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Zone of the Enders 2

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  1. Have any of you guys played Zone of the Enders 2? Its one of those games that everyone declares was god's gift to gamers. I bought the first one for the MGS2 demo and never finished it because it was mind numbingly boring. I've never seen anything about the second. Was it the story, the gameplay, the art direction... what made this game so great?

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  2. I never heard anything about it but I guess that's because I wasn't listening since my experience with the first one was pretty much the same as yours. It's going for around $20 on eBay, so it wouldn't be too painful to check it out.

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  3. Judging from the Gamespot review: The story still sucks and the voice over is unbearable, but the graphics are way better and the fighting system has been greatly improved. Everyone comments about how great it looks and how much fun it is to blow up stuff.

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  4. I remember renting the first ZoE for the MGS2 demo (or rather, my friend really wanted the demo). I beat ZoE in a weekend and remember is being pretty good, but feeling incomplete. Like there was potential for something really awesome that ended up just being OK. As a result, I've always been interested in the progression of the ZoE series, but I haven't actually kept myself up to date. Twenty bucks does sound like a reasonable price for exploration.

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  5. Well...I really like ZOE. Yes, the stories to ZOE1 & 2 are bat guano. But ZOE2 is, IMHO, the single greatest mech-fighting game ever created. True 3-dimensional movement has never been handled so well before or since, and the controls are so insanely intuitive that you'll be doing things within half an hour in this game that in any other mech game would take hours upon hours of practice. Its a light-speed, twitchy, guns-and-sploshuns romp through one of the coolest-looking sci-fi worlds that have come about in the last ten years. It also has some truly wonderful set pieces (and this goes for both games) such as the Nephtis fight in ZOE1, and the assault on the airship fleet in ZOE2. Of special note is the assault on the Aumann fortress at the end of ZOE2. You remember how cool you thought it was when you got to fight 1000 heartless at once in Kingdom Hearts 2? In ZOE2, you get a battlefield that's literally a couple square miles (by my estimation) and thousands of enemies clogging the screen all at once, with about 50 of your own troops that you have to keep an eye on whilst killing at least one enemy every 6 seconds or so. If you can't keep that up, you'll quickly be overwhelmed. Battlefield chaos at its finest.

    There was also a GBA game that was the exact opposite of the two console games: the gameplay was shite, but the story was truly epic, and kept me going through the boring gameplay. I really wish they had made the GBA game's story into a second anime series. Oh, yeah, there was also an anime called ZOE: Dolores, i that was quite good (despite some awful dialogue in the early episodes).

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  6. ZOE2 is a MUST-PLAY PS2 title, similarly to Silent Hill 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Okami and other PS2 classics. You haven't experienced the platform if you haven't played it.

    It's one of the most polished action games I've ever played. Everything about it is smooth, supple, and responsive. The gameplay is excellent. The levels are varied and inventive and constantly introduce compelling challenges. The art direction is superb. The musical score contains some of the best techno/eurotrance in videogames this side of Ridge Racer.

    The voice acting is only as retarded as the script, and the voice actors did what they could with it (although it's angering to hear them say something out loud which is clearly not grammatically correct English, knowing full well what they were saying, but doing so anyway). The scenario is interesting, but it's not given a chance to really go anywhere. The opening act is terrific, however, and original enough that the rest of the game can ride its coattails.

    What you need to understand about ZOE2 is that it makes playing a mech sweet. It's not a lumbering, slow truck with horrible turn speeds (although at the start of the game you will be piloting one, as if the creators wanted to put you through that to make you appreciate what's to come). This is an Orbital Frame; you're going to be zooming back, dancing around your enemies before beautifully exploding them with amazing attacks. Everything is subtly cel-shaded, including amazing-looking particle effects comparable to Zelda: Wind Waker, which makes gliding through the environment all the more enjoyable. As Mr_Domino said above, the feeling of true 3d control you get in this environment is unparallelled; since you're frequently in wide-open surroundings, great camera is a requirement, and they execute on that requirement brilliantly. You are always aware of the distance between yourself and your enemy, partially through the aforementioned camera and partially through superbly varied enemy designs, which allow you to pick out your foe from among the many mosquito-like packs all around you.

    The game's length is "just right" at six hours, and I say that because like other short games (Portal comes to mind) the gimmick of flying around in a mech isn't overdone by splurging average level design all over the game. Each level is a concise representation of a certain aspect of play and there is no need to copy that just to force the player through another drawn-out level. The game has great replayability because of it, as some levels are truly memorable and worth going through several times.

    As any great Hideo Kojima-produced title, there are plenty of alternative game modes that, yes, I actually play (which can't be said for most games). The most interesting is clearly - and this may only be available to Europe, since we got a sexed-up release of the game with special features - the ability to instantly load any level you want, as any of several mechs you want (the original Jehuty through Naked Jehuty, which is normally only available at the end of the game), where you can activate certain challenges, such as time trials. There have been many times where I'll just load up the level where you're in space and just beat the shit out of endless streams of enemies, teleporting around and having a blast.

    ZOE2 intends to be epic, and the buildup to its well-executed epic climax is continuous and exciting. You'll start off feeling like a badass simply because the game throws hundreds of tiny "mosquitoes" at you, which you can either shoot at (boring) or sprint into and slash away at with your elbow blade. As the game progresses, you'll find yourself facing off against enemies reminiscent of top-down shooters: heavy artillery with slow, avoidable attacks; stationary cannons; zippy, light-weight fighters; enemy Orbital Frames, and even a fleet of battleships.

    As Mr_Domino describes, you can expect truly jaw-dropping set pieces. There are only one or two so-so, drab levels which take place early on in the game; the rest is essentially one long dance of death. You'll fight a fleet of battleships, approaching each one and taking out its defensive fighters and long range cannons before landing on its deck and unloading a supercharged blast into its engines. You'll ride the top of a high-speed train, jumping from wagon to wagon and taking out anything that stands in your way. You'll fight thousands of enemy troops on a battlefield where you're the hero, slashing through wave after wave easily while your comrades struggle to survive. You'll fight in space, on Mars, inside high-tech, futuristic ships and plants, in Neo Tokyo-esque cities, within industrial structures. And you'll learn an ability so incredibly awesome it changes how you played the whole game up until then.

    Finally, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is one of the best action games ever made. If you consider yourself someone who partakes in the very best artistic titles, you have to play it. Wow. I've hyped myself up to play it again now.

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  7. Hell, you've hyped me up to play it again. The US release doesn't have the 'start on any level with any OF' feature, but I do have saves at each level. I load up the battleship assault level and the AUMANN assault all the time.

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  8. Damn it. Now you're going to make me play it again too. No harm done there, it was a fantastic game. I think about 10 copies managed to make their way to Australia. Well maybe not 10, but after I preordered it and bought it about a week later EB said they wouldn't be able to get more copies at all when I asked out of a matter of interest.

    I'm not a big mecha fan by any means, ZOE grabbed me because of Konami/cool combat and ZOE2 was in every way better than the original. Yes the dialogue/script was poor, I often wonder how the original Japanese was. Bah, I really have to play it now. My housemate has just taken over the TV...later this week I'll be playing it again no doubt.

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  9. So what you're saying is I need to buy this now before it gets expensive from all the cool kids playing it. Even though I probably won't have time to play it any time in the next 12 months?

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  10. Probably best to, otherwise it might turn out like first Suikoden games. Son of a bitches.....

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  11. Its already hard to find. Its just not really expensive yet. Give it time.

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  13. Yup, and $144 new at the US store. Hooray

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  14. That supplier on Amazon is bullshit, just buy one of those used copies for $20. Didn't the game get re-issued as part of konami's big classic game re-release from a couple of months ago? I thought it and Silent Hill 2 were on the list.

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  15. Looks like not, because amazon is trying to flim flam us with the price of SH2 as well.

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  16. I hate how people think everything is collectible. If someone prints a million copies of a game, that game does not go up in value 5 years later.

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  17. It does if people are willing to pay it. Something is always worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

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  18. On top of that, it always has to be the best games that go out of print and become collectibles with monolithic prices. Konami in particular is fantastic at succeeding in making all their great titles rare as fuck (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Suikoden II).

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  19. Well, a shitty game that's rare is still a shitty game.

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  20. Who's talking about shitty rare games? I've only seen epic classics referenced so far.

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  21. After a several day lag, I am disappointed by the number of great nonRPG games I have missed thanks to my obsession with RPGs during high school and college. Sure my parents let me rent a lot of games in high school, but I didn't end up really buying any of the ones that were RPGs. Oh well.

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  22. Don't worry Nels. When in doubt, you can always download an emulator.

    If Sony was smart, which is highly suspect at this point, they would make downloadable versions of PS2 games. So those of us who don't really care to play the flavor of the week action title can pick up something for cheaper that has stood the test of time.

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  23. The older I've become the less tolerant of emulating games I don't own I've become (because if you own it, it should be legal to emulate it as far as I am concerned). That hasn't stopped me from lapsing (I downloaded the new Earthbound, for example), but thankfully I haven't given in yet and actually played any. I'm an adult with a reasonable income, therefore I'd like to be able to spend a bit of that income on games. I don't want to be a cheapskate and download ROMs just because I can. But I hate it when companies force that as the only option (like when the heck is Squenix going to get off their butt and port Seiken Densetsu 3? They have ported and reported so much else, it just makes no sense at all). There is only so much patience a company can expect from its clients before they give up and go somewhere else (emulation in this case).

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  24. Fair enough. I think the mere existence, let alone the success of the fan translations you mentioned (Mother 3 Fan Translation project and Seiken Densetsu 3 Translation) is a testament to the ineptitude of some game companies (not to mention the lost opportunities where we, the fans, have to engage in an illegal activity to do something we'd have gladly paid money for). So I don't feel too bad.

    Also, it's a shame this sort of thing is still happening. I thought localization neglect was a thing of the past. I mean, we got motherfucking Katamari Damacy.

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  25. Yeah, I generally don't have any problem with downloading non-US releases. Stuff like the aforementioned Seiken Densetsu 3 and Mother 3, and stuff like Front Mission: Gun Hazard and Clock Tower that I've been playing lately that are awesome. I also occasionally will emulate something to see if its worth buying, but those I get rid of afterwards.

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  27. Its good to have a consumer conscious about that sort of thing, but I wouldn't sweat downloading a game that you could only obtain otherwise used or from a dealer who is charging a ridiculous price. The game companies aren't seeing dollar one from those sales anyway. If you still feel bad, go out and buy a new Konami game to ease your mental anguish.

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    • Wed January 27, 2021
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