Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner: A Story Told Too Quickly

The second game I’ve beaten this year has been another remastered title from the sixth generation of home consoles, and another mech game. Zone of the Enders the 2nd Runner is an overly ambitious game for its story telling and gameplay but rush too quickly both narratively and mechanically to appreciate the game.

Say what you will about Hideo Kojima telling stories through the medium of video games, despite all the flaws that came with trying to tell a story when this game was released on the Playstation 2, he is at least ambitious. You’ll play as Dingo, a miner who discovers the orbital frame Jehuty abandoned on Jupiter and uses Jehuty to protect his friends who are being attacked by BAHRAM a martian independence military movement.

The story of Zone of the Enders the 2nd Runner however is a rushed story. Constant jumps and plot twists show how amateur Kojima was as a producer trying to tell a story that was bigger than him. Zone of th Enders the 2nd Runner also doesn’t take the time for characters to build relationships. Interactions between characters result in jarring conversations as the game stumbles trying to develop connections which stands out even more as the game is fully voice acted with some decent performances and others that are flat.

The gameplay of Zone of the Enders has always been unique. Thankfully the game provides a training mode and in game tutorial that will help learn the mechanics and the unusual controller layout. Unfortunately, like the story the gameplay is also rushed constantly introducing new subweapons that are rarely or never used due to the length of the stages being so short. The combat against enemy mechs is enjoyable as you learn to fight enemies in both melee and range but fights are often over as soon as they begin. I should also make note that the game’s targetting system works on a small scale but later stages involve so many enemies that it becomes insufficient for the larger scale stages.

The bosses also involve novelty mechanics as well. Some boss fights go so far that combat don’t involve an actual mastery of the combat mechanics but are more focused on stripping down the gameplay to coincide with the story. While this does make some boss fights interesting, the climax of the game takes the concept so far that makes the battle tedious and drawn out.

Despite all these gripes, I appreciated the amateur story telling and unique gameplay. It reminds me that I’d rather have developers shoot for the stars when telling a story and designing a game that is flawed but ambitious. Zone of the Enders the 2nd Runner is a game of its time for better and for worse. It’s a short experience that I’d recommend to those who would be interested in Hideo Kojima’s works outside the Metal Gear series and for those who enjoy sci-fi mech games.

If you would like to see my first playthrough of Zone of the Enders the 2nd Runner you can find it on Twitch.


Metal Wolf Chaos XD: Believe in Your Own Justice

If you would ask me what are the only two games that the developer From Software makes it would be Dark Souls and Armored Core. While most people know From Software for making Dark Souls games starting with King’s Field to now having a remastered version of Demon’s Souls. The same could be said about Armored Core games even though that is the lesser known franchise today. However, one of least likely of the mech games that From Software developed has gotten a remaster as it was the one of the few games they developed for the original Xbox as well known as Metal Wolf Chaos.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD put simply is just an upscaled version of the original Metal Wolf Chaos. There are no added game modes or any extras bells and whistles. Nor does this game have the standard in depth customization that is traditionally offered in an Armored Core game where you get to design your mech from top to bottom. What makes Metal Wolf Chaos XD enjoyable to play is how cheesy and corny the story is. If you are a fan of B-movies then you’re in for a treat with the most over the top voice acting that will remind you of watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

You play as Michael Wilson, the 47th President of the United States that just suffered a coup by his Vice President Richard Hawk. Your mission as the President is to take your mech, known as Metal Wolf, to take back the United States by liberating the nation from sea to shining sea and there is no better way to liberate the United States than by blowing up everyone and everything trying to stop you.

The gameplay of Metal Wolf Chaos is a mission based third person shooter. Each stage you will have a main objective that you will need to complete usually consisting of destroying buildings or other mechs. In each stage you’ll have the option to fulfill side objectives by liberating prisoners or finding energy pods which will result in unlocking new songs and make Metal Wolf more durable.

While you won’t be able to design the parts of Metal Wolf, like Armored Core, you’ll be able to spend your resources to research and build a wide variety of weapons to customize how you want to liberate the nation. Handguns, Machine Guns, Rocket Launchers, Missile launchers and more is at your disposal as you get to bring a maximum of eight weapons into a mission. While you can only use two at a time, you’re able to swap through your weapons on the fly. However, swapping between weapons is cumbersome. There is no quick select to access any weapons. You press the swap weapons button and then you are left scrolling through a list of all the weapons you brought into the mission. When you’re in the middle of a fire fight, having to switch weapons on the fly can result in blowing up prisoners as you fumble picking the wrong weapons.

In terms of difficulty, Metal Wolf Chaos XD is overall straight forward and simple. Some missions will take a bit of trial and error deciding which weapons are the best to use and what objectives or enemies you should focus on first. However, where Metal Wolf Chaos XD difficulty ramps up to an unfair degree is the final boss. Beating the final boss was an exercise in pain that the only way I was able to beat the final boss was being as cheesy as the voice acting to win.

Metal Wolf Chaos XD is a corny, cheesy and simple game to enjoy. The game is self-contained and can be beaten in an afternoon. If you wanted to try out one of From Software’s strangest mech games then you should try out Metal Wolf Chaos XD.

If you would like to see my playthrough, the VODs are available on Twitch.