Review – Zone of the Enders HD Collection

By: Louis Edwards

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Hideo Kojima brought us Zone of the Enders way back in 2001 and it’s sequel Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner in 2003. Both were available for the PlayStation 2 and received decent reviews. Konami has now remastered them for this generation of consoles. Did they make a good transition, or should they have been left out in the dark reaches of space?

Read our review to find out.

 

The Zone of the Enders series is set in the late 22nd century. Mankind has colonized Mars, and space colonies are also set up in orbit around Jupiter. Fueling this expansion are two scientific advances: the development of the Laborious Extra-Orbital Vehicle, or LEV, a mecha used for labor and military use, and the discovery of Metatron, a high-energy ore.

Those in power on Earth begin to take a dim view of the colonists of Mars and Jupiter, calling them “Enders”, and imposed harsh laws and taxes against them. Eventually, different groups on Mars begin to rise up in opposition to Earth, the most well known of these called BAHRAM. A new weapon given to these rebels is the Orbital Frame, a mecha making extensive use of Metatron-based technology. These Orbital Frames come to shape the destiny of Earth and its colonies, for both good and evil.

Zone of the Enders, the first game in the series, details the story of a boy named Leo Stenbuck, a colonist from Jupiter who accidentally finds himself piloting the Orbital Frame Jehuty. With his AI instructor ADA to guide him, he learns how to operate his orbital frame and immediately gets thrust into battle. His frame not only has long range blasters, but it also comes with a powerful sword for close quarter combat.

In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner a new pilot, Dingo Egret, finds Jehuty on the Moon of Callisto two years after the events of the first game and travels to the superweapon Aumaan in order to defeat Colonel Nohman of the BAHRAM army, who pilots Jehuty’s sister craft, Anubis.

For this HD re-release of the game, a brand new opening scene was created in partnership with animation house Sunrise. The opening scene looked great. All other cut scenes were remastered but didn’t make the trip very well. For both games, these scenes are hard on the eyes but can easily be skipped by pressing Start.

Gameplay animations have been remastered as well and this is where the game shines. While the first game in the series isn’t as good as the second, they both bring hours of gameplay to gamers that may have never experienced Hideo Kojima’s other brainchild that is Zone of the Enders.

The robot action of both titles will have you spinning, flying, jumping and slashing through space with your orbital frame. The game makes a pretty successful trip to this generation of consoles, and has a bonus surprise. Also on the disc is a demo for the upcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance game. Kojimasan’s more well known brainchild Metal Gear Solid series had a demo for MGS 2 shipped with ZOE so it’s only fitting that we get another demo with this release. This demo alone makes this game a worthy pick-up for Kojima fans.

Zone of the Enders was originally a Japanese only release, but thankfully it was unleashed on North America. It’s great to see an older PS2 title being remastered and re-released, and with Kojimasan’s announcement that a new ZOE game is in the works, going back to its roots is a good thing. Would have been nice if they could have remastered the cut scenes better, but gameplay looks and feels great.

This collection is one that Kojima fans should not pass up.

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