Zone of the Enders one is set in the far future, focusing on an orbiting space station around Jupiter. A military group called BAHRAM raid the colony in an attempt to capture or destroy several orbital frames. The story follows a child named Leo who unintentionally stumbled inside one of these frames called Jehuty, an AI assisted robot. The story unfolds as Leo attempts to save the colony.Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner takes place a few years in the future, following Dingo who coincidentally also stumbles into Jehuty in an attempt to fight off BAHRAM in much the same way.
The gameplay is very unique with nothing else much like it. Jehuty is able to fly by controlling its elevation meaning that much of the fighting takes place suspended in the air. Combat is basic but allows room for tactical play, you attack by hitting the X button, however it’s modified when holding down the dash trigger, when dashing the attack will become a powerful energy burst or close range stab, or you can just stand still and dash to create an even more powerful move, on top of this the attacks are also context sensitive depending on the distance to the enemy. This on the whole allows the gameplay to prove fairly simple but contains much more depth in terms of tactical play.
This is later emphasized by the inclusion weapons that can range from sniper rifles to shields to even devices capable of creating a field of lasers.Both game’s controls are almost identical however the Second Runner actually utilises these elements. The second runner introduces many different enemies that force the play into thinking tactically on how to approach his opponents, disappointedly the first never does this and much of the game can be beaten by spamming certain attacks.
The level design of both games is one of the larger differences, in the first game players fly over an over world choosing which destination to help out, these areas are almost every time filled with the same 3 different types of enemies making the gameplay lose much of its value quickly. Much of the progression in the game is also littered with backtracking; making the player search the same area they have been over twice to discover a code to unlock a needed weapon.
The second game focus much more on a linear approach with the player moving constantly in new directions, and introducing new enemy types whenever the old ones have outstayed their welcome, furthermore this pacing allows the second game to be vastly more enjoyable than the first.
The first game uses a mixture of in game cut scenes and CGI to tell most of the story, the CGI scenes haven’t aged well but are still alright to watch, the issues lie mostly in the in games sections where the player will be given the cockpit view of the robot with characters talking over the top, this alone is dull but only deepened by some of the poor dialogue and the main character reminding everyone of how he doesn’t like the situation he is in. The in game graphics are much better, the HD improves them a fair amount but much of the game is very dark sidestepping chances of visual fidelity.
The second game takes many steps to improve over the previous instalments visuals. The CGI cutscenes have now been replaced with lush anime scenes; they also use the same cockpit view for much of the game however they add a window for players to watch the characters talking to each other, much of the dialogue is still silly but is enjoyable for its stupidity rather than annoying like the previous game. The in game graphics have also been changed up contain much more vibrancy in the colours used, this makes the combination of HD and the in game graphics create something gorgeous, it’s a great visual display as the beautiful environments are littered with the electric light show given off by the games energy attacks.
Both games use a simple yet open combat system, however the second game takes the steps to actually make it enjoyable and requires more than just button bashing. The first game is also largely held back by its astounding amount of backing track3ing and repetition.
The HD adds much too both games, but most notably in the second. The HD graphics really amplify the almost cel shaded graphics. The weakest point of both games is the dialogue, while the first is bad the second one can still prove enjoyable as well as the story it has. Both games use a rather traditional music leaning heavily towards Sci-Fi style mixing in orchestral to create an immersive soundtrack.
Both games feature multiple difficulties and last several hours each, however much of the first game is hardly worth the time as a large part of the game is just padded out with backtracking to rediscover invisible objects or an item that was originally unobtainable.
A difficult one to recommend, while the second game is great and truly is a wonder to play, the first game is dull and tedious to play through. Much of the first game can thankfully be ignored however so you can easily ignore the first game and just enjoy the great experience that is The Second Runner.
One Extra is the inclusion of a demo preview version of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Not much can be said about the game; it plays much like normal spectacle fighters however it uses a very aggressive parry system as its main form of defence. The most notable part of the demo is the ability to slow down time and aim you cut with precision, this proves endlessly enjoyable as it allows you shred opponents into fine dust or even just scalp your foes with one fine swoop, either way it’s well worth checking out.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.