Eric Kelly On November 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

Zone of the Enters HD Collection ScreenshotThere are lots of people who say that old games, even ones that are only from 9 or 10 years ago aren’t worth playing, that they aren’t as good as you remembered. That nostalgia goggles blind us to the truth of a product from a be gone era’s mediocrity. Or maybe that you don’t really need to buy the HD version of a game you own already. All valid points, but Zone of the Enders HD Collection, developed by High Voltage Software (not the original studio, which was Kojima Productions, well before they settled on a name) certainly answers these questions, and there’s more than one answer.

The collection consists of 2 games that were originally Playstation 2 games released in 2001 (Zone of the Enders) and 2003 (Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner). The Collection has an all new Opening animation from Sunrise, who did work on Zone of the Enders 2’s animated cut-scenes, as well as the anime spin-off OVA and TV series. After that there is a nice looking title screen where upon pressing start, you can press left or right to select which game to play. The game’s themselves also have had their opening videos as well as the other videos cleaned up, yet in the second game the anime portrait conservations look better than the anime cut-scenes do. Of Course, being an HD release, you get the usual up-scaled textures, improved anti-aliasing, audio and video re-mastering, and trophy and Achievement support. Note that frame-rate was left out. This is because this game collection, despite its improvements, is not running at a constant 60fps, and actually the Xbox 360 version runs at a slightly higher performance level than its PS3 counterpart. But considering how smoothly the game operates in most instances, you wouldn’t notice unless you were the obsessive type, and much less care, since at least on the Xbox version I ran into no real issues until the second game’s big battle against an armada of mechas. There is just too much going on the screen for the game to run smoothly, and it should be noted that this was an issue even on the original ps2 release. I guess the HD upscale takes its toll on the game, maybe it’s just needs a patch; not that big of a deal. It only loses a few frames. There are also tiny hiccups when doing scene or script event transitions, but also negligible to the overall experience.

As for the game-play side of things, The first game is a mecha action game with melee combat with shooting thrown in, from a third-person perspective. The mecha Jehuty can also use sub-weapons to make combat easier or more interesting, but only a handful of these are truly useful. There is a defensive move as well. Jehuty can also move up and down on a vertical axis and target enemies for more accurate combat. The Combat is simple yet satisfying. Jehuty can level up and gain more overall health from defeating enemies. Defeating enemies also can restore health or sub-weapon ammo, or they can be collected from containers on the field. Also the game has a world map like over-world where you travel from place to place and do rescue missions, which are optional, but they also carry rewards for visiting them, such as pass-codes for the various sub-weapons The reward for getting an A-rank on these rescue missions by saving all civilians and preserving at least 90% of the buildings in all areas is not so rewarding, only offering an achievement and the ending song during the credits changes. There is also a versus mode to play around with. Decent voice acting accompanies a fairly non-existent story and very little character development. This game is all about the mecha action, a few good ideas, but a bit weak. The sequel however is a different story.

In the 2nd Runner, pretty much everything has been improved. The combat, story, camera control, and pacing are all improved. The over-world has been swapped out for a level-based linear design, and sub-weapons now all share from a meter that is restored by melee or homing laser strikes, which is a new addition to the game to make combat both more exciting and easier. The sub-weapons themselves have returned, and have been made more useful. The voice-acting once again is decent, but is marred by some awful scriptwriting, or bad localization. For one, the actors seem to overemphasize words like Jehuty, or grunts and battle cries. Also, frequently there will be non-sequiturs during conservations that might make you scratch your head in confusion. There are also two slightly annoying escort missions in the game, but a much better game over all than the first. It also is based on the Europe and Japanese only- special Edition of the PlayStation 2 game and has extra EX-missions, which are like challenge levels, more versus mode characters, additional game-play improvements, and a music video.

So despite any issues you might have with the emulation of this game, Its a fine collection that High Voltage Software should be commended for, especially after the last Konami HD collection’s treatment, despite being done by a different developer. This collection did a very decent job at polishing up a game and as a result It shows how well preserved it is. Any drastic changes to its core would have been beyond the budget of this project, but it could have been nice to have some of the game-play improvements from the second game come to the first, or the first game getting the anime treatment for its cut-scenes, instead of the terribly low budget looking CG models, which do unfortunately show their age. But these are minor quibbles to a decent re-mastering effort. This is a worth the buy for the second game alone.


Decent mecha action that’s improved upon greatly in the second title.


Polished models look great with the up-scaling.


Nice and vibrant sound that doesn’t sound weak at all.


Decent remastering effort,but maybe they could have spent a bit more time tweaking the game’s frame-rate.

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