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Zoe HD Review

The mech genre hasn't always managed to set our shores alight as much as they do over in the land of the rising sun but a few do permeate and make a lasting impression, one of those being the Zone of Enders (Z.O.E.) games. At over 10 years old these two classics have been given the HD treatment but not only do we get these two games but also, rather sensibly timed with a tinge of nostalgia is the addition of the Metal Gear Rising Revengence demo, reminding of all those years ago when Z.O.E. arrived with Metal Gear Solid 2 demo.

Both Z.O.E. and Z.O.E: The 2nd Runner have had a full HD makeover but with varying results. The 2001 release Zoe has had some polish but still looks old even with all of the updated tech with the 3D cut scenes still managing to look dated and whilst the mechs themselves look great, the surrounding colony buildings suffer from pop up and a really short draw distance.

Thankfully the action holds up really well, allowing for some fast and dynamic third person mech battles. Your ship Jehuty works on a 3D plain, with the movement controlled with the left stick and the triangle and X dealing with the vertical movement. Basic attacks are dependent on range, switching seamlessly from blaster-cannon shots to close quarters, each offering different powers if you are rushing or stationary plus Jehuty also has a range of secondary weapons that you unlock through the campaign. Though there are lots of buttons to consider the battles are smooth and fast with an easy to use lock-on mechanic allowing for ranged attacked to be backed up with boost dodges and then rushing in for a flurry of sword attacks.

Z.O.E. sets the story off with a Jupiter colony under attack by an army of mechs, leaving the innocent citizens running for their lives. One of which is Leo, a young lad who accidentally gets into and starts to operate a prototype Orbital Frame mech Jehuty and it's strange AI A.D.A. Desperately trying to save the Jupiter colony from attack, Leo and A.D.A fly above the colony, taking on missions whenever they appear. The ability to choose what missions to take on, from story specific to SOS calls by the civilians offers some freedom but at the same time you often find yourself lost as what to do next, skipping into areas hoping that the next part of the story triggers.

Though the action is intense it is a little too samey, with the game overall being a short and visually disappointing HD update of Z.O.E; this is thankfully backed up by the far superior 2nd Runner, besting its predecessor in every single way. Picking up a few years after Z.O.E we find a new character, Dingo, a miner working on an ice moon of Jupiter who accidently finds Jehuty hidden in the snow. Almost immediately the moon comes under attack by a huge flotilla of mechs, taking our new pilot from Jupiter to Mars on a quest to not only stop a galactic catastrophe but also defeat Jehuty's superior twin mech, Anubis. The story this time around is more focused, being more linear rather than the previous Z.O.E plus the anime cut scenes suit the game much better.

The action is relatively the same but there are a few extras like the lock-on muti missile, helpful for taking out the hundreds of drones that get sent after you. Visually the game is a treat, updating the mixture of 3D models and cel shading really well, showing the second games engine much more suitable for HD textures, the mechs looking particularly splendid along with their bright neon sabre's and projectiles against the majestic and more varied level designs.?

Included in this collection is also the Versus mode, allowing one on one fights from a selection of mechs against the computer or even a friend.

This HD Collection is pure mech nostalgia, taking us back to two classic mech games that both deserve a replay or to be enjoyed for the first time, with an added bonus of the Metal Gear demo plus one of the first HD collection games I have played that actually allows you to swap titles without a leaving the game it's another great game for your collection.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)


- The 2nd Runner looks fantastic even for a 10 year old game.
- Amazing looking mechs.
- The seamless blend of melee and ranged attacks is a joy to use.


- Z.O.E. still looks dated.
- Pop up on Z.O.E.

Edited On 03 Dec, 2012

( 5 )
Cathe's avatar
Cathe 4 years ago
I'll have to buy this after christmas when I have money again! I remember I quite liked the first game all those years ago.
Solidus 5nake's avatar
Solidus 5nake 4 years ago
My friend has always banged on about these games, but I am yet to play them. With the added bonus of the Metal Gear Rising demo, I might just give them ago.
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 4 years ago
I've had the ZoE DVD boxset for ages now but never got round to watching it, but knowing this was coming out I've recently been watching it. It is pretty rubbish to be honest, really hoping the game is much better (it already looks more impressive despite being pretty old!)
Pyroloveridge's avatar
Pyroloveridge 4 years ago
aaah i loved the originals but this just looks like a re-release
Wey1's avatar
Wey1 4 years ago
will get this eventually. never did play the games on the ps2.

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