With all the HD remakes coming out for games that were already released in HD, I figured someone needed to bring up something a little older. Zone of the Enders: HD Collection was way overdue for its HD re-release in October of 2012, but it was definitely not one to be missed, and if you did, maybe its time to go back and check it out.
The first game in the bundle, Zone of the Enders, is probably one of those games that still feels old and is not worth your time. The story in the first is not entirely necessary and, if it were me, i would skip it altogether and watch a youtube video recap. The gold in this bundle lies in the second game, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. This game is amazing. Beautiful when it was originally released and only needed HD to smooth out some rough edges, the animation of both the cut scenes and the gameplay is near flawless for its time. After so many 3rd person shooters between its original release and now, the controls do leave a little bit to be desired, but all in all, this could quite possibly be one of the greatest games ever made. In the first game, a young boy named Leo falls into the cockpit of a giant robot mech named Jehuty. Now its up to Leo to save the space colony that all his friends and family used to live on before they were killed by an invading military force. The game sends you from point A to point B to fight a wave of robots and maybe a boss to grab item C so you can take it back to point A, fight another wave of robots and trade item C for Item D. Its repetitive, the 3D graphics of the time sucked, the voice acting was terrible… Did I mention it was repetitive? I recommend not wasting your time with the first game.
The 2nd Runner, however, took the two coolest things from the first game, Jehuty and the combat system, and pretty much scrapped the rest. The old 3D graphics cut scenes were replaced by anime style cut scenes, the whiny protagonist, Leo Stenbuck, was replaced by an old badass orbital frame pilot named Dingo Egrett (not the coolest first name, ill admit, but at least he doesn’t cry) and the back and forth “fetch” games they used to make us play were replaced with an actual story line that’s good.
The combat is a little dated when compared to current 3rd person hack n slash shooters, but you feel no less than badass when you dodge a high powered attack by one enemy, charge up a high powered shot of your own and fire it back. All of the sub weapons in Jehuty’s arsenal serve a useful purpose and are even more fun to use in the bigger battles, especially when the “0 Shift” sub weapon is unlocked. This sub-weapon is, for all intents and purposes, a teleport for Jehuty, allowing you to jump from one end of the battle to the other instantaneously and putting you in perfect range for melee attacks.
All of this comes together to create a game that is hard to classify or compare to others. Overall, the game will make you feel like a badass and leave you wanting more, and if it helps, think of it this way: you’re not buying 2 games, you’re paying for the 2nd Runner and getting the first game for free.