Title: Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner: M∀RS
Platform: PC, PS4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment, Cygames Inc.
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment.
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: The classic that Kojima bought us, now in 4K and VR.
Price: £24.99/$29.99 (across all platforms)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
(Unfortunately, I do not have a VR headset, so I was unable to experience the VR aspect of the game, but hopefully, in a couple of weeks I should have one, and I can post a mini-review based on my VR impressions.)
Back when Konami was releasing high-quality titles and still
had Hideo Kojima churning out Metal Gear Solid games, he also gave us Zone of the Enders. In 2003, we received Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner on PlayStation 2, and it was incredible. It gave you a real sense of what piloting a mech was like, which was every anime fan’s dream! Now, here in 2018, we have a high quality remaster with additional VR support that literally puts you in the pilot’s seat in a first-person perspective, but no need to worry if you don’t own a VR headset – you can still play Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner: M∀RS and have a whole lot of fun.
The plot for 2nd Runner is set two years after the original Zone of the Enders; we follow the story of Dingo Egret, a miner working on the frozen planet, Callisto, when he discovers the orbital frame, Jehuty, hidden in an abandoned shipping container. Upon finding Jehuty, he is attacked by an evil space force known as BAHRAM, so he jumps into Jehuty to fight off their forces. After pushing back BAHRAMs forces, Dingo boards their command ship to find his old commander, Nohman. Nohman requests that Dingo returns to BAHRAM, but refuses because Nohman killed his old teammates; one thing leads to another, and this sets Dingo on a path of revenge again Nohman.
Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner is a third-person action title where you control Jehuty, an orbital frame with the ability to use blades and laser firepower to defeat the enemies that confront you. You can move in any direction you want, making no two battles the same; you can also grab a hold of various items in the room such as poles or even the enemies you’re facing, and use them as weapons. Zone of the Enders’ gameplay is comparative to most hack and slash games like Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden, but you’re not just limited to the ground – since you’re piloting a mech, gravity doesn’t restrict you.
Graphically, it’s hard to tell that this game was initially released back in 2003, so much so I had to double check that this was a remaster and not a remake; Konami and Cygames did a damn good job at bringing this game to current generation hardware, and with the recent news that Cygames wants to make a new title makes me confident that they could pull off a Zone of the Enders 3 perfectly. Not only did they remaster the game perfectly, but the anime cutscenes originally present in the PS2 version have been upscaled to high definition, although some cutscenes still look like they are standard definition.
As for replayability, Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner has a new game plus and a bunch of EX Missions scattered about the main campaign, some of which need you to return to on new game plus with a different version of Jehuty that you unlock by performing different actions in your initial playthrough. There is also a VS mode where you and a friend jump in and do battle with your favourite orbital frames.
Finally, the soundtrack for this game is amazing, as it includes everything from J-Pop to intense escape music, to the more classical tracks with chanting; the composers are amazingly talented, and you should definitely check it out. As for voice acting, it’s pretty well performed, although the dialogue is a bit cringey and a tad cheesy by todays standards, but, that’s anime for you… Just check any 90’s dubbed anime.
In conclusion, Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner: M∀RS is a must-buy for first-timers and veterans alike. The game has incredible graphics for a remaster of a game from 2003, it has an amazing soundtrack, likeable characters and the gameplay is incredible, as it blends third-person action with third-person shooting mechanics in an open space that allows you to fight on the ground or take the battle to the air.
- An incredible remaster.
- Tight controls and fun gameplay.
- Beautiful soundtrack.
- Some anime cutscenes haven’t received upscaling to HD.
- Cringey/cheesy anime dialogue.
- Needs the first Zone of the Enders for newcomers, or at least a previously on…
Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner: M∀RS is rated T for Teen by ESRB and PEGI 12 due to animated violence and bad language.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code provided by the publishers for the purposes of this review.