Review: Zone of The Enders HD Collection

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Zone of The Enders truly deserves this remake. Beautiful HD rendering along with a widescreen aspect ratio improve a title many have been referring to as one of Kojima’s masterpieces for the past 10 years.

While I will admit to being somewhat bias toward the ZOE series, I will also state that this game is to date the only mech action game that captured me in every way. Back in 2001 when the original was release on PS2, the 12 year old me was blown away by everything the original title had to offer. It has from then remained with me, and is one of the major factors that originally got me into anime.

Kojima has stated many times that Zone of The Enders was one of his favorite projects, with ZOE 3 codenamed The Enders Project well underway for current gen systems. For those who have never experienced this title, to sum it up, ZOE is a extremely fast-paced free space aerial combat mech simulator. Don’t underestimate this game’s speed just because it was originally on the PS2, it not only keeps up with current gen action games, but in many ways surpasses them.

Gameplay

Untouched, pristine, and just as ball-droppingly intense as it was meant to be. The higher aspect ratio (16:9) along with the increased frame rate make the title a definite replay. Both ZOE and ZOE: Second Runner will keep you glued to your screen, trying to go eliminate enemies quicker, more precisely,  and constantly wanting to go faster.

So maybe you aren’t the biggest fan of anime, or aren’t into Japanese games but enjoy a good action title. For $40, there are few games i would recommend over this masterpiece.

Ok let’s admit it, this game isn’t perfect for the American market. The voiceovers have some pretty bad acting at times, and a few of the cutscenes are extremely anime-theme heavy, which may seem super cheesy to many Western and European gamers. The first ZOE has a story mode that can be easily cleared within 4-5 hours on any difficulty ( At least for me, because I kick ass at this game). ZOE : 2nd Runner has a much longer story mode, roughly 15-17 hours with a less cheesy plot.

Combat can unfortunately drop in frames at times when facing many enemies in certain environments, but quickly picks up again soon as you rotate. If you are a fan of action free space games, then this is a title you will really want to look into.

Graphics

One of the most impressive additions to the HD remake was the new intro. Created by Sunrise Studios. Sunrise is responsible for titles such as Gundam, Code Geass, Cowby Bebop, and many famous favorites. With their participation, the new intro is not only stunning, but accurately depicts the events of the ZOE series. Watch it below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvnR-cXMbMw[/youtube]

With an increased aspect ratio to support widescreen (16:9) and support for 720p HD, It feels as though I am looking and an entirely new world. Just to jog my memory, I busted out the PS3 and popped in my original ZOE :2nd Runner. The difference is staggering. Here is an example of this comparison.


As you can see, the screens from the right are obviously from the HD remake. Higher resolution, framerate, and rendering on par with current gen games make this reboot something truly beautiful.

Audio

If you were able to get your hands on the Collector’s Edition, the remastered soundtrack along with an artbook were your rewards. If not (Like me), then you still get to enjoy all the wonderful music these title have to offer as you make your way fighting through this intense world. Although some of the dubbing can become quite cheesy, this is the norm with almost all English dubbed anime. My advice? Japanese with English subtitles all the way.

Final Verdict

To any true fan of the series, a remake will be a definite buy. But for somebody who hasn’t played Zone Of The Enders, what would be the biggest selling point? Well would it be the intense, high octane, aerial combat. Or the beautiful visuals accompanied by a creative and very fitting soundtrack. Or maybe a demo for a game that you may have heard of, Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengance (which is unfortunately a bit buggy). There are quite a few factors that would entice a new generation to experience this game, but most of all, experience a title that broke out of the norm which mech combat games were all leaning towards, and brought a fresh breath to a genre which sorely needed to sprout some wings.

Grade : A -

Adam Kharakov

Adam “kharakov” Kharat is part nerd, part geek, and full awesome. With deadly writing skills and the sleeping habits of a jackrabbit, late night gaming sessions are all but mandatory.

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