Review – Zone of the Enders HD Collection


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Review – Zone of the Enders HD Collection
Enders Game
Release Date:
XBox 360, PS3
Age Rating:
Were I to mention a sparkly new HD collection, constructed from the mind-thoughts of Video Gaming Guru Hideo Kojima, most would justifiably deride me for being 10 months late to Snake’s HD party.

Similarly, the notion of oversized brawling mecha evokes an immediate chorus of “Oh I love love LOVE Evangelion. But seriously, what in Christ’s good name is going on? And why does the improbably young major live with that stoic penguin?”

Why, indeed?

Zone of the Enders is neither the most prolific of Kojo’s brain children nor is it a genre leader in the celestial spheres of Mecha Manga Melees. But its HD Collection is out now for Xbox 360 and PS3 so we’ll just have to adjust our initial conclusions accordingly.

Z.O.E. categorizes humans into two distinct groupings: Those who have scarcely even heard of it. And those who, as we speak/type/read, are already well into their second play-through of this very collection.

In the interest of utilitarianism, I’ll focus on the former...

Zone of the Enders was famously bundled alongside a big mullety demo of the fervently anticipated Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Sadly, eleven years has done little to augment the draw of Kojo’s beloved Mech’Em’Up. SLICING enthusiasts will gladly trade hard won gold for this HD collection, simply to gain access to the coveted Metal Gear Rising Demo (reviewed tomorrow, I promise bitches!)

There are certainly less debasing ways to re-introduce this fascinating if bygone Space Opera. Alas, these HD collections are designed to manipulate gamer nostalgia so I cannot fault Konami for trying to draw in the crowds.

Initializing Sequence [Bad News.EXE]

The opening salvo is a terse, repetitive endeavour concerning a whinging twelve year old who puts a voice to all the fun you WILL NOT be having. Z.O.E. doesn’t age well. Repetitive sequences and polygonal presentation detract immeasurably from what is otherwise a well crafted universe.

Suggested Actions – Run “Ignore” Command

Initializing Sequence [Good News.EXE]

Z.O.E. The 2nd Runner boasts plotting, play and protagonist befitting the act of manoeuvring a nuclear powered humanoid orbital platform. 2nd Runner sees players shoot, grapple, boost, backflip, slice, laser and Spirit Bomb dozens of onscreen opponents in a bid to thwart an aggressive Private Military threatening to destabilize the Solar System’s numerous colonies.

Suggested Actions – Run “Enjoy the Crap out of” Command

2nd Runner actually benefits from solid HD upgrades, resulting in cleaner textures, impressive particle effects, reliably solid sound and minimal lag or screen-tear. Though Xbox wins, both versions make 2ndRunner shine like a gem from early this console generation (a spit-polish not quite managed on the washed out original.)

Claims this collection can reach the vaunted 60fps benchmark are laughable. I verified this by laughing. The ludicrous nature of this statement becomes apparent when contrasting with Platinum’s stunning demo. Realistically, the framerate typically cranks a solid 35-40fps.

Top and tailed with lengthy anime intros via the inestimable Sunrise animation house, Zone of the Enders HD Collection does a poor job making a 2001 game look great, a great job making a 2003 game look wonderful, and a wonderful job of making its entire franchise seem bland and insignificant next to the might of the Metal Gear Saga!

A reduced framerate disappoints, yet detail, definition and sound impress. The original is loathsome but still the sequel manages the counterbalance. And ultimately a demo for the most anticipated action game of the coming year (it IS developed by Platinum) adds an essential layer of sheen to its exoskeleton.

Recommendation - Orbital Platform pilots only need apply.

5 Stars
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