A look back at Zone of the Enders
[Continued] Page 2
Running full speed ahead
Given the so-so performance of the first two games, it seems surprising that The 2nd Runner made it into production. Thankfully though, Konami saw the potential the franchise still offered, and took the opportunity to improve upon the original ZOE in every way possible, making for one of the greatest PS2 games of all time.
Though Leo Stenbuck made an appearance (piloting a mecha version of Konami's famous Vic Viper), the new protagonist Dingo now took control of Jehuty, working with ADA to take down the imperialist Bahram military. No longer an awkward coming-of-age story, The 2nd Runner was free to explore the grittiness of the ZOE universe, helped by some great voice-acted dialogue and the occasional animated sequence.
Building upon the fantastic combat mechanics of the original game, The 2nd Runner's improved engine made it possible to litter the screen with hundreds of enemies, adding a truly sense of scale to the frantic battles (and letting the impressive new burst laser dazzle as it ripped through the numerous targets). The game's improved length meant there was time to feature more than the original's fetch quests, including a thrilling fight against a slew of gigantic warships, and a truly epic showdown between Jehuty and the demon frame Anubis. Not to mention that ZOE2 truly pushed the PS2's graphic capabilities to the limit, and the occasional slowdown hiccup was more than forgivable in return for the sheer gleeful destruction Jehuty could deliver.
Unfortunately, due to a small print run, many gamers missed out on The 2nd Runner. Thankfully, there's now an even better way to play ZOE2...
Towards the future
It's been almost ten years since the last Zone of the Enders title, and it seems obvious that the series is due for a return to glory. On October 30th, the Zone of the Enders HD collection drops, giving gamers access to these two classic titles in gorgeous high-definition, promising to give the once cutting-edge graphics a bit of needed polish (and throwing in some new animated intros to boot!). Not to mention that in homage to the original Zone of the Enders, this collection also comes bundled with a demo for the latest Metal Gear title, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. For $40, this collection really is one hell of a deal, and a must-buy for fans of giant robot action.
Hopefully, this collection serves as the launching board for future Zone of the Enders titles. With the next generation of consoles not too far off, it would be nice to see this gorgeous series again flooding our eyeballs with its fantastic visual symphony. Perhaps Hideo Kojima will eventually tire of Metal Gear sequels and return to his ambitious sci-fi project, though until then, we'll be happy making due with this compilation (or if you're like me, making due with the special edition versions, which I've pre-ordered for both platforms).
Don't miss it!