In fact, it’s damned good
During the 2017 Tokyo Game Show, Konami had announced they were releasing a remaster of their PlayStation 2 title, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. This new game, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS, would include enhanced graphics, 4K support, surround sound and would support VR headsets. This includes the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift HTC Vive.
Being a huge Z.O.E fan, I was excited about the news but soon grew skeptical of the news. This was Konami after all. The same company that fans have been begging for a follow-up to the series for years, including Hideo Kojima. Sadly, the possibility of a third game died when the Zone of the Enders HD Collection sold poorly. Which was due to Konami subcontracting the game out to another company, High Voltage Software. It ended up being super glitchy, to the point I didn’t even want to touch my copy. I don’t think I raged so hard before in my life.
Yet, out of nowhere comes this remaster. I wasn’t sure what to think.
Fast forward to a few days ago where Konami released a demo of the title for the PlayStation and PC. I elected to download the PC version, as it would be the first time this game would grace the PC. A smile appeared on my face the second it loaded up for the first time. That smile quickly went away as I got my ass handed to me during the first few minutes.
Hey, it’s been a while since I played the game. Thankfully, it only took a few minutes to get back into fighting form.
I’ve played through the demo twice, as it’s really short. It includes the opening minutes of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner and ends after meeting up with Anubis. Oh, and you impaled with a giant metal beam. It didn’t look pleasant either.
There’s a huge amount of settings to adjust the visual look of the game, and it also includes support for 21:9 monitors. The enhanced graphics are still those from the original game. But upgraded textures and sharpness has been added. Even still, it game still looks dated, yet still amazing to see up and running on the PC. I also was happy to see that the game ran at locked 60FPS, it looked so smooth in action.
The gameplay is just as I remember as well. Fast, frantic and oh so satisfying. Sadly, the controls of the game also are intact. It’s no secret that the controls for Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner needed some work and it remains the same here. The game loads really fast as well. I was up and running in a matter of seconds when I started the game. Also when I died a few times while getting reacquainted with the game. All the sounds of the game return as well and they sound better than ever. Including that amazing soundtrack composed by Norihiko Hibino, Akihiro Honda, and Maki Kirioka. And yes, Beyond The Bounds is also present. The only problem I had with the demo is that I couldn’t change the voices to Japanese. A quick glance over to the Steam page also isn’t really providing me with any confidence that we’ll see this in the full game.
I don’t mind the English dub job. I just happen to like the Japanese voices with the subtitles a bit more. Hopefully, the Steam page message doesn’t mean what I think it means. Which means, we aren’t going to see Japanese voices over in the West. If that’s the case, that’s a really silly decision. Yet, it’s too early to call Konami out for that and we’ll have to wait until the game releases.
All in all, the demo really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it is. Now I’m wishing I had a VR headset or access to one. I’d love to see how controlling Jehuty would be in VR. It’s a bang-up demo, which is instilling a lot of confidence for the full game. It also removes that nasty taste called Zone of the Enders HD Collection from my mind.
Speaking of which, if this goes well, I’d love to see Konami revisit plans for a part three. If they don’t, that’s fine. I’d settle for the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for the PC.
Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS releases on September 4th on the PS4, PSVR, and PC.