Hideo Kojima is probably best known for his work on the Castlevania and Metal Gear series. As a matter of fact, the upcoming Metal Gear: Revengeance is one of the most anticipated games ever. Since it was first announced that a Metal Gear game was coming to the Xbox 360, excitement has been high. At the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, I got some time with the title and it looks really good. Also at E3 was the latest HD re-release from Konami, Zone of the Enders: HD Collection. The collection contains two of Kojima’s lesser known and perennial “Best Games You Never Played” list leaders.
The Zone of the Enders games are kind of a hybrid of action, adventure and shooter games set in outer space in a dystopian near future. The first Zone of the Enders game puts a young boy, Leo in an orbital frame, or gundam, basically a giant humanoid shaped tank called Jehuty. Though he initially resists becoming a fighter, his desire to help his family friends quickly overcomes his hesitance. The suit can melee with an energy sword and shoot various other weapons. Of course suit can also fly and there is also high altitude flying which serves as a quick travel.
Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner tells the story of a miner named Dingo Egret, at a facility on one of Jupiter’s moons, Callisto. He discovers the orbital frame Jehuty that was hidden there by Leo. When he is attacked, Dingo climbs into Jehuty to fight off the attackers. Where the first game gave the player more freedom to travel, The 2nd Runner is a tighter, more linear experience. The sequel also offers some additional features and even a multiplayer mode that wasn’t included in the first game. For those that haven’t heard, Kojima did announce that a third game is now in the works.
As with all Kojima games, the Zone of the Enders games are heavily cinematic. With these HD releases, the cinematic scenes have been redone. That goes quite a way in their ability to tell the story that was much fresher all of those years ago. Without the well-told if not sometimes heavy-handed narrative the games would still be good but, nowhere near what the sum of their parts achieve. As those that have played these games can attest, the musical score is also remarkable. Metal Gear’s Norihiko Hibino provided arguably his best work for the pair of games.
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