Review: Zone of the Enders HD Collection (PS3)
Title: Zone of the Enders HD Collection
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (8.2 GB)
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Developer: High Voltage Software
ESRB Rating: M
Zone of the Enders HD Collection is also available on Xbox 360.
The PlayStation 3 review build was used for this review.
I’m not going to dwell much on the games themselves, or the story in each, since you should already be very familiar with both. Essentially, you’re in an “Orbital Frame” named ‘Jehuty’ which is a Mecha that can fly. There’s a war going on, and you’ll need to use Jehuty (and sometimes ‘Anubis’) to fight your battles, in a way that even now is incredibly unique. Unlike other Mech-based games, these battles are all performed above the surface of whatever planet you’re on, or in the cold of space. A big difference with this series is the tight integration with the ongoing story, which is told via cutsecenes and voiceovers throughout the action.
I was one of those people back in the day that didn’t know much about the game, but instead bought it to get the demo for MGS2. The pleasing surprise was a game that I instantly fell in love with, and along with the sequel still hold spots in my list of favorite games. The style is definitely attributed to Anime, but it’s not over-the-top enough to push me away. The stories, well, these are born of the convoluted minds of Hideo Kojima and company, so strap-in.
The gameplay isn’t what we’re concerned about in this update though, since anyone that’s thinking about getting this HD Collection has probably played the originals many times. I can assure you though, that all of the gameplay is here, and it’s still as great as when these games were first released. If you haven’t played them for a while, it’ll probably take you a couple of minutes to get used to the controls again.
Here’s the bread and butter of the collection, and it’s mostly a win. There are still some remnants of these originally being on the PS2, but that doesn’t mean that they still don’t look great (they looked great on the PS2.) There’s a brand new opening cinematic anime, and it’s pretty fantastic. Other existing cinematics though do show some age. They’ve all been upconverted to HD, but they do show some age, something that I don’t think would be as evident if it weren’t for that new opening movie.
Graphics within the games look great overall, but they’re not without some flaws. The framerate does have a tendency to stutter occasionally (and seemingly randomly except for heavy battles), and even though the visuals have been upgraded, you’ll still see flaws relating to the original releases. So, it’s kind-of a mixed bag, but even though not “perfect,” I personally still love what they’ve done. Maybe it’s the nostalgia factor, which I can usually get past, but the simple fact is that these are still great games, and that they’re still better than what they were on the PS2. Nothing has been “broken” in this process, the visuals just weren’t perfected. Maybe it’s the fact that we as gamers have been spoiled with other HD Collections in the past couple of years, and that our expectations have been set by what we’ve gotten lately.
The other disappointment is that numerous reports are surfacing that confirm that the 360 version suffers from much less of these flaws, so once again High Voltage does a mediocre job on the PS3. It’s especially disappointing too because the games are and always have been associated with the PlayStation platform. It’s yet even more proof that only gamers care about these kind of things, and that publishers just want it on the shelves.
Don’t get me wrong though, if you only have a PlayStation 3, there’s not enough wrong to make the collection not worth getting.
The audio for both games has always been spectacular, and that’s still the case today. The voice acting again is decidedly rooted in Anime, so for the English speakers out there, we’ll get what we should expect. In other words, some good, some really bad. The soundtrack though is still amazingly great, and now that it supports full surround you’ll shake the very foundation of your home with the volume cranked.
Gameplay audio is excellent as well. Personally, I used a set of gaming headphones for my sessions, and it was fantastic in every aspect.
This game is single player only.
So, $40 for 2 amazing games redone in HD and completely remastered audio. Sure, the framerate isn’t perfect (especially on the PS3), but like I said, it’s still much better than what we’ve had before. To me, this is a good example of nostalgia done right. It might not be “perfect” but it is still one of the better HD re-releases that I’ve played. Yes, you are justified to complain about the differences between the platforms, especially because these games have always been “ours”. It’s a shame that this, at times, seems more like “let’s release this as fan-service and not care about the details, because they’ll still buy it.” Luckily though, even with the flaws, this is an excellent buy for fans of the series.