While not without its many flaws, Zone of the Enders was still an enjoyable game, to say the least. While the game had one of the most unbearable videogame protagonists in recent history, the action in ZOE made it a pretty tolerable title. Thankfully, Kojima and co. have taken the action aspects of the original Zone of the Enders, the cinematic presentation of Metal Gear Solid 2, and threw in a little bit of Shinobi (for an even quicker pace) to form Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner.
Z.O.E. 2 manages to do pretty much everything right. Visually, the game now has a softer, though far more gorgeous, look to it. KCEJ reworked the graphics by giving them an overall smoother look, and by dropping a hint of cel-shading here and there. The level of detail in the game is incredible. The environments are detailed superbly, as are the game's many mechs. The biggest visual aspect in ZOE2 has to be its ridiculously good looking special effects. The burst attacks look astonishing, it's almost like witnessing a solar eclipse, and the explosions are perhaps the most realistic in a videogame to date. The only visual downfall is some slowdown during very hectic moments, but regardless, it's easily one of the finest looking games on the PS2 -- just wait until you see those explosions.
The gameplay has managed to remain mostly the same, but the speed of the game has been increased, thus making everything more exhilarating. In addition to speed, Jehuty's burst attacks have been upgraded, as well. Instead of firing four measly beams towards your opponent(s), you'll unleash nearly 20 -- an attack that you'll use often. You'll also be able to charge your standing burst attack into a massive ball of energy that'll destroy anything within its radius, once it explodes. The game obviously borrows its presentation from Metal Gear Solid 2. Everything from the communication scenes between game characters (just like the Codec), right down to every cut scene presented, this game has MGS2's influence all over it. The action is faster than ever, and is incredibly addictive to boot. ZOE2 is one of those games that grabs you by the hand and never lets go -- not until the ride is finished, and even then you want to go back for some more. ZOE2 oozes with visual flare, some fantastic presentation, and intense, not to mention addictive, gameplay. It's certainly worth checking out once the game hits shelves this upcoming March; and best of all, no whiny brat.
2/7/2003 Arnold Katayev