amazing presentation qualities, it makes Rez feel more like an interactive album experience rather than an arcade or story focused video game. And there in lies the problem with recommending a game like this to people. I love what Rez is and what it tries to accomplish but other than perfecting your aim to destroy all the enemies in a level and maybe trying to achieve a no damage run, the game doesn't really throw much of a challenge at the player and doesn't exactly offer much in the form of replayability in unlocking hours upon hours of content like weapons, alternate characters or costumes, etc. At most what the base release of Rez offers (the original Dreamcast and PS2 releases along with the XBLA HD release) is the standard 4 levels followed by the final area once all the previous level criteria's reach 100% (along with some other post content that is more or less reiterations of the main game's content) which can honestly be completed in at most under 2 hours, possibly quicker, but providing a challenge or delivering thousands of hours of post content is not what Rez is trying to achieve here. Rez is simple in execution, but it feels so masterfully crafted in what it delivers, it's in a league of its own and still manages to put people in awe of its beauty. So much so the game would later be rereleased once again for PS4/PC with added VR support which sounds like a perfect match for a game with an amazing presentation as Rez has, I'm only bothered that I do not have a VR setup to experience it for myself. Outside of a new way to play the game, Rez Infinite adds a completely new level which, albeit short much like the other levels of Rez, feels like the completely realized vision of what the game had always hoped of achieving since its development back on the Dreamcast. I have a hard time considering a game like Rez my favorite of all time; I adore on-rails shooters but Rez ticks completely different boxes in my mind than what I usually look for in a video game, and yet it still grips at my entire being, I can honestly say I resonate with this game. If you want to play Rez there's honestly a lot of convenient ways to play it today with the modern release of Infinite, and if you'd like the original physical releases on Dreamcast and PS2 are around with the latter being significantly cheaper to the former, and of course you have the XBLA release that is still available albeit the purest port of the game you can get your hands on for $10 digitally, although there does exist a physical release in the form of Qubed for the Xbox 360 which includes Rez, Lumines Live, and E4. This compilation, while a tad odd, is an extremely cheap and convenient way to get your hands on Rez HD along with some other pretty cool music themed games. It warms my heart knowing Rez has been made so accessible to today's modern gaming audience; the game feels unlike any other on the market and manages to stand out far beyond what has since released after its initial debut. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the PS2 version had an exclusive and rare vibrator peripheral that too rumbled with the game's soundscape while modern releases have opted to have players use up to 4 controllers to simply use their rumble functionality, I'll let you make do with that information as you wish but this may be the greatest or worst Valentine's Day idea I can offer.
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JackTrickelson 2022-01-21T13:46:10Z
2022-01-21T13:46:10Z
4.5
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I sort of assumed the music would be the point with Rez, but the truth is that it's simply one part leading to a bigger sensory experience. The music is that starting point, absolutely; the rave music of the late '90s provides a window to unusual sonic imagery, full of creativity and energy with a sheen that often - intentionally, I think - evokes a sterile coldness to computers. Visually, the game hits that sweetspot. I wouldn't go out and call this a pretty game; all the wireframes, the primitive 3D smoothness of the player character's human evolutions, nothing looks good, but it's still very stimulating and exactly the aesthetic needed to represent this music.

But it's all put towards a greater sensory end. The constant rumbling of the controller makes it virtually impossible to play this game sitting down. The nature of the controls provides a weird fluidity where the rhythms of your inputs don't match the rhythm of the outputs - instead, the outputs match the music and the flow of the enemies. (Which is why it's so important that you can simply hold the button, to ditch as much rhythm as you can, until you have to start mashing to blast hordes projectiles and overtake the rhythm entirely.) Try to enter that sensory experience as much as you can: headphones, isolation, play the whole thing in one sitting. (It takes a little over an hour to do the whole thing.) And, of course, the ultimate evolution (heh) of this sensory experience is VR, which the game feels tailor-made for even though the technology was over a decade away from being commercially accessible. Unfortunately, I don't have my own VR equipment, but you can be damned sure that if I ever get access to one, this will be one of the first things I try with it. (My guess is that I'd bump this up a grade if I played it in VR.) The great new Area X added to Rez Infinite - which lets you free roam instead of being in a rail shooter - kind of manages to evoke that experience even with just a controller.

That the game's "themes" (I guess you're not a hacker but an AI sperm, or something) don't really amount to much is fine; after all, rave music was rarely about anything concrete. It was about the feeling - Generation Ecstasy and all that - and all the language about evolution and creation evoke a stab at profundity that propels the rest of the sensory experience to evoke something greater, even if it isn't, really. Sometimes a false promise is as good as it gets.
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Azdiff 2021-04-03T05:29:20Z
2021-04-03T05:29:20Z
4.0
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Catalog

wuggy Rez 2024-06-18T08:19:28Z
2024-06-18T08:19:28Z
B
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pwnclub Rez 2024-06-15T23:08:47Z
2024-06-15T23:08:47Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hugo6849 Rez 2024-06-12T02:34:23Z
2024-06-12T02:34:23Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Silexeo Rez 2024-06-01T17:23:10Z
2024-06-01T17:23:10Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rippeul Rez 2024-05-31T21:37:12Z
2024-05-31T21:37:12Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
snazysnail Rez 2024-05-29T14:50:08Z
Dreamcast • XEU
2024-05-29T14:50:08Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
beearmy Rez Infinite 2024-05-28T16:17:25Z
Windows
2024-05-28T16:17:25Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
idiotican9 Rez 2024-05-26T15:05:53Z
2024-05-26T15:05:53Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
thereitis Rez 2024-05-23T18:22:31Z
2024-05-23T18:22:31Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
foiebump Rez 2024-05-20T19:29:17Z
2024-05-20T19:29:17Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Tarafaeryn Rez 2024-05-20T06:29:39Z
2024-05-20T06:29:39Z
6
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Siliamaki Rez 2024-05-18T18:29:44Z
2024-05-18T18:29:44Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x Disc
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  • Previous comments (25) Loading...
  • alliterativeAlpinist 2022-10-22 17:41:46.700645+00
    Buggie Running Beeps 01 my beloved
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  • jackem 2023-02-11 19:58:40.28142+00
    Spiritual experience
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  • hardyvark 2023-02-12 02:21:01.810188+00
    This looks like the game that a kid wants to play in a family sitcom
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  • Azel 2023-11-03 13:54:36.375223+00
    style/substance isnt anything more than a buzzword. examine the design from what its trying to accomplish (read = intent) instead of forcing your own bullshit preconceived notion over it. its not an all time favorite of mine but it accomplishes it's design goals incredibly well as a sensory rail shooter, totally captivating and unique.
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  • tonitaste 2023-12-03 06:50:10.207247+00
    The boss fights in Area 5 are pretty heavy, but I try to do my best. Otherwise a great game. Great visuals and soundtrack. One of the best Dreamcast-games. Mizuguchi is a genius.
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  • tonitaste 2023-12-04 04:36:41.135074+00
    I have mastered the boss battles. You can do it, but you need a lot of patience.
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  • WinterMirage 2024-03-03 09:58:35.900191+00
    I'm just gonna go ahead and imagine that the people giving this interactive screensaver a high mark were using the peripheral vibrator to get the most enjoyment out of the experience.
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