Despite the fact that most mech games or past titles heavily
weighed down on with Japanese themes/atmosphere have never
really struck huge sales with the mainstream U.S. core, Zone
of the Enders (ZOE), since itís initial showing, has
received quite a bit of hype. Unquestionably due to itís early
screenshots featuring exhilarating visuals (not to mention Mr.
Metal Gear Solid himself, Hideo Kojima, was the leader
designer), Zone of the Enders had a lot to live up
to. After all, constantly being hounded with the
name-association of the man responsible for one of (if not the)
most popular PSone game of all time wonít exactly give you
secrecy from the media. Of course, we all know how much a burden
high praises from the journalistic community can be to a
graphically enticing game (read: The Bouncer.)
Nevertheless, ZOE does come through in a few key aspects.
Obviously, Konami has blessed us with some of the sharpest and
most glamorous graphics, making any other PS2 action title
before it look like an old Master System title does to, well,
the PlayStation 2. (Okay, maybe not that drastically, but you
get my point.) Also, for better or for worse, Kojimaís attempt
to create a true cinematic masterpiece progresses a step farther
with the semi-epic journey found in Zone of the Enders. Overall,
ZOE isnít close to a let down or a so-called "bomb".
However, itís not without its problems.
As did Hideo Kojima handle Metal Gear Solid, ZOEís
concentration is on telling a stimulating, metaphorical story
involving characters built upon the same
Questioning-Morals-And-Life archetype that Kojima-san displayed
in Metal Gear Solid. This is how Konami so promptly outlined the
"In the remote reaches of the solar system in the 22nd
century, there is a colony on Jupiter called "Antilia"
In a sudden outbreak of war, a shy youth named Leo Stenbuck
loses his friends right before his eyes. Blaming himself for not
being able to save them, he panicked and ran away from the scene
of the attack, inadvertently stumbling onto the cause of the
war, the Orbital Frame "Jehuty", a colossal war
machine with a human form that holds the key to civilization's
Throughout the game, Leo struggles between what he considers
good for himself and his family as opposed to what the Jehutyís
"brain" thinks. In essence, Leo tries to understand
life and itís rights and wrongs.
After only a few minutes of initial play, itís painfully
obvious to acknowledge how fantastic ZOEís visuals really are.
Crisp, sharp models, brilliant displays of flashes and
explosions as well as some of the best examples of how the PS2
can do lighting help illustrate Zone of the Enderís dazzling
aesthetic world. Thereís no frame rate hiccups whatsoever and
hints of slowdown are practically non-existent. Even with a
handful of enemies on the screen (not to mention Leoís own
Jehuty), the action in ZOE never slows down. The only annoyance
I found is the repetitive (youíll be seeing that word a lot)
textures in the game. Itís not as if the colors are washed out
Ė quite the contrary Ė but the cities and even enemies
themselves basically share the same repeating texture
wallpapered on to them. This is merely nitpicking, but it does
become kind of stale to look at the same handful of colored
plaster to each level.
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