The Best Games You’ve Never Played: “Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner”

I can’t lie. I didn’t play the first Zone of the Enders. Hadn’t even heard of it until I picked up the sequel. But from what I know, you don’t really need to play it, because the 2nd Runner has everything you’d ever want from an awesome anime/mech-influenced game.

Ever wonder how’d it be to really pilot the Wing Zero? Or control an Evangelion? Zone of the Enders: the 2nd Runner pleased on so many levels, delivering nonstop action, constant upgrades, hidden unlockables, a 2-player VS mode, and an unlockable 3D shooter game based on the Vic Viper Orbital Frame that was taken from an old Konami shoot ’em up.

The game’s cinematics are typical Kojima quality: which means they’re epic. There’s a trailer in the beginning that catches you up on the events of the first title (so you can witness firsthand the incessant whining of the previous protagonist, Leo Stenbuck) and then there’s a trailer of the VERY GAME YOU ARE PLAYING (and it’s almost 8 mins long!). But, in all honesty, it gets you so hyped up for the game you’re about to play that you can overlook it’s length for how good it is.

When you’re ready to dive in , you follow the much cooler protagonist Dingo Egret (I know the name is weird, but I promise he’s cool), a man trying to forget his past and live his life as a miner on a moon. With connections to the antagonists of the first game, he’s forced to work for an opposing organization after finding the Orbital Frame, or mech, called Jehuty, lest he lose his life. With his heart connected to Jehuty, and Jehuty’s A.I. ADA set to self-destruct, Dingo has a limited time to destroy the evil Aumann Project before he himself is destroyed.

With fantastic anime cutscenes detailing the story, great voice-acting, and tons of replayability (especially if you want to replay the game with even stronger versions of Jehuty and the ability to play with all of your abilities from the beginning), this game never fails to deliver to you the action and quality of the best giant-robot animes out there. In this game you useyour default light sword, homing lasers, your ability to grab enemies and use them as a weapon, a shield, or a projectile, and a super charged power ball (think Goku’s spirit bomb) to dish out damage; as the game progresses, you take abilities from defeated Orbital Frames that range from defensive capabilities (like Mummy, which encases you in a huge, unbreakable shield) to offensive (like the devastating Homing Missile) to deceptive (like Decoy) to the most amazing ability yet, Zero Shift, which basically allows you to teleport directly to enemies like X-Men’s Nightcrawler or Naruto‘s Fourth Hokage, the Yellow Flash. Trust me when I say that you’re facing enemies who can shoot at you, grab you, block your attacks, swarm you, and out-maneuver you, especially enemy Orbital Frames like ZOE‘s main antagonist, Anubis.

With news that Konami seems to be producing HD remakes of the first two games for the PS3, PS Vita, and the X Box 360, and some kind of ZOE game being developed for the 3Ds, the huge cult following that’s been clamoring for a new console ZOE game for years seems to have finally been heard. Hopefully this means that Konami is taking ZOE seriously again, after years of Kojima promising a third console game. If any game developer would benefit from a reinvigorated franchise, it’s this one. If any game would benefit from the power of the PS3 or 360, this would be the game to do it. ZOE: The 2nd Runner players face dozens, perhaps even hundreds of enemies at once; massive battleships to destroy; challenging and unique enemy types; awesome weapons with varying effects and gameplay mechanics; and so many unlockables. Imagine what next-gen tech add to the experience? Get this game on the PS2 or the upcoming HD remake: then play it, love it, and demand a sequel.


(This post originally appeared on Infinite Ammo)

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