While the PlayStation 3 lumbers ahead with a still unimpressive game library, owners may do good to look at the PlayStation 2 and search for any of a number of hidden gems the system possesses. One such gem would be Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. The title alludes that this is actually a sequel to another PlayStation 2 game. The original game revolved around the young boy who assumes the position of runner or pilot of a large mech known as Jehuty. In the second installment of the Zone of the Enders series, Jehuty is piloted by a different runner known as Dingo. Don’t let the silly name fool you; Dingo is an experienced and capable ‘runner.’
Zone of the Enders is a series which is based around Mech fighting, which for those who don’t know consists of gigantic (usually humanoid) machines used for warfare. Stalwarts of the genre are Armored Core and Mech Warrior; however Zone of the Enders distances itself from the pack with a cinematic flare and excellent game play that could only come from Kojima Productions. For those unfamiliar with Kojima, the name is responsible for the creation for one of the most critically successful series in the history of gaming: Metal Gear and subsequently, Metal Gear Solid.
Similar to the Metal Gear Solid series most of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner’s story plays out in brilliantly directed cut-scenes, which enhance the gaming experience also tend to add length to otherwise short games. More so than the Metal Gear Solid series the game play serves to override the cut scenes. Many a times in the Metal Gear series the gamer may have felt as if they were playing a role in a movie (which is rarely a bad thing).
Though released halfway through the PlayStation 2’s lifetime, The 2nd Runner still manages to look extremely impressive. From scores of enemies flying across the screen and dozens of lasers intersecting one another along with explosions of every sort, the game supplies several beautiful aesthetics.
Along the lines of the Metal Gear Solid series, Zone of the Enders provides an amazing, albeit short, experience. First time players probably won’t take more than eight hours to complete the game, but shouldn’t fret as the replay value is top notch. Throughout the course of the main story mode you’ll be able to collect extra missions which can be accessed from the main menu. There’s even a shooter available in the vein of RayStorm and Gradius.
Overall, those who missed out on Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner should seek it out immediately. Konami did little to disappoint with this title and should have been much more successful than it originally was. The game will probably go for no more than $30 wherever it is you find it, which is reasonable price for one of the hidden PlayStation 2 classics.