A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - M∀RS is a high-definition remake of the original 2003 mech-based action title for the PlayStation 4 and Windows-based PCs. The game features optional virtual reality (VR) support for the PSVR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. Characters in the story have their own motivations for their actions, none of which are very positive. In fact, revenge is the central theme of the game. There's lots of violence, including multiple instances of blood shown on-screen, but there's nothing explicitly graphic or gory. Players will hear screams of people they fail to rescue, and cutscenes show people being crushed and shot, with lots of blood shown. The game features relatively simple controls, but the in-game camera can be disorienting, especially if playing in VR mode. Finally, billboards in some areas show bikini-clad models in suggestive poses.
What's it about?
ZONE OF THE ENDERS: THE 2ND RUNNER - M∀RS is a remake of Konami's 2003 sequel to its Zone of the Enders sci-fi action series. This sequel has been updated and enhanced with new high-definition visuals and surround sound, while giving players their first chance to sit in the cockpit of their own Orbital Frame with the addition of optional full VR support. The sequel takes place two years after the events of the original Zone of the Enders. Players take on the role of Dingo Egret, a former soldier left for dead and living in a self-imposed exile. Dingo's pulled into the ongoing interplanetary conflict after stumbling across Jehuty, the powerful Orbital Frame mech from the first game. Attacked and left for dead (again), Dingo's broken body is connected to Jehuty, turning the mech into his personal heavily armed life-support system. This comes with a price, as Dingo is forced to fight in Jehuty or risk having his lifeline cut. What follows is a tale of revenge and betrayal and a battle for both Dingo's life and the fate of the entire solar system.
Is it any good?
While this fast-paced action remake brings a classic action franchise back to life, its technical issues wreck the gameplay and stand out like a sore thumb. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - M∀RS brings back a series that's been gone for a decade and a half. Gamers first met Dingo Egret and followed his adventure in the legendary Orbital Frame Jehuty on the PlayStation 2. Now, Konami is reintroducing the mech-based sci-fi battle over humanity's destiny in space. This time around, though, players can feel the action right from the cockpit, thanks to brand-new full VR headset support. But after 15 years, can a fresh look and new feature breathe life back into the long dormant franchise? Or is it just trying to hide its flaws behind a shiny coat of paint and a distracting gimmick? While the game sports new HD visuals, it can't help but show its age, particularly when updated elements like the mechs are shown against bland background textures. It just feels out of place.
Basic controls in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - M∀RS aren't the main issue. In fact, it's surprisingly easy to control the Orbital Frame. Attacks automatically switch between ranged and melee as needed, and quick dodges or tactical maneuvers are relatively fluid. The problem comes from the game's camera, which frequently can't keep up with the action on-screen. It's difficult enough to keep your bearings in standard gameplay, but in full VR mode, the problem is amplified tenfold to the point of occasional nausea. There are also some strange quirks with the targeting system, with some enemies never getting marked -- or worse, locking on to non-enemy targets. It's not a game breaker, but it's an additional frustration. Despite these issues, there's still some fun to be had in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - M∀RS, and it's interesting to finally get a first-person view of the action in VR. Just make sure you've got an airsick bag handy when the action picks up speed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - M∀RS affected by the science fiction setting with battles between robots? Would the impact be intensified if the violence shown in cutscenes against people was the action constantly shown throughout the gameplay?
How has virtual reality technology evolved and what do you think the future holds for it? What are some of the benefits and problems that come with VR tech?
- Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Windows
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment
- Release date: September 4, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
- Last updated: June 21, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.