Of course, it’s not huge. You could easily clear all four main areas with an hour or two. Get a 100 per cent rating for data analysis and you unlock a fifth area, leading to a final boss battle and the proper completion of the game. Polishing this off reveals a final secret stage, but that’s basically it. Finishing an area also unlocks a score attack mode – now with online leaderboards – but I don’t think Rez is the new Geometry Wars as far as that’s concerned. Even the chance to fiddle with various visual treatments and reverb effects won’t hold your attention for long once you’ve cracked the core content. Rez is a game to be amazed by, and one you will keep coming back to periodically just because you fancy the experience, but it’s not a game that will keep you immersed for days on end.
Now, on the Dreamcast and PS2, where you were paying the full price for the game, value for money was an issue. As an Xbox Live Arcade download, however, all such doubts are blown clean out of the water. For less than £7 you get the chance to enjoy one of the most magnificent and thrilling ‘arthouse’ games ever made. There’s a very small chance you might not like it, but you really, really ought to experience it. It’s not something you’ll ever understand by reading this or by looking at the screenshots – even watching video clips or listening to the soundtrack – it’s something that you’ve just got to look and hear and feel for yourself. If you have an Xbox 360, then you owe it to yourself to do just that.
There’s not all that much to the gameplay, but who cares when that’s just one part of such an overwhelming sensory experience. Essential.