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November 2018

Zone Of The Enders: The 2nd Runner - M∀RS

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2018 (US), Sept. 6, 2018 (EU)


PS4/PC Preview - 'Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - Mars'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 19, 2018 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Become Jehuty in Zone Of The Enders: The 2nd Runner - M∀RS, both fully remastered 4K and with newly created first-person VR gameplay!

Pre-order Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - Mars

The original Zone of the Enders was best known for being "that game that came with a paid demo of Metal Gear Solid 2." It was by no means a bad game, but it was mostly potential and interesting concepts. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, however, is remembered as one of the best giant robot games of all time. The visuals have held up shockingly well for a PS2 game, and it also featured smooth gameplay control, interesting boss fights, and general excellence.

It's no surprise that the game is saw an HD remaster in the previous console generation, but the remaster wasn't much of a change, so it wasn't quite the re-release it should have been. Fortunately, Konami is giving it another shot with the PC and next-gen release, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - Mars.

Mars is set in the distant future. Powerful mecha are the name of war, with the most powerful being those created from a material called Metatron. The rebel organization BAHRAM is seeking to liberate Mars from the corrupt tyranny of the Earth government, but unfortunately, BAHRAM's leadership is no less corrupt. Two extremely powerful robots were created to end the war, but one of them, Jehuty, was stolen. The mecha ends up on the distant moon Callisto, where a miner named Dingo finds it and inevitably gets dragged into the war.

Mars is one of the fastest-playing mecha games on the market, aiming for quick, anime-style action. The gameplay is incredibly easy to pick up but complex to master, with tons of tiny techniques and special mechanics to separate average pilots from the exceptional. Jehuty can fire powerful homing lasers, create balls of energy, make clones of itself, teleport, and countless other things. It's a ton of fun to use Jehuty to its full extent, and fans should be excited to know the re-release is as smooth as ever.

Obviously, the biggest change to Mars is the addition of VR. If you choose, you can play the game in first-person view, via a cockpit. While it's in first-person, the camera doesn't spin when the player's mecha does. Considering one of Jehuty's attacks is "grab an enemy and spin them around," that is an extremely good thing. I was a bit worried that the fast-paced gameplay might make it easy to get motion sick, but in the end, it wasn't anything like that. You can keep track of your mecha via a small holographic image on the side of the cockpit, which provides some feedback for how you're moving.

The VR mode is a nice bit of immersion, I'm not sure it's a game-changer. We only got to the fight with Anubis inside the BAHRAM ship, which gave us a fairly good idea of how the VR worked through the tutorial. It'll be interesting to see how the VR will work with different segments, like parrying attacks in the battle against Ardjet.

All in all, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - Mars is shaping up to be a wonderful remaster. It looks great and plays well, and it's a huge boon that it's also coming to the PC for the first time. There seems to be a lot of thought put into the VR mode, and it's undeniably cool to be in the cockpit of a giant robot. Anyone who enjoys fast-paced anime action will find a lot to like here. It may not be the sequel people hoped for, but it's shaping up to be the best way to revisit a classic.

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