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Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (PlayStation 2)

87
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.3
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Steven Day (4)
Written on  :  Nov 26, 2005
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

One Mecha Game You Don't Wanna Miss!

The Good

Mecha. Gigantic bipedal walking tanks armed with all shapes and sizes of exotic weaponry. Who doesn't want to hop into one of those?

Mecha games are hugely popular for a reason: they give you the power-trip that one can only get from riding in a giant walking tank capable of wiping out an entire city (or two).

The original Zone of the Enders sold primarily not because it was a fantastic example of a mecha game, but mostly because it came packaged with a demo for Metal Gear Solid 2.

However, Zone of the Enders 2: The Second Runner game packaged with only one disc: the actual game. Would it sell without Metal Gear Solid attached to it?

Who cares? Anyone who owns a PS2 and hasn't tried this game is missing out on an example of truly great gaming.

Where to begin? Graphics-wise, this game is drop-dead GORGEOUS. Rather than go for the semi-realistic look of the first game, Konami decided to use cel-shading (you know, to really give it that anime feel) which, in practice, makes the whole game look amazing, with neat weather effects, explosions, and lasers.

Gameplay is a little different, however, from most mecha games. Rather than shuffle around in a lumbering, slow, heavy battlemech, you instead get the lithe, acrobatic form of Jehuty, capable of soaring thru the air to do battle with equally adept enemies. In fact, its possible to go thru the entire game and not touch the ground once.

Weaponry in this game is a little different too. Rather than wield autocannons and missle launchers, you are instead armed with a sword (for getting up close and personal) and a laser gun. It doesn't stop there though, as you also have access to even neater weapons in the form of charge attacks, such as being able to lock onto every enemy on the screen and then unleashing a torrent of homing lasers to slice them in half or, even cooler, charging up a gigantic ball of energy and then spiking it towards the enemy, watching as it smashes them to atoms!

If you tire of lasing your enemies, then you can also grab objects right out of the environment (such as steel girders or wall panels) and beat them senseless with those!

And what of the sounds accompanying these vicious attacks? Well worry not, they all sound suitably destructive. The music as well isn't the typical heavy metal fair that accompanies most mecha games, but is rather a more orchastreal sound which really sucks you into the game.



The Bad

Now the bad...

Well, there are three big problems:

First, the length of the game: You could, given enough time, complete the whole shebang in an afternoon.

Secondly, the voice acting. While most of it is top-notch, there are two or three characters who either overact or underact their parts, or come across as simply annoying.

Lastly, another low point is the story: You play as a former soldier turned ice miner who discovers a giant Orbital Frame (the game's word for mechs) buried in the ice for no readily apparent reason and then BAHRAM (main antagonizing force and the supplier of all the giant mechs you'll be beating the stuffing out of) attacks the ice mines at exactly the same time so you, ever the resourceful one, hop in the OF and decide to bring it on. And then... well... Yeah, that's about the whole thing.

However, the REAL lowest point is that of the main character's name: Dingo. Egret.

The Bottom Line

Basically, if you're looking for a fun, exciting mecha game for your PS2, look no farther!