Jehuty has been lying in Konami’s intellectual property basement between Bill Rizer and the Vic Viper. Since HD re-releases are all the rage Konami handed Jehuty to The Conduit developer High Voltage Software to make Zone of the Enders HD Collection and for the sake of nostalgia it has a Metal Gear demo. You can try Metal Gar Rising: Revengence if you have a copy of Zone of the Enders HD Collection. It’s like 2001 all over again.
In Zone of the Enders you play as Leo, a kid caught in the middle of war on Antilia. When BAHRAM invades the space colony, he stumbles upon an Orbital Frame called Jehuty and destroys his attackers. After the fight, Leo gets a message from Elena pleading for him to become a "runner" and bring Jehuty to Mars. As Zone of the Enders progresses Leo bonds with Jehuty’s artificial intelligence, Ada, through wooden dialogue. Zone of the Enders HD Collection uses the original voice acting and localization.
Antilia is essentially a hub world in Zone of the Enders. Ada tells you where you should take Jehuty, but you can branch off and rescue civilians in war torn towns. Once you’re in a field you’ll see enemy robot groups guarding the area. You can fly around them to avoid a fight or crash into them if you want a fight. Jehuty’s attack changes from a sword when you’re close to an enemy robot to laser blasts if you are far away. You can also earn sub weapons like the Phalanx which sprays bullets and a sniper rifle by collecting passcodes. If you missed Zone of the Enders, combat is fast and furious. The game is also really short, speedrun short.
Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner drops the world map, but beefs up the graphics and combat. Jehuty can grab enemies and spin them around before throwing them. The robot also has a lock on missile attack that lets players target multiple enemies by holding down the attack button. Zone of Enders HD Collection does not support pressure sensitive buttons like the original games. You either tap or hold down the attack button to lock on to more targets. The control change affects sub-weapons like the Phalanx’s range for firing bullets. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner has an older protagonist who isn’t afraid to fight. Dingo Egret, an ice miner, also just happens to find Jehuty when BAHRAM comes down to attack. Since Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is a direct sequel you’ll see Leo too and boy has he changed.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection greets players with a new animated opening from mecha animation studio Sunrise. The bulk of the work was done by High Voltage Software and I believe this is their first HD conversion. While High Voltage Software showed a HD demo for a game called The Grinder most of their work has been doing Wii and PSP versions of licensed games or licensed Kinect titles. While the graphical upgrade is nice, Zone of the Enders HD Collection stutters at times. Konami sent us an early copy of the Xbox 360 version and I noticed choppiness in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner when enemies fill the screen.
All of the content from Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner Special Edition like the extra battles in story mode, bonus missions, and more difficulty options. Since Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner Special Edition was only released in Europe and Japan, this content is new for North America.
Japanese blog PS360 has an excellent comparison between the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 2 versions of the game.
Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (PS3, Xbox 360, and PS2)
The short story is the frame rate is better on Xbox 360 than PlayStation 3, but both are choppier compared to the standard definition version on PlayStation 2. It’s disappointing especially since Konami and Bluepoint Games did a fantastic job with Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. I guess Bluepoint Games was too busy with PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale to polish giant robots.
Zone of the Enders HD Collection could have been handled better, but are the games still fun to play, though? Yeah. Speedy combat and big boss battles makes the games in Zone of the Enders HD Collection just as entertaining as they were a decade ago.