The first Zero Divide was released in the US not long after the stateside debut of the Sony PlayStation. A 2-D/3-D fighting game along the lines of Sega's Virtua Fighter series, it was well regarded in its time for its graphics, exceptional soundtrack, and "rock 'em sock 'em robots as written by William Gibson" storyline. Its sequel, out now among the third and almost fourth generation of PS games, doesn't really keep up with its contemporaries, being neither much better, nor much different, than the original.
The eight robotic fighters from Zero Divide (Zero, Tau, Wild 3, IO, Eos, Cygnus, Draco, and Nereid) are back, joined by nurse bot Pixel, the crab-like Cancer, "cyber trooper" Nox, and Eve, a female version of the last game's boss. All are bland and uninteresting, both in terms of character design and background, though that's nothing new for the series.
What is new to ZD is that its graphics have been pared down to support a speed of 60 frames per second. This is much like the default mode of Battle Arena Toshinden 3, but without the small boxed-in arenas and ability to flip back to a pretty 30 fps. Somehow the response time of the fighters has remained frustratingly slow, although a little better. Even so, you will still pull your hair out waiting for your character to get up from a fall as opponents bang and jump on you numerous times.
Speaking of banging, the graphical "breakability" of the robots' bodies has changed. The characters' shells actually burst apart instead of just revealing the burning, flickering wires inside - as before, this damage makes them more vulnerable to damage if hit again in the same area. While it's a step up from the first, it comes off as a visual derivative of Sega's Fighting Vipers, and it would be much more original if a physically impaired robot was prevented from carrying out certain moves if damaged in a critical sector. But all the body explosions in the world don't make up for the fact that the game's fighting system is a simple two-button punch-kick attack like Virtua Fighter. This is all well and good, but it offers no compelling reason to play it instead of one of the VF titles (especially since it's now as easy as them, unlike the incredibly tough original).
One advance that Zero Divide boasts over its predecessor is the ability to save up to 200 match replays on the PlayStation memory card. This allows you to see how incredible the title's motion capturing is when viewed in slow motion mode, but it's really quite a marginal innovation in a pretty marginal game.
While the first Zero Divide was brought out in America by Time Warner Interactive (now once again functioning as "Atari Games" since its buyout by Midway), no one has lined up to publish ZD2 here yet. And since there's already a lion's share of run of the mill fighting games out in the industry right now, it's highly unlikely that anyone will.