Review: Zone of the Enders HD Collection (Xbox 360)
I haven’t played an Enders game since they were new back on the PlayStation 2. I loved them back then (after all… flying robots), and there was an immediate nostalgic thrill to popping the game into the console and reacquainting myself with the machines. I have become better at games since those days – I was challenged reasonably hard by the Enders games when I first played them, but I found them relatively straightforward this time.
That’s not to say the games are not engaging and interesting. There’s more than enough depth to these games that they get to be a rare breed of fast-action game where button mashing simply will not work. It amazes me that the control system, which is near perfect, and lovely pacing balance between action and down-time has not been ‘borrowed’ by more games since. I can only guess that is why Enders gets to be a classic game – it’s a formula that is apparently difficult to recreate.
So I can’t emphasise enough that Zone of the Enders two highly compelling titles and anyone with fond memories of either game will get a real thrill breaking open the package and reliving two of the finest titles from the last generation. It’s just as well that the games have that positive vibe of nostalgia, too, because they sure as heck look nostalgic.
When the action heats up none of this is especially noticeable, but there are moments when I sat back and thought to myself “this could have been released as a retro classics download without the ‘HD optimisation’ for a quarter of the price on XBLA/ PSN, and the experience would not be materially different.”
Simply upscaling PlayStation 2 games unfortunately does not modernise them, so the very concept of the HD collection remains a flawed one. No doubt we will see more of this with the Wii-to-Wii U games, too.
When that starts to happen I’ll say the same thing I’m saying about Zone of the Enders – these games are essential purchases and are “classics” for a really good reason. It’s a shame the port could not be better.
- Matt S
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