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Zone of the Enders HD Collection Review

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Charles King on November 12, 2012 - 7:45 pm in Reviews

Hideo Kojima, creator of the legendary Metal Gear franchise, introduced a completely new game on March 1, 2001 with the release of Zone of the Enders. This futuristic tale of interplanetary struggle combined high-speed robot action with the detail and storytelling found in Anime. Kojima followed up with ZOE: The 2nd Runner on February 13, 2003, and the series became a cult classic which lead to an OAV movie and a 26-episode series.

With HD collections becoming a trend in the industry, Kojima Productions has given gamers another chance to experience a fan-favorite series with a fully remastered HD collection containing Zone of the Enders and its sequel Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner.

Zone of the Enders tells the story of a boy named Leo Stenbuck, a colonist from the Jupiter colony Atillia who accidentally finds the powerful Orbital Frame called Jehuty while his home is attacked by BAHRAM forces. Leo is very young and untrained, but with guidance from the combat A.I. aboard Jehuty known as ADA he is able to save his home from destruction. In the sequel, The 2nd Runner introduced an older and more capable character named Dingo Egret, a former BAHRAM pilot who also finds Jehuty on the moon of Callisto and reluctantly continues the mission to destroy the BAHRAM super weapon called Aumaan.

Living up to the motto of “High speed robot action”, Zone of the Enders will have players flying in 3D environments while firing lasers and grabbing enemies. The action can be very intense and the camera does a good job of keeping up, well mostly. You really have to learn how to switch targets and to discern enemy positions or you will quickly lose track of the action.

The 2nd Runner greatly improves on all aspect of the game. The combat system is refined and so are the graphics, character models, mission structure and objectives, everything. Multiple enemies can be targeted and the game will definitely throw a ton of enemy mechs at you to take advantage of your new targeting system.

With a new opening animation by Sunrise and re-renders of the original opening animations in both games, the high-definition coat of paint applied by Kojima Productions gives the HD Collection a new crisp look to the gaming experience. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the series was developed 11 years ago, but then you are reminded by some of the set designs. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is where gamers will be most impressed with the finished product.

One of the ZOE franchise’s greatest strength is the soundtrack. The battles are hyper-charged with music that complements every enemy encounter and cut-scene very nicely. I am sure I will be looking for the soundtracks for both ZOE games very soon.

Should you five Zone of the Enders HD Collection a try?

The Zone of the Enders HD collection is perfect for gamers who want to take a high-speed, action filled ride down memory lane (just like i did). The original Playstation 2 releases of both games are rare gems, so the HD Collection is a chance to play both games without searching the galaxy for them.

The cinematics in the original ZOE are pretty dated, and the dialogue can be a little clunkly at times throughout the series. However, the story and the frantic combat during gameplay is definitely worth checking out.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Kojima Productions
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Released: October 30, 2012