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Rez HD – Xbox 360 (Arcade)

Rez HD – Xbox 360 (Arcade)

Rez HD COVERPlatform: Xbox 360 (Live Arcade)

Developer: Q Entertainment, HexaDrive

Publisher: Microsoft

Release Date (NA): January 30th, 2008   

Genre: Rail Shooter

Nerd Rating: 9.25 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Synthetic techno music engulfs the living room with a slowly descending blanket of euphoria as radiant geometric shapes whiz past my dazed eyes. I stare in awe with a sore thumb as I lock on to my soon-to-be-dead enemies. The music is mine and I am the composer, never missing a beat as I flick the synthesizer’s inner nerves with every obliterated enemy. Flying has never felt so genuine even in a dazzling world framed by green and purple wires. When will I fail? When will I win? The questions you want to know can never be answered but seeking the resolution will validate your existence as you explore the infinite realm in Rez HD.

Rez HD 3Rez HD is unlike any game you’ve ever played and it deserves your unbroken concentration. Originally released with the simple title of Rez on the Sega Dreamcast in 2001, Sega saw an opportunity to capitalize on a missed market and hit up the PlayStation 2 only 1 year later. If it weren’t for the unfair early North American failure of the Dreamcast, there’s a strong chance that Rez could have made small waves here… if the price was right. Although Rez embodies all visual and structural perfection, the sheer length of the game, or lack thereof, could have resulted in more disappointed fans than pleased ones if the game were priced at $60. Fortunately, right now, Rez HD can be played for free on Xbox Live Arcade, although micro-purchases via in-game downloadable content is readily available to micro-fuck your wallet. Regardless, the experience in Rez, albeit a relatively short one, would be worth almost any reasonable amount of money. In addition to playing Rez HD on Xbox Live Arcade, it can be purchased as a hard copy on the 3-game puzzle compilation titled Qubed, and costs a mere $3.99 used at GameStop. This compilation disc provides you with nearly all of the downloadable content already unlocked and installed, saving you time and dollars in the long run.

Rez follows a hacker in the process of hacking into a supercomputer mainframe, called the K-Project, in order to reboot a self-defeated computer. The K-Project is controlled by Eden, its artificial intelligence controller, and Eden has become self-aware and subsequently insecure about her existence and abilities. The result of her insecurities is to shutdown, which would obviously be detrimental to the world as we know it. You, the hacker, log-in to the K-Project network with the goal of stopping the shutdown sequence. Along the way, Eden has deployed hundreds of viruses set out to destroy you and keep you from achieving your objective.

rez hd boss 2

As a stand-alone story, I give it an A- or a B+, but when you pair the story with the actual gameplay and visuals, it instantly increases the endorphins in your brain until you reach a state of mental nirvana and everything just feels soooo gooooood. Describing Rez HD on paper is exceptionally difficult as an actual realization of the game is only achieved through authentic contact.

The world of the K-Project supernetwork is dreamlike. You are a hacker and you are flying through this geometrically-animated world. Nearly everything is comprised of lines, squares, triangles, rhomboids, and more. There is minimal shading throughout the game but wonderfully textured shapes appropriately constructed everywhere lends the gamer with its perception of depth, which goes a long way. As you soar past squares and circles, enemies freely materialize into your line of sight from a far distance or they can appear from behind you. These enemies are mostly non-threatening in the first two stages, but you will still need/want to kill them. The enemies in the final two stages are unreal in their advanced degree of difficulty requiring pinpoint accuracy and multiple hits to die.

rez hd

The structure of each stage is broken up into 10 different “levels”, 9 of which revolve around the same concept of killing viruses and surviving attacks, while the 10th level is where you will face the final boss. Powerups, level-ups, and level advancement are all presented in the form of in-game objects that you must “hit” with your laser in order to obtain them.

The power-ups are red geometric shapes that appear when you destroy certain enemies. When you get a power-up, it is stored in a readable meter at the bottom right of your screen. Utilization of said power-up provides a full-screen hit/destruction of all enemies.


To level-up, you need to obtain 8 level-up boxes. Leveling up is the equivalent of increasing the number of hits you can take as you only have one life. You will start out at level 1, and if you get hit, you go down a level. Level 0 is the lowest level you can have. If you get hit while at level 0, it is game over, although that only requires restarting the current stage and not the entire game (phew! That would suck!).

Advancing to the next level requires hitting the “level” box 8 times with your laser. This box will appear randomly (well, randomly to us, but it appears right on time as programmed in the game) and you must hit it in order to advance to the next level.


Simple gameplay in a world of complexity is the name of the game in Rez HD. The up-tempo synthesized techno beat is enhanced by firing your weapon. Different enemies have a different sound when you hit them, but the sound is more than just your standard hit on an enemy. Each time you contact an enemy with your laser, a beat is inserted into the frame of the current music, enhancing the experience altogether. I have never seen this in a shooter game before and was caught completely off-guard… In the best possible way.

Overall, Rez HD is a must-have for any gaming enthusiast.  While a nearly perfect game on all fronts, Rez HD isn’t without its flaws. Particularly levels 1-9 of almost any stage are predominantly easy and short, perhaps too easy and too short. Furthermore, fully recognizing what to do in the boss battles of levels 3 and 4 can result in unnecessary loss of lives, but the relatively short battles of levels 1 through 9 make it easy to get right back into the heated edge-of-your-seat boss battles. Another downfall of Rez HD is that it can be beaten in nearly an hour, making it a relatively short game. The simplicity and ease of stages 1 and 2 altogether sort of make Rez HD a moderately low contender for replayability. Furthermore, Rez HD is a bit of a button-masher. During multiple heated boss battles, my thumb would get very sore from mashing the fire-button over and over. Granted, it is a rail-shooter game, but it still requires a decently strong thumb.


Despite the low number of shortcomings in Rez HD, the experience is utterly fascinating and emanates from the awe-inspiring world in which Sega, United Game Artists, Q Entertainment, and HexaDrive have created for each iteration of the game across all platforms. The inclusion of High Definition only increases the intimacy of Rez HD and provides unparalleled visuals. Rez HD is a sophisticated game but that doesn’t mean it can only be appreciated or enjoyed by a sophisticated person. Some level of appreciation for abstractism, art, avant-garde, or geometry would only increase one’s overall emotional involvement in the game. Words can’t do justice for  Rez HD so you will have to give it a run for yourself. You might as well just go get the Qubed compilation disc to increase the experience ten-fold AND have some additional games as well. I can’t recommend Rez HD enough and I hope the experience is as vibrant and exciting for you as it was for me.

Nerd Rating: 9.25 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry


Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.


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One Comment

  1. “in-game downloadable content is readily available to micro-fuck your wallet.”

    Hahahah, brilliant! Great review Nerdberry!


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