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Reviews: Zone of the Enders HD Edition (4/10)

Posted on : 16-12-2012 | By : | In : Reviews

Hardware: ,

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Over the past few years, realising that the current generation has decayed due to excessive functional standardisation, we’ve had a few “classics” resurrected into HD to stem the tide of mediocrity. Whilst many of these games were originally rather noteworthy, their updated HD versions have often been very disappointing. This is mainly down to the fact that these ports are in fact outsourced in their entirety.

The worst offender thus far has been that of Konami, with a variety of HD re-releases suffering from all manner of grievous problems (many of which the original games never suffered from). So what has happened to the Zone of the Enders HD edition then? Well, firstly it was ported by High Voltage Software (not internally by Konami, as we were led to believe) and they’ve done a pretty poor job. Now, we’ve never thought the Zone of the Enders games were bad but they are functionally flawed. Though the issue here is entirely down to the fidelity of the port itself.

This collection contains both the first Zone of the Enders game and its sequel Anubis, in the case of the latter we now have it as the Special Edition version too. This is important as the Special Edition was never released in the US (though it was in Europe and Japan). Whilst the first game in the series was pretty disappointing, the second was a definite improvement (with the Special Edition actually being quite good).

So what’s happened that has rendered these games into an unfortunate mess? Put simply, the main and most egregious contender is that of the framerate. The original games on PS2 weren’t exactly that great on the framerate front to begin with, bar the Special Edition, but the new HD versions are far more erratic. Admittedly the PS3 version fares worse than its 360 counterpart in this regard, but both are pretty awful compared to the PS2 originals.

On the first game it renders much of the basic combat frustrating and arduous, whereas on the sequel it’s simply maddening. Especially as the Special Edition on PS2 went to great lengths to curb any losses in framerate, which resulted in a far more enjoyable game. Having to play the improved Anubis with a sub par framerate throughout is just hugely frustrating.

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For the most part, these games have been ported accurately and the new updated anime cockpit cut-ins in Anubis are nicely done. Functionally they’re fairly close too, more on the first game than the second. So to decry these games on the framerate seems trite, almost irrelevant.

However, as the framerate inconsistencies are constant throughout the game and coupled with the general fast paced combat can make for a rather gut wrenching set of playthroughs. Coupled with the inherent functional flaws of the first game and to a lesser extent the second, the overall experience is marred by the fact you’re obviously playing a shoddy facsimile of something that wasn’t overly brilliant to begin with.

This is the odd thing really, as Konami should have known that outsourcing these kind of HD remakes to a studio that’s done a series of Wii games would end badly. Maybe they didn’t really care and hoped people wouldn’t notice (something that the games press hasn’t, for the most part). In any case it’s very clear that these remakes are a mere shadow of their former PS2 versions.

The cynical person in me thinks these HD remakes, followed by the recent unnerving glut of toys and kits, are Konami’s attempt at softening the ground before their Zone of the Enders reboot is released. To hype the series if you will. Sadly, the hype only works if it delivers and these HD remakes are sorely lacking.

Tamashii: 4/10

New Opening Animation »

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Comments (8)

it’s amazing that they redo the FMVs and then they compress them so fucking much it defeats the point.

Come fucking on Konami. None of your HD remasters have been anything but a waste of potential. Yes even MGS HD. I could write an essay on all the things wrong with that.

As a massive fan of everything Z.O.E related I’m quite saddened to hear that this HD version has been handled so poorly (especially as I rarely use my 360 any more and would have gone for the PS3 version). For all the games’ flaws I had always felt that at least Konami was handling the series as a whole properly.

I’ll probably still be picking this up to complete my collection of the series, but I was really looking forward to playing it again and if the framerate is as bad as you say… well to be honest I may as well just look up the new fmv sequences on youtube 🙁

So has your rating of this collection changed in light of HexaDrive’s PS3 patch?

It’s better but still not as good as the PS2 originals. So the review will stand as is.

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