Total Games Played
Played in 2023
Recently Played See More
Recently Reviewed See More
My OG Xbox refused to load past the third level, leaving my last moment of gameplay being a boss fight (in a Halo game).
At first, I thought this was a tragic loss, having to replay all of that content again and not being able to progress forward, but getting back to that point on the 360 made me realize that the former console was actually just trying to save me from further mental deterioration.
Please forgive me, my beloved brick...I didn't mean to doubt you.
Figured I could wrap up things for this one...so we're back. The mechanically-focused stuff is here: https://www.backloggd.com/u/Reyn/review/579119/
Really, one event describes everything about this game for me: Leo receives an SOS signal, a cry for help from the innocent citizens being caught in the middle of this renegade attack. In control of a super-powered robot, Leo may be capable of helping them, and this is definitely encouraged by his friend Celvice. The robot's AI, ADA, however, says to the contrary, that they can't risk extra combat given Leo's lack of experience, and as such, they should focus on the evacuation of Jehuty, their main mission.
Now, the choice is actually in the player's hand, and I want you to pretend that the game doesn't end with a Rank evaluation that factors your avoidance of these into account. Next, let's say you decline to go in to protect the civilians. You make the choice, and it's possible that you might regret it a little bit, the same way Leo might.
You later see that part of your main objective involves going back to the area in which this SOS signal originally came from. Since you're already aware that environmental destruction is a part of this game, and that areas actually stay in their same state even if you leave and come back, you're prepared to see the place in ruins, the aftermath of having to make the hard choice to focus on the more important task at hand.
You descend into the neighborhood...and...uhhhhh...all the houses and cars and light poles are still...perfectly intact. Well, that wasn't really much of an impact at all, was it.
Now, yes, it's possible that areas not having buildings already destroyed on your first arrival is an engine limitation, but that would only make the decision to go with this kind of level progression even stranger. If this dilemma is going to constantly appear, then it just feels odd that the most you'll get for passing them off is the equivalent of the game giving you a shrug.
This is the real issue at the heart of everything. I often ask myself if the thought of a game's peak potential is enough to redeem it for me, and I'd still say the answer is yes. The premise of Zone of the Enders, that of an inexperienced young boy forced into combat in a machine that could potentially cause more harm than good, is excellent. And the game CAN lean into this at points, the most prominent example ironically being the hidden Bad Ending, which deliberately taunts the player for using Jehuty's destructiveness too carelessly.
And yet...ultimately, the game doesn't usually commit to many of its goals. For the most part, it really can't. Budgetary and time restrictions can be possible explanations for this, but then you also have to wonder, if those were known issues during the creation process, would the game have been better if it was better made around those limitations?
I want to say yes, because as it stands, this one ultimately leaves me more frustrated than anything, because the blueprint of something fucking phenomenal is so clearly apparent here...but it just isn't realized...kinda stings.