Zone Of The Enders The 2nd Runner: M∀RS VR Review (PSVR)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
Zone of The Enders The 2nd Runner was one of the games I really rated back on the PlayStation 2. So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard it was coming to in a re-mastered form again for the PlayStation 4 with VR support. I have now had time with the PlayStation VR mode, so was all that excitement worth it?
The story follows Dingo Egret, who is a miner working on Callisto, on a mining trip he discovers an Orbital Frame called Jehuty. Soon you find out that BAHRAM also want this Orbital Frame and will happy take this by force, and is soon battling it out with the BAHRAM forces and Orbital Frame runner Ken Marinaris. During the battle you end up on the BAHRAM battleship and find yourself bound to Jehuty who is acting like a life support machine thanks to Ken, who you find out is working undercover. You then break out of the BAHRAM battleship with her help and head to Mars, where you are soon confronted by Leo who is Jehuty’s previous pilot… With the information given to you by him you decided to help him to destroy BAHRAM’s base Aumaan, the question is can you manage this?
The story does really take main stage, with the game containing a lot of cut scenes and conversations between the Runners and other characters along the way. Between this you will be taking part in combat and goals in order to progress with the story.
When it comes to the gameplay it plays out with you inside of Jehuty’s cockpit for the VR version. The games combat plays out in the style of wave based hack and slash, with a very important enemy lock-on system. Each enemy will have a best way to approach taking them out, and when you start to get different types on the screen it can take some concentration.
As well as the standard enemies you are going to have to take on other Orbital Runners throughout the story. These will give you some testing moments, and will take some patience to defeat – we all know Kojima loves a good boss fight. Up on defeating these bosses and other smaller standard bosses this will grant you a new ability for Jehuty, that will become important in taking out future enemies and bosses.
When taking a lot damage in these battles there is only two ways to repair Jehuty, this is by collecting Metatron which is dropped randomly during battles or placed around the world. The only other way is by levelling up Jehuty, but this is not a quick process, so like the Metatron drops this is not something you should depend on. The best way to survive is by learning how to best use Jehuty and how to take the enemies out quickly.
The final part of the gameplay is a scoring system for some parts of the play-through, which will see you ranked by a letter system. At the end of the game all these ratings will be averaged to give you an overall rating for that play-through of the game.
The way the VR version has been portrayed in the visual presentation is a bit of a weird one, for some reason what I would usually see as immersion breaking works well in this title – this is down the cut scenes which I will come to soon.
Firstly we will look at the combat sections where you are placed inside of Jehuty’s cockpit. For me this really is done well, with the detailing inside of the cockpit being outstanding, and it was really cool finally getting that full feeling of being an Orbital Runner. All the little parts included in the cockpits HUD make you feel totally immersed as Dingo controlling this Orbital Frame, I particularly liked the little 3D model that mirrors all of your moves. Also all the enemy types and the other Orbital Frames you take on are all well detailed, with the environments although repetitive in design for each area also doing the job of keeping you immersed in the world and combat.
Now back to the cut scenes, these are played out in two styles. The first one being anime which is played out in cinema mode within the headset – which for me is really the only they could have portrayed this side of the them. The other cut scenes and the main conversations play out in cinema mode also, where in VR you like to part of the standard cut scenes to keep that immersion, they have taken an interesting approach with this title. So even though you are taking in these cut scenes in cinema mode they have made them play in 3D, giving the cut scenes some depth and a slight pop-out effect in areas. If you have even watched a 3D bluray through the PlayStation VR HMD, it is similar to that, so where it’s not leaving you inside the game for these, it is adding some immersion with the use of depth.
When it comes to the audio the team have done a great job. With the game being very conversation based it was going to be essential the voice acting was on point – and I am glad to say it is. Outside of this all the combat noises are also done well, making the overall audio in the game great.
Given you are stuck in the cockpit of Jehuty with your life depending on it, for the immersion this is certainly made to be played seated. The game also only comes with support for the DualShock 4, but given all the actions and buttons needed for the combat, I really can not see how they would have implemented it with the Move controllers. When it comes to the movement in the battles and objective based missions that give you some exploration this is all done by smooth locomotion. However they are a number of comfort options to make it accessible to those with not so good VR legs, without causing and restrictions for people who don’t need them.
Playtime in this title really depends on what you want out of the game. If you are just looking to complete the main story you will be looking at around six and half hours. However with the aforementioned scoring system maybe you would like to go back and try beat that ranking. Also, throughout some of the parts in the game you can find Extra Missions, if you manage to find these you can prologue that playtime by one or two hours. Maybe you didn’t find them all and want to revisit a part of the game to find them, there really is a number of ways to increase the longevity of the title. If you like the game, you will have no issues in finding a reason to play it again.
Zone Of The Enders The 2nd Runner: M∀RS has brought back a fantastic entry into the franchise with full VR support, and has done a great job in making you feel like an Orbital Runner. As you expect from a Kojima game there is going to be some intense and frustrating boss battles. The team have taken an interesting approach with the cut scenes by making them like a 3D movie rather than placing you into the scene, but for some reason it works in this title. If you have had a previous love for the series or new to it The 2nd Runner is a great entry to introduce yourself to the franchise – and certainly in the glory of VR.
Also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and is also playable in non-VR
Buy on the PlayStation Store