Regardless of your opinion about Hideo Kojima’s stories you can’t argue that the man doesn’t create memorable characters and unique gameplay systems. Zone of the Enders is no different. Leo Stenbeck, Jehuty and BAHRAM are just as memorable and well-developed now as they were when the ZoE games were released on the PlayStation 2.
Where Zone of the Enders really shines, where all action games need to shine to be successful, is the combat. You can play the entire game without caring about the story and still enjoy every combat encounter because the system is so well put together.
Melee encounters are tense and immediate while shooting encounters feel great as well. It’s not every game that can nail both close-range and long-range combat mechanics, but both feel good and I never found myself longing for one while taking part in the other. Regardless of how you’re fighting the controls are tight, the pace is fast, and the whole thing is great fun.
One thing that you’re getting here that residents of the US could not previously play without importing is the extra missions, additional difficulty levels and VR training that were exclusive to the Asian markets until this re-release. The second pot-sweetener Konami has included here is access to the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo. What they should have done is publish the demo to Xbox Live, give everybody access to it and rework the ZoE local multiplayer to work over the Internet. It’s fun locally, but being able to establish an online player base and play with others excited about the series would have been great.
As an HD collection, Zone of the Enders HD Collection also throws in a few new bells and whistles to encourage fans to pick up this disc instead of just playing their PS2 copies again. You’re, of course, getting a graphical upgrade, new opening scenes for both games, and new interstitial scenes as well.
As with all 360/PS3 games, Zone of Enders HD also features full achievement/trophy support. The whole thing really does feel like a modern game, and if it weren’t for the obvious repackaging presentation on the box, you could give this game to somebody that never played and probably fool them into thinking it was designed from the ground up for today’s consoles.
Pros: Previously unavailable content, new cutscenes, games are as fun now as they were on PS2
Cons: Lack of online multiplayer