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Zone Enders Collection honours series

Dec 10, 2012

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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Zone of the Enders HD CollectionReleased over ten years ago, the original Zone of the Enders was an ambitious title that never really achieved greatness. Created by Hideo Kojima, well known for his famous Metal Gear Solid series, it told the story of Leo Stenbuck, whose home colony of Antilia, endured a relentless assault during the game's opening.

Leo, frantically running for his life, comes across an orbital frame - a flying mech of destruction named Jehuty. After accidentally piloting the craft, Leo's escape soon turns into a mission of action as he is unwillingly thrust into the middle of a conflict.

The sequel, Zone of The Enders: The Second Runner, follows new character Dingo. After being attacked during a routine mining job, Dingo flees for safety and mistakenly finds Jehuty. After Dingo nearly dies by the hands of the games main antagonist, he awakens from a coma and sets off stop him using his new found Orbital Frame.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection Both games have been given an HD facelift in the new Zone Enders Collection released by Konami. Some things haven't changed though. The narratives in both releases are dull at best. The characters feel one dimensional and underdeveloped, while the protagonist's motivations in the games' convoluted plots, left me disinterested.

Since both games are from the same mind who crafted the Metal Gear Solid series, expect long drawn out cut scenes, which rather than add to the story make them a chore to sit through. What's more, I unfortunately found myself cringing at some of the dialog in both games, the first release being the worse offender. The Second Runner feels slightly better crafted, it attempts to take a more mature approach at storytelling and introduces slightly more likeable characters. Though compared to the overall blandness of the original's tale, this isn't saying much.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection Both of Konami's releases thankfully redeem themselves when it comes to their unique mech-combat game play. Engaging in the games' air-born battles really makes for a thrilling experience. Dodging enemies' projectiles, then quickly thrusting towards them to finish them off with a combo from your sword should make any action fan smile. When looking at the games in comparison, the first game is undeniably weaker and simpler. Combat still feels fun, but also repetitive. Get used to seeing the same enemies over and over again during each battle as the original lacks enemy variety.

In both games, when the action heightens, the frame rate unfortunately takes a hit. This is especially more prevalent in the second game as combat is more intense and has more happening onscreen.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection For the most part, Konami has greatly improved on its formula in The Second Runner. The experience feels more polished and has more variety throughout. Another thing the second release does remarkably well is its frenetic boss battles. Boss encounters move at a breakneck pace but remain fair and challenging; its moments like these in The Second Runner that clearly make it the stronger of the pair.

Both Zone of the Enders and The Second Runner look good after receiving their HD facelift. The visuals and overall art style still look great after all this time. Something that unfortunately hasn't held up well, are the CG cut scenes of the original game....understandable but still unattractive.

Zone of the Enders HD Collection The Zone of The Enders HD collection should prove an enticing buy for long time fans of the series, as it holds up great and is still a blast to play. Also, anyone who has been interested in the series, but never had the opportunity to play should give it a try, as they will be pleasantly surprised.

Though the first release in the series is flawed, it remains a serviceable action game with good ideas. The Second Runner, on the other hand, is a great action packed ride with enough thrills to keep you playing and improves on almost all the shortcomings of the first. Not to mention, the collection comes with a playable demo of Metal Gear: Revengence to sweeten the deal.

 

Zone of the Enders HD Collection Zone of the Enders HD Collection
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Konami
Developer: High Voltage Software
ESRB Rating: Mature (17+)
Official Site: http://www.konami.com/officialsites/zoe_hd/

Rating: 7.5 / 10


 
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G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.