Xbox 360 Review: Zone of the Enders HD Collection

Metal Gear Jehuty!

Hideo Kojima is obviously most famous for creating the Metal Gear franchise, but some will know him more for making two PS2 games called Zone of the Enders and Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner, they are both very different to Snake’s stealth missions and more action-orientated as you control a robot mech warrior called Jehuty but in true Kojima style the story is focused not on the mechs but the characters themselves, expect plenty of melodrama and typical plot twists but obviously they aren’t nearly as refined or complex as those in the Metal Gear Solid series.
The first game will only take a few hours to complete and it’s rough around the edges, probably due to being an early PS2 title. Essentially you go from area to area, clear robots and gather items to progress with the odd protection missions thrown in, the problem is that the achievements are brutal for this as you need to get A Ranks by not letting anyone die or a certain number of buildings being damaged, which is difficult to say the least…especially on the hardest difficulty, which you’ll need to do it on to get an overall A Rank for your play through. Luckily you can save at any point, but its still very irritating.

Boss battles have their own charm, but they aren’t as memorable as the likes of Ocelot, Sniper Wolf or Mantis. The mech controls do take a while to get used to and it does feel like a hack-n-slash at times, but its clear that you don’t really want to try it that way if you want to get that A Rank. The story of the first game isn’t that memorable either, it’s the second game where things get interesting…
The Second Runner is definitely a much improved sequel, its still with its flaws but its definitely more memorable. The characters are more interesting, the story is better by far, the gameplay feels more refined and the game is longer too. There are some great moments to be found here and the HD Collection is at a reduced price, so it’s a bargain…especially with the Metal Gear Rising Revengeance demo through in too.

The visual style of anime fits well with the mech nature of the game, the game has had a nice upgrade from the original versions and it runs at a good framerate, but it does slow down a bit during the first game. Voice-acting is a mixed bag but the music is memorable overall.

The Verdict

The Zone of the Enders HD Collection isn’t as memorable as the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, but its still a decent experience and a nice alternative from MGS for Kojima fans. There has been a lot of fans wanting a ZOE 3 from Kojima and maybe one day it will happen, I almost feel like the collection is a test to see if the market is still there for the series and I hope it does get picked up for a third instalment.