Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is a game where the world is ending. The clones left behind are on a dilapidated island, tasked with restoring humanity. They need to visit ruins to find machine parts. But, with only eight people around, the bonds between them are important too. These connections start to heavily influence the story as time goes on. In addition, giving people a chance to spend time together can result in optional scenes showing relationships growing or offering additional effects in dungeons.
The obvious way in which Zanki Zero relationships come through is with the bunkmate system. The apartment complex on the island has enough bedrooms for everyone. However, you can also pair people up in bedrooms together. When characters are bunkmates, relationships can grow and you get positive effects. For example, Rinko and her bunkmate can get a Charge Bonus when they room together. This makes it easier to perform a Charge attack in a fight. Minamo’s special effect is Death Resist Chance. When this Bunking Effect kicks in, the two characters will be able to survive a hit that would otherwise kill them with one HP. Yuma’s bonus increases the amount of food dropped. Keeping an eye on these bonuses can help you stay alive.
You also get to see how people interact with each other one-on-one. In the early portions of Zanki Zero, we don’t really get opportunities to see people socialize. The focus is on the story and revelations from their past. It is only after Stage 5 and in Stage 6 that we start to learn a lot more about how people related to one another. But before that, we can see events between characters who are getting closer. They’ll learn more about each other and their lives. We can see friendships form, and relationships are teased. (This is where people can see the night scenes with different characters.) It is a chance to see insights into how people relate to one another and how they might soften when not in a high pressure situation with a larger group. Once someone gets to the latter half of the game, we get to see how everyone’s relationships in Zanki Zero change things.
Editor’s Note: Spoilers for Zanki Zero will appear below.
It is after Stage 5 that we get a better idea of how the past shaped the future. It is about more than how Yuma’s father’s company owns MANI and helped begin the cloning process. It is learning that the garage kids all once knew each other. That Sachika was a dear friend to them all, someone who was lost in the past. Her death kicked everything into gear. It caused distrust within the group in the past. It resulted in a technique that meant something treasured was lost. It caused people to become targets for an imperfect technology. Once you get to about the halfway point, threads tie together.
How everyone relates to one another in Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is quite critical. The events of the story are spurred on by things that happened in the past. The garage kids’ connection back then were important, but then were lost. Now that they have reconnected, people have a chance to bond again. This means getting conversations where you learn things about different people and see how they react to one another. It means getting different bonus effects that can make surviving in the harsh world a little easier. Seeing people get along and use that to survive could make people connect with the characters better and might make it feel more real.
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is available for the PlayStation 4 and PC.