Why does J-Pop have to be so catchy? I’m not being facetious. I’m genuinely curious as to how a song, whose lyrics I can’t even understand, can get stuck in my head. Because that’s what happened with the opening sequence for when you boot up the Zone of the Enders HD Collection disc. It’s pretty catchy. It doesn’t help that it plays every time I begin to play Zone of the Enders: 2nd Runner.
But catchy theme songs aside, what’s the actual game been like so far?
I have to say, I’m glad to see a sequel that improves so much over the first game. Everything I’ve seen in ZOE2 is an improvement over the first. The graphics are better, & not just because it’s a more recent game. The cutscenes are in an appealing anime style, which carries over during in-game moment when characters are talking to each other from inside the Orbital Frames. The in-game graphics are a little better as well & sport a cell-shaded appearance. It may sound strange, but it’s most notable for the smoke effects, which remind me of something from Wind Waker. And there’s more than the same environment to fight in! Sure, I’m currently on a space station now, but the first level took place on the snowy terrain of one of Jupiter’s moon.
The combat has also improved with the addition of the abilities to target multiple enemies for a homing shot & grabbing enemies/objects that can then be used as either shields or projectiles. Throwing enemies at other enemies is endlessly amusing, & practical as using enemies as shields is the only way to block Burst attacks. The homing ability is equally useful for the numerous tiny enemies that swarm around during combat. And while I appreciate the new enemy variety, it can make it difficult to switch enemies if you want to target one specifically.
And thank God, the character you play is much better than Leo from the first game. Despite having a really weird name, Dingo Egret has been much more likeable so far. He actually has friends that he’s friendly towards, bantering with them in the opening sequence. And although Dingo gets a bit tiffy about helping the Space Forces defeat BAHRAM, it’s understandable considering they’re holding his life as ransom. Seriously, I’ve never understood the whole “holding someone’s life over their head so they’ll do something for you” blackmail. Maybe it’s because I’m passive aggressive, but I’d be like, “Go ahead & kill me. You’re the one needing something from me & you’re not going to get if I’m dead.” But I digress… My point is that I like Dingo a lot better than I did Leo.
So overall, it’s shaping up to be a more enjoyable experience than the original Zone of the Enders.