Hands-on: Z.O.E. 2173 Testament

A strategy simulation game based on the Zone of the Enders series makes its way to the GBA.

The Game Boy Advance version of Z.O.E. is the follow-up from the PlayStation 2 game released earlier this year. Though this time, it is not a 3D-action game, but a strategy simulation game. Like most games of the genre, players will have several mech units going up against enemy units, taking turns in a square grid-map. As battle is engaged, whether in close-combat or long range, you will be viewing from inside the cockpit with the enemy unit in visual range. Similar to the system in Konami's Ring of Red, the battle system is called the Interactive Action System (IAS). When you are attacking, a target sight appears on screen and locks on to the enemy as accurately as possible. And while you are defending, you have to try to break away from the enemy's sight as much as possible. Both actions are on a time limit.

The graphics on the field map are basic, though there are some animated sequences used when engaged in battle. The story part of the game only shows the faces of the characters, though there are several animations for different expressions for each character. Your mechs can also be customized with parts and weapons. There isn't much distinction from other games of the same genre except that the setting is based in the Zone of the Enders series. The development already complete, Konami is ready to ship Z.O.E. 2173 Testament on September 27 in Japan. A North American release is scheduled for early next year.

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