This page was last updated on Thursday, 17 May 2001.
Zone of the Enders
Manga mech game : 1-2 players : PS2 Memory Card : Analogue Dual Shock : Konami
Result : 4 - 3+1 because it's got pensis! (sorry in-joke)
Zone of the Enders will forever be known as that game that came with the Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty demo. It is a good game in it's own right, but one wonders how many copies are sold because of the demo disk also included. The game is set in the future on a space station orbiting Jupiter, the story follows a semi-normal Manga like plot, complete with huge eyed females, and innocent hero-type boy. Oh, and the mechs, huge human-like robots armed with various death spitting weaponry and unusual metal extensions in the groinal region that seem to serve no purpose... You fly one of these about, saving the colony and beating up the evil earthers who want to subjugate the Enders (as they are known).
This game stuns you with it's visuals! the level's draw distance merges smoothly with the background bits, the buildings are amazingly detailed, and the flames (after a good blasting) are also realistically animated. All-in-all a very believable world is created. The mechs (called Orbital Frames in ZOE) are lavishly rendered, and considering up to 4-6 might be on screen at once only serves to impress. The interaction with the environment is pleasing indeed, and the particle and lighting effects are some of (if not) the best so far seen on the PS2. Amazing stuff!
Sound is truly impressive too, the whirl of combat feels more exciting because of the clanking, blasting and roar of Orbital Frames duking it out. The music is often hauntingly beautiful (I love the intro) and the voice acting is top notch, seriously believable as being from a genuine animae.
Now for the bad stuff: I finished ZOE in 6 hours, 21 minutes and 5 seconds, short in anyone's book, and since the desire to replay it is greatly decreased it suffers in the longevity stacks. You may play it once more, but twice? I really doubt it. There is a tacked on VS mode, but it is a little sad, and shows no thought for extra modes. Also noticeable is the uselessness of the secondary weapons. Where is the power and hunger for ever more flashy and destructive firepower? Some weapons you only ever use once, and others are while better are often worse than the normal combo moves one can do normally. The game starts to feel a little repetitive near the end, almost as thought the designers had run out of ideas, as does the sudden cut-off, it seems like you should be carrying on to Mars or at least killing Anuibus.
So while ZOE is a definite must-play, I would recommend renting as it's just too short. The experience is fantastic, but just dont expect it too last too long... All flash and no substance?!
Successfully complete the game on any difficulty setting to unlock versus mode with five frames and most stages. Successfully complete the game on any difficulty setting twice to unlock the remaining two frames and stages.
Successfully complete the game on any difficulty setting and get an "A" rank on all five rescue missions to hear a different ending theme during the end credits.