martedì 15 febbraio 2011

Revoltech Yamaguchi No.103 Z.O.E. Jehuty Big Size Images + BONUS Game Review

Revoltech Yamaguchi No.103 Z.O.E. Jehuty Big Size Images + BONUS Game Review

リボルテック ヤマグチ NO.103 Z.O.E ジェフティ
Release date: 15 April 2011 - Price: 2,980 Yen
Manufacturer: Kaiyodo

(Click to the link)

"Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner" Review

Looking back now, I think it's kind of unfortunate the original Zone of Enders had the demo of Metal Gear Solid 2 bundled with it. Don't get me wrong -- at the time, it was incredibly cool to get a taste of MGS2 so well in advance of the game's release. It's just a shame that the demo ended up completely overshadowing the title it was meant to supplement. Seriously, who didn't first pop in the disc with MGS2 before moving on to ZOE? My point exactly. But that's the problem -- it shouldn't be that way. Especially, when we're talking about a game as unique as Zone of the Enders.

For those of us that were able to see the original ZOE as more than just a glorified MGS2 demo, what we were ultimately treated to was undeniable mechanized bliss -- in short bursts, at least. Sure, the game was too short and fundamentally flawed, but underneath were glimpses of brilliance -- enough to make it a thoroughly engaging experience. But therein lied the problem: one couldn't play the game without constantly pondering over how good it could have been had it actually lived up to its potential.

Which is likely why there's been such a strong interest in ZOE2 (you know, aside from its brilliant visuals). With a brand new director (Shuyo Murata) at the helm and the ability to take into account the criticisms of the original, here was Konami's chance to deliver on what it had set out to accomplish with the first game.

There's an immediate indication that the developers have paid attention to some of what we've all asked for. Your main character, for example, is no longer the diminutive Leo (though he does make an appearance in this game).

This time you're in control of Dingo, who is infinitely cooler. Environments are also more varied this time around, taking you from snowy mountain passes to the vast open terrain of Mars. As well, story elements are much better presented, with sleek looking anime sequences replacing the CG cinemas of the original.

The story itself is better this time around too, and sports a real ending (sure to please those who played the original). Even the game's length has been remedied here, though only slightly so. I'm of the opinion, though, that with the added difficulty of ZOE2 -- not to mention the cool unlockable extras -- there's more than enough gameplay to be had.

The cool thing is, even things that the first ZOE had right have been improved for the sequel. Take the graphics. Konami's managed to bring the already-outstanding visuals of the original to an almost incomprehensible level here. Not only do the subtle anime-ish touches give the game a cooler style, but there are times when this game pulls off special effects so spectacular you thought you'd have to wait for PS3 to see them.

Gameplay has also been taken up a notch with far more impressive firepower and the ability to combat plenty (as in hundreds) more enemies at once. Basically, the entire thing just feels twice as cool as the original.

Unfortunately, ZOE2 is not perfect. The way the game's story was delivered, for example, irked me at times. As often the case in Japanese anime movies, things just feel slightly off in ZOE2, with seemingly key points often not receiving the emphasis they deserve (whether this is a result of the English translation, I'm not sure). Then there are still the lesser offensive things, such as the somewhat linear and repetitive nature of much of the game, and a camera that was glitchy at times.

But what can I say? No other game out there offers such a chaotic, yet brilliantly visceral gaming experience. The rush you'll get from zooming all around, blasting massive space cruisers, and witnessing the insane light show in front of your eyes is simply unparalleled. And for this reason alone, ZOE2 is a game that demands to be experienced by all.

"Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine" - Sam Kennedy -