Sunday, January 17, 2010
ZONE OF THE ENDERS 2: The Second Runner
I know all these link blogging posts are lame... but I've been having trouble getting excited enough about anything to post anything else. ^_^;;; I promise to do a nice juicy post about PLUTO once it's finished, as I don't want to spoil anything or make a fool of myself with my own wild theories as to how it ends.
In the mean time... this is something I'm excited about right now, as I just bought ZONE OF THE ENDERS 2 off Ebay. It's one of my favorite games of all time, along with MEGA MAN LEGENDS 2 and METAL GEAR SOLID as a franchise.
Given that, it's not surprise that I like ZONE OF THE ENDERS 2 so much as it shares things in common with both franchises; the slick, cell shaded, 3-D anime look and immersive 3rd person RPG gameplay of MEGA MAN LEGENDS, and the same game designer as METAL GEAR SOLID in Hideo Kojima, who beyond being a pioneer of cutting edge immersive gameplay, is also a masterful storytelling.
Both METAL GEAR, and ZONE OF THE ENDERS really upped the ante for visual storytelling across all media, in my opinion... the first METAL GEAR SOLID was so visually beautiful and so engrossing a story, it was actually maddening to have to actually PLAY the game, as you were dying to get to the next cinematic and find out what happened next... ZONE OF THE ENDERS 2 has much the same effect on me.
The reason I was prompted to post this trailer is because... it's amazingly good, and totally reminded me how much I loved this game and wanted to finally own it. The fasted paced music, the stunning, and epic, visuals, and the urgency in the plot... it's engrossing.
I really like the depth of the mythology of ZONE OF THE ENDERS as well; which is shocking for a game that Kojima-San worked on as a side project between METAL GEAR's; an epic, hard sci-fi, world of political strife, philosophical musings, and high-energy drama and romance.
Set in the not to distance future, Man has moved out into the solar system and unearthed a powerful force deep in space; Metatron, an ancient technology closer to magic than anything else in existance. Metatron is used to power special Orbital Frames, which become the center of a massive conflict between the Earth Federation and the outer colony armies of Bahram, which have a foothold on Jupiter and Mars.
The first game involves a young boy named Leo Stienbeck, who comes across a mysterious Orbital Frame called Jehuty during a Bahram offensive that kills his parents and almost kills him and a young girl he likes. Having no choice he stumbles into Jehuty and this puts him at odds with Bahram, which wants to recover the Orbital Frame at all costs.
To be honest, I've never played the first game... I don't like the 3D cinematics they used, as they're very early on in the Playstations evolution and look awkward and clunky... surprisingly, even compared to the in game models and animation! The story is intriguing, and the gameplay was supposed to be pretty inspiring for it's time, but by the time I'd gotten interested in the series, ZONE OF THE ENDERS 2 had come out, and by all accounts at the time, was vastly superior, and in fact, somewhat revolutionary, as it was the first game engine to be able to hand multiple enemies on the screen at the same time without any slowdown; combat was fast paced and epic, forcing you to battle up to 40 enemies at any given time, as enemy robots swarmed around you like locusts.
ZONE OF THE ENDERS 2 expanded on the mythology, as the story moved onto an older protagonist named Dingo Egret, a salvage miner on Mars, who discovers the remains of Jehuty, who was apparently abandoned by Leo at the end of the first game, during a Bahram sneak attack. Injured and dying, Jehuty uses Metatron to resurrect Dingo, but his survival now depends completely on Jehuty, and he's trapped inside the robot, and forcibly implicated in a massive conspiracy perpetrated by Bahram to use Metatron to activate a massive, ancient weapon; Auhman, a super-massive fortress with unlimited destructive capabilities, and use it to destroy the Earth and game independence for the outer colonies.
ZONE OF THE ENDERS 2 sees the return of most of the characters from the first game, weaving them into the story, giving it depth and history. Beyond that, the anime tie-in ZONE OF THE ENDERS: DOLORES, I; which I actually really enjoyed and found to be a refreshing departure from anime convention, as it featured a fun, but mature and involved, hard sci-fi story with a middle aged, caucasian, protagonist, and a series of references to North American action movies (there's an actual episode that is basically anime DIE-HARD); also helped to expand the mythology, as it took place simultaneously before and between the first and second games, and had two characters cross over; Viola and Nohman.
So, yeah, I hope people enjoy the trailer as much as I do, and I cannot wait for the game to arrive in the mail!