Games of the Year

Rez Infinite

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Experience 360 degrees of mind-blowing synesthesia as you blast through waves of enemies and massive transforming bosses, with colors and sounds that sync and blend to the beat of Rez’s legendary techno soundtrack. Whether you’re an old fan of the original Sega classic or never heard of Rez before, whether you’re playing on your TV or your PS VR headset, whether you’re looking for a quick diversion or a deeper game you can lose yourself in for hours at a time -- you owe it to your senses to experience Rez Infinite.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Rez is an underrated rhythmic shoot ‘em up set in a digital space. It was first released on Dreamcast where it underperformed (no thanks to the poor sales of that console) and it was later re-released on PC in 2017 with an included VR version called Rez Infinite. In other words: this version. Unfortunately it has underperformed once again. And to be honest, it’s a tough game to market, because games like this usually have a very limited audience in the first place. Still, I hope this review will at least let some of you pick it up and, hopefully, enjoy it. I know I did way back in 2002.
As I already mentioned Rez is a shoot ‘em up set in a digital space, but with wireframe ‘enemies’ (if you could even call them that) that when shot down produce a sound. These enemies will fly by from literally sides. It’s up to you (as the hacker controlling your first-wireframe hero) to try and shoot them all down, creating some sort of musical track at the same time. It’s brilliant and it works brilliantly. The player only has to aim at the correct enemy or enemies, then lock, load one or multiple shots and release them in order to shoot them down. Some enemies might be able to take more shots than others, though, and enemies will fire at you as well. The enemy shots can be destroyed the same way as you would shoot an enemy.
The game is fully on-rails, meaning you don’t have to push your character into a specific direction; the game automatically does this for you. The enemies are also always on-rails, but like I said they come from different sides at different speeds so quick thinking is also necessary in order to shoot all of them down.
Power-ups can also be acquired. The blue ones will allow you to get hit more often by enemies. By collecting enough of them your character will become more detailed, eventually getting a fully (untextured) grey body. Get hit several times and the character will be downgraded again, and if you get hit as a wireframe you’ll eventually just become a dot. Get hit again and it’s game over, ending the level.
There are also red power-ups that can be used as some sort of bomb. Activate when an enemy is on-screen and all of them will be automatically obliterated. Obviously you only have a few of these available so you have to choose your moments carefully. The last one isn’t a power-up, but required to go to the next level of the area. Hit it when you’re nearing the end and it will bounce forward until it’s completely shot after which the next part of the area will load.
Each of the areas ends with a boss fight that can take up to several minutes to defeat. These are very different to the rest of the enemies and they have way more animation, I would even go as far as to say they’ve got actual, varying personalities.
Naturally the music is one of the most important aspects of the game here. Tracks will be played during the level itself - electronic music to be more specific – and the effects made by you charging, shooting and hitting enemies creates a wildly different, but in essence still the same, musical track almost every time, until you get to the point you know exactly what to do, that is.
Each area takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. The original game had five different areas, but Infinite adds another area making for a total of six areas. It’s not a long game by any means, but it is a unique and fun one. Plus, some new modes unlock after finishing the game, but they’re not nearly as fun as the campaign. It being a short game is the only downside I can think of to be honest.
Visually this game stands out. With colored wireframes, effects, an equalizer, enemies, projectiles, sounds and music and more all over the place, all happening at the same time. It sometimes creates a sensory overload, but look past it and you’ll get an experience unlike any other game out there. It’s simple, while also being very effective and it adds to the story the game is trying to tell. The screenshots don’t do this game justice, believe me.
Since the visuals are amazing, the sound has to be as well, right? Since its also one of its main attractions. And it’s true, the tracks all are amazing and the sound effects really add to the idea that you’re creating your own track. Most of you probably don’t know the song To Deserve You by Bette Midler – the dance remix in this case – but every time I hear it it has a sound effect (the *uh* sound) that instantly puts me back into the game. If you ever hear it after playing this game you probably won’t be able to unhear it. But enough about Bette Midler. To be short, the music is absolute perfection.
And since games were all kind of polished before they shipped them out, back in 2002, this doesn’t has any bugs or glitches.
Rez is a musical shoot ‘em up revelation. There have been some impersonators, but none have been able to come close to Rez’s extraordinary mix of visual effects, music and gameplay. It’s such a shame that despite the critical success Rez hasn’t been picked up by the everyday audience. I agree that it’s a very specific taste and not everyone naturally enjoys electronic music, but if you want yet another unique and underrated experience Rez is simply a must have and a must play. I’m sure you can spare a few hours.
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Review from Steam

10/10 Sober 20/10 On Drugs

Review from Steam

Rez is necessary for you to complete this life.

Review from Steam

It's not a difficult game, but I keep coming back to it and play it occasionally year after year.

Review from Steam

The first time I encountered Rez was in 2002, when I was visiting the Game On exhibition at the Barbican. There were plenty of other examples of games as art at the time, and me and a friend thought they were cool, but the Rez exhibit… we ended up spending over an hour playing the first level and the second. To say it was transformative might be an understatement.
It was the first videogame I ever had played that really pulled me in and absorbed me, if only because of its soundtrack, and at the time it really felt like a mind-altering experience. I didn't have a PS 2 at the time — I was a poor student back then — but I still bought the game disc, and when I returned home only a couple of years later, I tried it out on a cousin's PS2. But the game disc disappeared, and the years went on by, and I forgot about it.
Then I found out that Rez Infinite was on Steam, and I was like, hey, that's cool, I'll wishlist it and buy it when I can. And so, twenty years after seeing this game… I bought it.
There aren't many games that last the march of twenty years, but in my experience the ones that do are the ones that have solid art direction, and do something more than push the cutting edge of photorealism in games. Rez is definitely one of those games, where even the jank and artifacts from the game add into the story. I don't think I could have told you about the art influences and themes in the game 20 years ago, but now, after all these years and experience, I can spot the references and clever tricks that the designers built into each level, and the callbacks, and the art cues.
Lots of games have this problem that their first initial control scheme is the one that's optimised for the game. Not Rez, though. I had always felt frustrated by the lack of response and finesse that you had with the PS2 controllers, and having it be mouse allowed me to move, I felt, at the speed of thought, in ways that I had hoped for when I first played the game. I've finished the core “story” mode right now, and I've yet to try the subsequent modes yet. But I'll get there.
The most telling part of it all was that I played this on the family computer, and my eldest child is sitting behind me, wide-eyed, taking all the scenes of the game in, while I play. Another young person's journey into what video games can do has just started, and I feel like I have Rez to thank for it.

Review from Steam

One of the greatest experiences of all time, plays amazing in VR and also plays great on PC using a mouse. It's like playing Lawnmower Man Tron.

Review from Steam

This groundbreaking game of the early 2000-era still blows my mind. It hasn`t aged a bit as a transformative rail shooter with a potential to trance you into a yoga position in front of your display.
This is a game of an era, when Sega was not only a gaming powerhouse, but an independent gaming force with more than a dozend studios in Japan and wordwide, releasing innovative console hardware and games, dominating the arcade floors (or amusement centers) and setting the state-of-the-art higher with every mayor release. Sega Rally was one of those. When it's creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi was first given a free hand in game design, Rez happend on the Sega Dreamcast console and the rest is history.
I was fortunate enough to meet him for an interview and a following walk through my hometown Zürich, when he told me his original inspiration for this game actually came in the early 90ies from an evenly breathtaking event in this very town we both experienced: the streetparade 93/94. As of Nov. 2021 it runs breathtaking perfectly on Linux with Proton, finally: Sega can be independent again from Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.

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