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Old 19-03-2003, 10:07 PM   #1   [permalink]
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Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner represents what should be considered the definition of a PERFECT sequel. Everything that could have been improved upon from the first game has been done in this game. From the beatiful graphics to the extremely deep and exhilirating combat system this is a game that will keep pulling back into it's world even after you've seen all that it has to offer many times before.

The story this time centers around an exiled Bahram runner named Dingo Egret who finds Jehuty, the frame from the preivous game, deserted on Pluto or somewhere...can't remember where at the moment. But don't let his horrible name fool you he is a top notch runner and more than fills the shoes, or Frame, that Leo left after the last game. The story is much more grown up this time around but unfortunately is hard to take serious because of the horribly wretched dialouge which escapes the characters mouths during cutscenes.

Speaking of cutscenes ZOE2 decided to ditch the full CG scenes of the last game and instead melded together CG action sequences with something I think we don't see enough of in games: ANIME! And some very nicely done anime although the dialouge can still distract you from it quite a bit. Yeesh who wrote this crap?! Anyway the general rule as that whenever the characters are in their respective frames the scene will be CG and whenever they are doing something outside a frame it will be shown through anime.

Secondary characters include the return of an older Leo Stenbuck, the pilot from the first ZOE, who now pilots a transformable frame that all you old school Konami fanboys will fawn over: The Vic Viper! For those of you who don't recognize the name will recognize the ship when I tell you that it is in fact the ship from the Gradius and Lifeforce games. IT was also really neat hearing the remixed Gradius theme blasting through the speakers during that particular stage. We also see the return of Nohman and his devishly wicked fram Anubis as well as a few other characters that will probably take you by surprise.

For those you who haven't played the first game will be glad to know that Konami included a nice video which tells the story of the first game almost completely using cutscenes and in game shots from the first game. It is very helpful and will open your eyes to many of the connections between the 2 games. It's also helpful for those of us who played through the first game but may not remember everything that happened during that time.

Well onto the good stuff: the combat system! The gameplay is so deep and so strategic it will never be played the same way by 2 people and everytime you come back to the game you will spend your time looking for new strategies to use against your enemies. Coming up with strategies to use rather than just mashing the attack button is very important because you will often times be surrounded by 100's of enemies at once. Anyone whose played the last ZOE won't believe that last remark but ZOE2 has really upped the enemy count and it is a very welcome addition although it times it can cause quite a bit of slowdown.

The enemies will get extremely smart later in the game and will no longer fall for the button mashing technique so being able to adapt will be very important. These smart enemies also make up for the some what low number of different enemie types there are to fight in the game.

The subweapons especially fuel this creative thinking approach by just being very useful this time around. After playing the game for a while you will get things like homing missiles, a gauntlet that can hit enemies fram afar(not to mention great for knocking them into walls), and the wisp which lets you grab objects and enemys from faraway.

And that brings up yet another extremely fun aspect of the game, being able to grab object and enemies and then use them to bash other enemies around. Objects are limited though. YOu will be able picked up large columns to use as a bat or throw as a spear into the enemies if you so desire. You are also able to rip pieces of metal out of the walls and structures around and use them as shields to protect against heavier attacks or whip them like giant frisbees of death into a group of enemy frames. And lastly you can grab the enemies themselves and use them as shield, bat, or projectile against there friends or you could just whip them into a wall or ceiling if you feel like it.

The missions are also much more interesting and varied this time around. Fans of the last game will undoubtedly recognize the mission where you save civillian buildings from damage as well as protecting an carrying a disabled frame to an extraction point and finding yourself with the job of protecting a squad of 40 LEV's against a force of 500 Bahram frames which is one of the most exhilirating levels I have ever played in an action game.

The boss battles are much more strategic now also forcing you to find the weak point of the enemy rather than just blasting away like many of the bosses in the last game. I also enjoyed the boss battles this teim around much more since they were more than often battles in which you are taking on a frame that is just as quick and powerful if not more powerful than Jehuty is.

Graphically I found the game stunning! Konami put together a graphical style that blew me away. It was very reminescent of Metal Gear Solid 2 but with the explosions and many of the details being cell-shaded. I really liked the way they put it together and thought it fit perfectly with the anime theme of the game.

All of the frames are highly detailed with those wicked pulsating Metatron veins we all loved from the first game. Anubis is especially a site that must be seen! The general enemies however don't look all that good but is understandable since there is so many of them on the screen at once.

The quick action of the game unfortuantely will also throw the camera into a frenzy not allowing it to always get a good shot of the action, especilaly enclosed areas but usually isn't too bad in outside areas.

The game's length also leaves much to be desired ending around 6 hours after first sticking the ZOE2 disc into the PS2 but at least this time we get more of a complete ending than the last game!

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is definately a game I would recommend to any gamer out there especially action and anime fans. The games short length and sometimes shoddy camera may shy some of you away but the pure genius and fun you will get out of the extremely well done combat system and gameplay will draw you back into the game many many times after youv'e seen all that it has too offer.

Bottome Line: ZOE2 is everything a perfect sequel could hope to be, and should be considered the level of excellence all sequels strive to reach during the development process!
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Old 25-03-2003, 01:56 PM   #2   [permalink]
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Amen brotha!

You sold me.

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Old 25-03-2003, 04:32 PM   #3   [permalink]
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I saw a preview of this on Tech TV's Extended Play...
This looks like a defanite buy for me...
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Old 29-03-2003, 07:11 PM   #4   [permalink]
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Does anyone have any links to a site that has some good screenshots?
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Old 05-04-2003, 03:19 PM   #5   [permalink]
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I am so getting that but the first one was way too short
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Old 07-04-2003, 04:16 PM   #6   [permalink]
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I couldn't agree with you more. I have enjoyed the anime and thought the first Z.O.E. game was fun but the "Second Runner" game is beautiful. So many improvements were made over the first video game.
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Old 14-04-2003, 10:27 PM   #7   [permalink]
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What else could you expect for Hideo, did anyone else notice such famous lines like "Can't you even die right?" I loved the game, alot faster than the first and also a lot longer. The animated scenes are a big plus over the old CG scenes, the character designs are truly awesome. Though, since I played it I've been wondering why the cockpit is located where it is. Yeah, Ken is a bigger plus (DD I believe) over love interest of the other game.
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Old 15-04-2003, 07:33 PM   #8   [permalink]
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Does anyone have any links to a site that has some good screenshots?

There you go.
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Old 17-04-2003, 03:51 AM   #9   [permalink]
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I hate to tell you, but this one is short too!!!
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Old 20-04-2003, 07:04 PM   #10   [permalink]
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It took me about 8 hours to play through it my first time on normal mode. After that I've been playing through it on hard mode, but I'm only a few hours into it. Awesome game in my opinion...

Considering the extra's mode though and the simple fact that your going to want to play through this more than once I'd say it has excellent replay value.

So Kusunagi is somewhat right. It isn't that long, but it certainly stands better than the original in the long run of things.
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Old 21-04-2003, 03:13 PM   #11   [permalink]
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Originally posted by Brian West 0

There you go.
Thanks, i wanted to show my friend the game...
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Old 11-05-2003, 12:27 AM   #12   [permalink]
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conidering that there are literaly thousands of hours of game play left after you beat it makes me think that it isn't that short. from finding all the keys in the game for V.S. characters to the survival mode the game has plenty of hours of play left. I can honestly say that it is the best play value since FF7. it has the appeal for you to come back for more. that and i'm a Mech fan.
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