322: Zone of the Enders

This is where you'll find threads specific to the games we're covering in Volume Six
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JaySevenZero
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322: Zone of the Enders

Post by JaySevenZero » December 31st, 2017, 4:29 pm

Here's where you can leave your thoughts regarding Zone of the Enders for possible inclusion in the podcast when it's recorded.

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skatecats
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Re: 322: Zone of the Enders

Post by skatecats » January 17th, 2018, 10:51 pm

Zone of the Enders, holds a dear place in my heart. It was the first game I picked up for the PS2 and also the first game I bought with my own money ( I was 10 at the time), and to top it off, it was my first introduction to the mind of Hideo Kojima, more on that later. I bought the game without knowing anything about it, I just thought the cover art was really cool and I was going through a mecha anime phase at that time in my life. Jehuty, I think is the coolest mech design to appear in any medium of entertainment, it was love at first site.

The story, while not terribly unique, was well executed with memorable cutscenes that blew me away at the time, and fun dialogue exchanges between A.D.A and Leo, even though the voice acting was laugh out loud cheesy at some times, it added to the overall charm of the experience. It was clear where the influences came from with elements of Robotech, Gundam, and Neon Genesis, and the game seemed to proudly display it. It is certainly Kojima's love letter to the mecha genre.

As for the gameplay, it's kind of a mixed bag for me. I absolutely adored the combat, Jehuty has some of the flashiest move sets I've seen in a game of that generation (my favorite being the giant energy ball attack), only matched by the Devil May Cry and God of War series. While the combat was very fun and engaging, some of the encounters lasted a bit too long, which made it slightly repetitive, the lack of enemy variety didn't help either. The bosses however, were an absolute blast and were all vastly different in terms of how you had to approach the combat. Overall the combat is extremely satisfying.

The experience out of combat is a different story. Making your way through the environments is bland and could get very boring, very fast, you felt like a butterfly flying around rather than a badass super mech. The hub world, however, is a better experience. I loved flying around the space station and taking in the sights as the art direction in the game is excellent. I also couldn't believe that games were capable of such a massive, open environment at the time. You definitely got the feeling that you were the protector of the space station and felt your importance to everyone in it

Once I beaten ZOE, I popped in the bundled MGS2 demo disk. I had never heard of the Metal Gear series up to that point and didn't know what I was in for. I was blown away. As I mentioned above, ZOE was my first introduction to Kojima, I thoroughly enjoyed ZOE but the MGS 2 demo sealed the deal, I was a Kojima fan. I wasn't a big gamer by any means at the time until I stumbled upon two games that got me seriously into the hobby. Metal Gear and Halo. ZOE started my interest in space operas, which directly influenced me to pick up Halo, while my experience with the MGS2 demo disk showed me the possibilities of storytelling in gaming. In short I wouldn't have become the gamer I am today without Zone of the Enders.

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Simonsloth
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Re: 322: Zone of the Enders

Post by Simonsloth » February 6th, 2018, 11:40 am

In a time when disposable income was a distant dream I had to rely on birthday and Christmas presents for my next game. It was with a feeling of sacrifice that I chose this game for the sole reason that it was bundled with the metal gear solid tanker demo.

I think I replayed that demo more than any other game and learnt every nook and cranny. Zone of the Enders on the other hand was an afterthought. Many months later an inconceivable thing happened, I had nothing to play so with the promise of a Kojima produced robot fighting game I tried zone of the Enders.

Mediocre would be the best way of describing my opinion of it then. The gameplay options seemed limited, the story was very loose to put it kindly and it was a very short experience. The moment to moment gameplay was exciting at first but quickly became repetitive and I really felt that Kojima’s name on it to add buzz rather than because he had any genuine input. I suspect I’m wrong but it certainly felt that way.

Playing it again recently I feel it’s brevity, limited gameplay options and repetition are even less forgiveable. At a quick glance it looks exciting to the casual observer but it really isn’t for the player.

3 word review:
Needs more Kojima

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Flabyo
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Re: 322: Zone of the Enders

Post by Flabyo » February 6th, 2018, 7:00 pm

The sequel is much the better game, and I plan to one day inflict its awesome atonal singing theme tune on sound of play.

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Simonsloth
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Re: 322: Zone of the Enders

Post by Simonsloth » February 8th, 2018, 9:13 pm

I remember the sequel being much better. I wonder if it’ll hold up to scrutiny on replaying it

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ashman86
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Re: 322: Zone of the Enders

Post by ashman86 » March 1st, 2018, 10:45 pm

In June 2001, I was working my first-ever job as a games attendant at a local amusement park. I was 15 years old, finally earning some disposable income of my own, and still reeling from the untimely demise of the Sega Dreamcast. Until this point in time, I had only ever owned PC and SEGA gaming hardware, and I was coming to grips with the fact that I'd have to branch out into other console spaces after years of staunchly defending the House of Sonic from my misguided friends at school.

Naturally, I stepped into the embrace of the Dreamcast-killer itself, and I'd saved up enough money to buy not one but two brand new games to play on my shin-, er, matte-black-with-a-pretty-blue-LED PS2. Dark Cloud was at the top of my wishlist for current releases, but my most anticipated title for the system was none other than Metal Gear Solid 2. Since it wasn't out yet, I did the next best thing and spent $50 on the recently released demo disc that just so happened to include a copy of a bizarre mech game starring a teenaged anime boy: Zone of the Enders.

Now at the time, my slightly younger sister had a boyfriend whom she'd met online playing Phantasy Star Online (that's a whole other story), and he was staying with us for a week. This is important because it was his presence that has forever colored my memories of ZOE. He was a year younger than I, but he'd already had his PS2 since launch and had long since completed and set aside ZOE and the MGS2 demo disc. He also had a certain competitive streak about him, particularly as it pertained to our shared hobby of video games, and he and I came to view one another as rivals. It was friendly enough of a rivalry, but a rivalry all the same.

Excited to see that ZOE had a 2-payer versus mode in the game, I asked him to go a few rounds with me. He destroyed me! Time and again; I could barely get a hit in. Having sufficiently schooled me, he then tossed the controller casually aside and left with an arrogant laugh.

I was seething.

The next day, my sister, our parents, and her boyfriend left the house to show him around town, but I stayed at home, locked up in my room, playing ZOE on the hardest difficulty of the game. I was mostly pleased to discover a flashy and stylistic action title with a largely forgettable story, which I found strange considering Kojima' s involvement. Looking back on it now, I can remember only the rather emotional and whiny protagonist whose demeanor another friend and I would joke was entirely at odds with Dark Cloud's similarly aged Toan. Oh, and one other thing: I remember the game's cliffhanger ending and its anticlimactic battle with Anubis that I'd never resolve as I'd lost interest by the time ZOE2 released.

What I remember most vividly is that when my family returned, I immediately challenged my sister's boyfriend to a rematch. He smirked at me, brushing aside a long black tuft of hair from his eye. "Okay," he said with irritating hubris.

I was untouchable, bouncing around the screen at lightning speed, closing in for melee damage and dashing away unscathed. I beat him once, a flawless victory. And then again. And a third time.

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster," wrote Nietzche. I'd like to report here that I was a bigger person, but that's not the case. After all, I, too, was an insufferable teenager, and now it was my turn to be smug.

I smiled at the guy. "Do you want to play another one?"

He dropped my controller onto the chair as he stood up. "How lame," he said. "You spent ALL day practicing this game just so you could beat me."

He was right, and I knew it. It took some of the wind out of my sails, but not all of it. Because even now I can't tell the story without a stupid grin on my face.

So, yeah, Zone of the Enders was all right. But that Metal Gear demo was worth every penny.

Three-word review:
Fifty-dollar demo

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