Zone of the Enders 2: The 2nd Runner is a sci-fi mech
combat game from Konami
and directed by Hideo Kojima
(famous for the Metal Gear
series.) It is a sequel to Zone of the Enders
, and to date it is the last game in the Zone of the Enders franchise
In Zone of the Enders 2: The 2nd Runner, players are once again thrown into an interplanetary conflict, but this time the stakes are even higher, as the fate of Jupiter
are held in the balance. Players will find a host of new gameplay features to help balance the odds. Exhilarating new maneuvers enable players to swing around enemies, target and destroy swarms of enemy fighters, tear down walls to use as shields or as a weapon and even teleport out of danger. There are also more sub-weapons that support basic attacks and enhance strategic play during combat.
The game's setting expands greatly beyond that of Zone of the Enders: battles are fought in canyons, cityscapes, enemy fortresses and even in the depths of space. A new cast of characters populates these diverse settings, promising to infuse this epic saga with a human element.
Unlike most mech games, Zone of the Enders has a large emphasis on fast-paced action, leading to insane drunken missile barrages onto possibly hundreds of enemies at once, and space battle ballets between giant robots.
While the gameplay resembles the original game, albeit with improvements, the cut-scenes are in a Japanimation style that gives a stark contrast to the rest of the game, and gives you a nice breaking point to set the controller down as Hideo Kojima
lets loose his flow.
The graphics are a barrage of neon lights and blue explosions, giving the proceedings an almost tron-esque experience. With notable boss battles in large black rooms with neon piping, as well as orange and red spaces.
The soundtrack is an often mesmerizing mix of orchestral arrangements mixed with Japanese trance as a group of j-pop singers spit nonsense
to the beat.
Being able to move in literally every direction you want gives you a lot of freedom. Apart from the freedom you're able to kill your enemies in various methods; grabbing, throwing, shooting, blasting, and a lot more. There are plenty of new challenges and missions for you to do. The variety of weapons is also very big, from lasers to missiles to huge cannons to teleporting. The new sub-weapons and super-tough bosses make a noticeable difference compared to the first game.
Now new and improved, these weapons will help you defeat enemies with ease. Here is the list of the sub-weapons in the game.Grab
Simply Jehuty will grab an enemy and swing it like a club and throw it away. It also allows you to grab objects in the environment and throw it at the enemy.Geyser
Jehuty will throw a beam of energy which will stun all the enemy which comes in contact with it. The harder the circle button is pressed, the more focused the spread will be.Gauntlet
A weapon which pushes back any enemy it strikes. Deals double damage if enemy collides with a wall as a result.Comet
Fire a series of homing missiles at the enemy.Decoy
Jehuty will create a mirror image which will distract the enemy and allow you to attack from behind.Phalanx
Fires a spread shot dealing damage to the enemy. The harder the circle button is held, the more focused the spread will be.Vector Cannon
A huge laser which deals massive damage to the enemy, at the cost of an incredibly long charge time. Is used in specific parts of the story to remove 'compressed space'.Halberd
Summons a laser beam.Wisp
Upgraded version of Grab, it allows you to grab the enemy from a greater distance.Mummy
Summons a shield.Homing Missile
As the name suggests.Floating Mine
Allows Jehuty to place mines around itself.Zero Shift
Allows Jehuty to teleport behind the enemy
The game's soundtrack features a mix of Japanese Techno and J-pop to accompany the futuristic gameplay. The soundtrack was later released on CD under the name 'Anubis'. the original Japanese voice acting is not included in American and European releases due to size constraints on the disc. The English voice acting has been criticized by many as being awkward, mainly due to poor software localization.
The game has a multiplayer mode with a unique component. All the stats and rules in the single player mode still apply to the multiplayer vs mode. Therefore Zero-Suit Jehuty and Anubis were the only suits that could defeat each other. This made the multiplayer have some very unbalanced characters.
In a kind of obscure reference Leo Stenbuck, Jehuty's pilot from the first game, in this game pilots an orbital frame identified as Vic Viper. Of course, Vic Viper is the pilot of the spacecraft from the Gradius games. Leo's orbital frame has the ability to transform -- in a fashion similar to that seen in the Macross anime series -- from its mecha form to a spacecraft that has an obvious resemblance to Vic Viper's spacecraft from the Gradius games. In a battle with Leo and his Vic Viper, his orbital frame signals what it is doing -- i.e. switching attack patterns and weapons -- by announcing it in a fashion that is similar to that found in Gradius. "Option" is clearly audible, for example.