So chances are there are 2 things that has caught you on this franchise. A. you bought it mainly for the demo of the then upcoming Metal Gear Solid 2, or B. You tripped upon it on one of those neat Playstation Demo disc's and had your mind blown. Having been the latter, This franchise is one of those games ill bring up when listing some of my favorite PS2 games of all time. The games were throughly short, but contained an epic combat system, cutting edge graphics, deep storys that pulled allot of heart strings, and honestly, it had a pretty cool vs mode as a nice side feature.
So the question is, how does the Zone Of The Enders franchise stand up to todays standards? Well if i had to make an honest answer, its probably the most underrated HD collection of all time...
The original ZOE tells the story of a much hated boy by the name of leo, who (while being hunted down by one of the frames) accidentally activates a frame Named of jehuty. Having seen him in action, the space force hires him to help them stop the bahram, the menace attacking there colony. ZOE: The 2nd Runner is about Dingo, a former member of bahram. Having denied nohman's invitation back, dingo is shot and left for dead, atleast until ken saves him by connecting him to jehuty, the frame from the previous game.
Despite some questionable lines and a few badly done lines (particularly the original ZOE) The stories still managed to be great and effecting, particularly moments such as Leo's sad childhood or 2nd runners ending. They also are told in a very distinctive style, with the ZOE having precanned FMV's while 2nd runner tells the story through anime animations.
Now your probably wondering about the HD remastering. Generally what suffers the most is ZOE's precanned cutscenes. its not that they look bad, far from it. But they do suffer from terrible compression issues that give them a fuzzy and blurry look. The anime cutscenes of 2nd runner suffer a similiar problem, however they come off allot better in comparison. ZOE is really good looking considering it released around the launch of the PS2. The frames are highly detailed and move very smooth. What ZOE does have a problem at is framerates and that the levels can feel bland at times. 2nd runner on the other hand is pure eye candy. Its probably one of the best looking PS2 game next to Metal Gear Solid 3.
Both games have very enjoyable gameplay. Although much like the styles between the 2, they both have distinctive differences
In ZOE, You have a world map in which you have to travel in between places to progress. For the most part, it works. Its only when you end up having to back track between places when it can be frustrating, and at times, the game can feel rather cheap, although the game is more on the easy side. It has a few rescue missions aswell that can lead to a few story alterations. You can shoot from a distance, or get up close and slash your enemies. You can also do a few dash attacks aswell as charge up a ball to cause some serious damage. ZOE totals up to around 4 hours on a 1st play through.
2nd runner is more linear. But it does add much more difficulty, which its prequel lacked. It has a few puzzles and enemies/bosses will be allot more aggressive. Now imagine all the moves from the original ZOE beefed up. 2nd runner ends up feeling tighter and fast. It ends up feeling less clunky and in return they added a few mechanics, such as being able to pick up objects and use them as weapons.Your 1st play through of this game will roughly be 5 hours. The sound is as we all remember it. "Cringe worthy at times but good enough" voice acting. Epic intro and gameplay music, exciting mech sound effects and explosions, and finally, ADA's voice.
Now is there a problem about the HD collection? Well its a very small one. ZOE does suffer from some framerate issues. But then again, i recall the PS2 version having the same problem. So i didnt really feel it was a problem. There where some controversy around problems plaguing 2nd runner, however a 500+ MB patched any relavant problems From what i experienced, 2nd runner ran fine and i never ran into any major problem with it.
This is without a doubt a must buy. If you never had a chance to experience this franchise, then what the hell are you doing reading this review? Zone of the enders HD is 10+ hours of orbital frame epicness that must be experienced again...and again.