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Zone of the Enders: HD Collection Review

It's always difficult to judge an HD collection on its own merits, after all, most of the time it's just a re-skinned version of a game you've played before, or it's an old game that you feel you should play because you missed it the first time round. Do these old school games hold up on a modern console and how will new players receive such a product?

Zone of the Enders takes place on a space colony floating around Jupiter. You play as Leo, a young boy who stumbles onto an Orbital Frame, a giant mech while trying to escape from a terrorist threat. The mech is called Jehuty and the game revolves around Jehuty being sent to Mars to fulfil a special mission but in the mean time, you have to pilot it to several locations in the colony to gain access to all its functions while fighting off the invading forces.

Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner continues the story, set a few years later, where Jehuty has reached Mars and is now being piloted by a new Frame Runner called Dingo. After suffering a fatal incident, Dingo is forced to stay inside Jehuty's cockpit, using its life support machine to keep him alive.
Pilot 1: Hey... Pilot 2: Hey...
Both games have a solid storyline and the continuation from the first game to the second gives a more fleshed out feel to the complete package. Both games do suffer a bit from the playable character having to keep reaffirming what they are fighting for, but both Leo and Dingo have a steady progression throughout their respective campaigns. Having Leo in the second game as an NPC also shows how much he has developed over the years, which is a nice touch rather than just getting rid of him in the wake of a new storyline.

Overall the story between both games is good but the only character you'll remember from each is the main one you play as and possibly Viola, one of the recurring enemy bosses. The game works just as well if you want to skip all the cutscenes and just go straight into chopping enemies to pieces with enough mission variety that it doesn't just become a case of kill this, go here, kill that, go there.

Zone of the Enders is a fast paced fighting game set in arena battles within a larger hub World. Using Jehuty you must fly back and forth collecting new parts and carry out rescue missions in certain areas.

Zone of the Enders 2 however ditches the hub world for straight up action missions with beautiful anime cutscenes filling in the story gaps between stages. ZoE2 also seems comparatively more difficult compared to the first which is no bad thing, but when you start the game after having a fully powered Mech from the end of the first; it's easy to be over whelmed when starting from scratch in the sequel.
Another issue with the first game are the parts where you have to find certain objects or specific enemies; this has you travelling to random areas in a hide and seek style game. You're not always told where to go and so progressing can be slowed right down as you try to find one thing that you're looking for which can be tedious, but luckily there's not too many areas so you won't waste hours on fetch quests.

Both games have a similar combat mechanic, one button for both long and close range combat, depending on the distance to your enemies. You also have a sub weapon which can be changed on the fly which gives you different attack types, such as a long range sniper rifle or something more suited to take out multiple close-up enemies with mines or a rapid fire machine gun. While this makes combat more simplistic, it can get a little repetitive after long gaming sessions. If you do get close enough to an enemy, you can also grab them and toss them toward other enemies, causing damage to multiple units, although, you need to be careful as throwing an enemy into a building will cause structures to become damaged or ultimately destroyed which affects your end score!

You're also given full flight control of Jehuty so you can manoeuvre very quickly around arenas using boosters, as well as controlling your height so fighting can happen on the ground or in the air.

The game’s overhaul here really shines as the bright colours and neon details on the Orbital Frames really pop out in HD. The environments you play in don't look too amazing but overall it has a lot of polish. The only downside is in ZoE1 where the game is played out over one night, so every mission is played in a dark environment.
Amazing cutscenes
While the first game looked great, it's the sequel that really stands out; the anime cutscenes look amazing in HD and really show off the stunning game visuals. Playing missions on day time stages also gives the sequel a unique feel from the first.

Sound effects in the game serve their purpose well, with typical noises of swishing plasma swords and gun fire, as well as explosions and other robotic influences, you'll have no trouble becoming immersed in the experience. The soundtrack is a bit lacking, with not much options with background music. It does seem to adjust when the battles start getting intense, but overall, it's forgettable.

Final Verdict
Zone of the Enders was over shadowed by Kojima's more notable game, Metal Gear Solid so if you originally missed this on the PlayStation 2, it's well worth picking up. The fast paced action and well crafted story make this a game that needs to be played.

Story = 8/10
Gameplay = 7/10
Graphics/Sound = 8/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 7.6/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
Zone Of The Enders: HD Collection Review
Reviewed by Zero
on Feb 13 2013

Rating: 7.6/10

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