In December's Games with Gold, Child of Eden is the first game up for grabs. It's a visual and audio-based game unlike anything you've ever played before, I assure you. It's joined by Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide, a decent 4-player co-op game that you'll immediately feel comfortable with if you've ever played Left 4 Dead.
If you missed the previous Games with Gold article, Tales from the Borderlands Complete Season is still available until December 15th, and you can find it here.
Available December 1 – December 31
Warhammer is seeing many good games made using its franchise lately. Gone are the days where every game with “Warhammer” in the title was a flop, we're actually getting some awesome stuff nowadays!
I had high hopes for Vermintide, and it doesn't exactly drop the ball, but it doesn't engage you in the way that Left 4 Dead does either, Left 4 Dead being the obvious comparison.
Vermintide is a 4-player co-op game where you each play as a separate and individual character as you hack and slash your way through missions.
The Left 4 Dead inspiration is apparent as you play, with some “special” ratlings acting like hunters, hordes of ratlings(zombies) trying to kill you and end-stage finales where you have to stay around one location until an event is finished.
This isn't a bad thing in itself as great games are often inspired by great games. What's missing in Vermintide tends to be the atmosphere, where Left 4 Dead's sequel also faltered. Unless you're completely new to the game, you won't really feel any tension, although being the last person alive or out on your own can make you feel a little vulnerable, unless you know what you're doing!
What Vermintide does add to the mix is character progression, upgradeable loot, and crafting. In Left 4 Dead, you'd replay the map many times because they were hard to beat on expert. In Vermintide you'll replay the maps many times just to grind away for loot, as well as making sure you found all the “Dice.”
Dice are used at the end of the stage and are also what determines the quality of loot you'll receive. If you find all the hidden special dice, you'll get the best chance for some quality loot.
This can be appealing to many players and injects some meaning into the continual slaughter of Skaven.
Since you can own this game for free, I'd highly recommend playing it, especially if you're a fan of 4-player co-op games as there really aren't that many other good options.
Available December 1 – December 15
If you were to try to label Child of Eden into one particular genre, “On Rails-Shooter with music and rhythm elements” might be the best fit.
It's a very strange game indeed, especially if you don't know what you're in for.
The basic premise of the game is you're out to save the Child of Eden – the first human born in space – who has been recreated by the internet.
Unfortunately, some nasty viruses have infected the program, and it's up to you to destroy them. You're presented with some Trance-like graphics, with blue objects being “Don't shoot me,” and red objects being “Kill, kill, kill!!”
You can play with a controller or with your Kinect, and both systems work equally well. You'll earn points as you rack up kills and if you shoot in time with the music, then you'll receive a perfect score.
There are five levels to complete, each with their own unique visual identity and theme (although you'll still feel like you're in a music video) and at the end of each level, there is a multi-stage boss to defeat.
I can't think of any game similar to Child of Eden, which can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. When you're playing games from the same genre, there's a sense of familiarity which helps engage you and means there's less for you to learn.
Conversely, if you're ready for a totally different experience which can trigger emotional responses from you with musical highs, then Child of Eden may well be worth the hard drive space.