Zone of the Enders 2: The Second Runner
By: Matt C. on January 3, 2003
The original Zone of the Enders featured beautiful 3D graphics and plenty of action in the gameplay. However, the rather annoying main character, the dull missions, and the brief storyline left much to be desired. Ultimately, Z.O.E fell short of being an instant PS2 classic despite very strong sales.
With Zone of the Enders 2: The Second Runner, Konami is taking a slightly different approach. Yoji Shinkawa is still the mechanical designer; Hideo Kojima returns as the producer; but Shuyo Murata is the new director and game designer this time around. Murata hasn't had much experience in his current position, but he is looking to prove himself with Z.O.E 2.
In addition, instead of playing as the same whiny teenage boy named Leo, Z.O.E 2's main character is a former soldier named Dingo. As an ex-soldier, Dingo won't be nearly as passive when it comes to killing the enemy.
The Second Runner takes place in the 22nd century -- only two years after the final events of Z.O.E. Mars is now a colony of Earth and the people who live there are called "The Enders". The Enders are not appreciated by the people who were born on Earth's soil so there is great hostility between the two people. Eventually, the Bahram army (the bad guys from the last game) starts armed suppression of Mars and Earth after obtaining overwhelming war potential with its army of leading Orbital Frames. Dingo accidentally comes across Jehuty (once again, that is the main mecha from the last game for those of you who didn't play Z.O.E.) during the Bahram attack. The awakening of Jehuty reminds him of his destined past...
One of the largest complaints about Zone of the Enders was that battles usually took place in the same old areas or places that looked very similar. In Z.O.E 2, battles will take place on the surface of Mars, high above Mars, in outer-space, cities, space stations, and a massive battleship. There will also be more events in the game to keep combat from getting repetitive.
Speaking of combat, Z.O.E 2 will allow players to lock onto multiple enemies at once instead of just one on one battles found in Z.O.E. The longer you hold down the lock-on button, the more enemies Jehuty can attack at a time with its homing missiles. Some times the screen is filled with bad guys, so this new move will prove to be very useful. Jehuty can also grab onto enemies and use them as a shield, use them like a baseball bat, or simply throw them against another enemy (or a wall if you prefer). The environments have objects you can use as well. For instance, steel beams from buildings can be used as a weapon if you grab onto it.
Lastly, Zone of the Enders 2: The Second Runner promises to impress with its stunning visuals. The game simply looks extremely sharp and the special effects are incredible. Konami of Japan has done such a great job of capturing the look and feel of popular anime movies featuring giant robots that it is almost like starring in your own interactive Japanese anime flick. It is difficult to explain, but the game appears to make good use of cel-shading, but it looks a bit different from what we have seen in the past. The mechs themselves look unique thanks to Yoji Shinkawa's (Metal Gear Solid 2's character designer) creative designs.
I know I say this a lot, but Zone of the Enders 2: The Second Runner appears to be shaping up quite nicely. Will it be a disappointment like the original "Enders" game? I honestly don't know. But like the saying goes: only time will tell. Expect more information later.