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Zeno Clash II

Score: 71%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Acquire
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Online)
Genre: Fighting/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

While I had not played Zeno Clash, I was quite happy to try my hand at Zeno Clash II when given the chance. Zeno Clash II is a brawler RPG, meaning that it has elements of a classic RPG where you will wander around talking to people and figuring out what to do, but on the way, you will be fighting a lot, mainly with your fists in First Person View.

The world of Zeno Clash II is quite beautiful, but also very gritty. The colors are dark and dirty, befitting the overall nature of the game. This world is full of various beasts that are all so very different from each other that you will begin to wonder what mind came up with all of them. The characters are all various forms of humanoid creations. A lot of them are related in that they are all children of Father-Mother. They all look so different, like theyíre not even related at all. Of course, it was discovered that Father-Mother is actually solely male and had been stealing babies and raising them as his own. Anyway, this explains why the characters all look so different. The buildings and nature are also quite well done. Things in this world simply look dirty and run-down, much like the people that live there.

The background music fits quite well. Something about it makes me think of the music from Baulderís Gate years ago, but itís definitely not the same. It just has a similar feel. In addition, all of the characters will speak in English, which is just a nice bonus. I quite liked hearing all the different voices for these creations. Even the random NPCs that you run into (or quite possibly pick a fight with) will speak out loud instead of just giving you text to read.


Gameplay:

When you start out Zeno Clash II, I highly recommend that you spend the time going through the tutorial so that you know what youíre doing and so that you can get familiar with the controls. There are quite a few tutorials, but youíll get through them pretty quickly. After youíre done with that, go on to the real game. While you are playing the Tutorial, youíll also get a Prologue that explains what is going on at this point in the story. I really appreciated the prologue since I did not play the first Zeno Clash to know what was going on.

As I mentioned before, Father-Motherís dark secret was revealed. When that happened, the majority of the children abandoned Father-Mother and Father-Mother was sent to a prison. You are playing as Ghat, the main character of Zeno Clash. Of course, this time around, you can play the game using multi-player. If you choose to do so, the second player in will take over the role of Rimat. If you choose to play alone, Rimat will simply be computer-controlled. Rimat is Ghatís sister. Since she and Ghat are both still loyal to Father-Mother, they decide to work together rather than beating the hell out of each other like they usually do. Actually, in the previous game, Ghat got in fights with the majority of his siblings, but Rimat wants them to be a family again. Ghat likes to get in fights with pretty much anyone. Youíll find that you will have to use your fists first and then maybe once youíve beaten someone, theyíll talk to you.

Zeno Clash II is divided into chapters, but youíll have to play them in order so thereís no skipping around just because you want to know whatís going to happen. Ghat and Rimat have a long way to go and several siblings to catch up with before they get to the end to bring down the final enemy, the Golem. Funny enough, the Golem is there to civilize the world and while that sounds like a great idea to most of us law-abiding citizens, Ghat and Rimat do not want that to happen. Theyíre going to fight their way through everyone to make sure the world stays like they remember it under Father-Motherís rule and to try and find some of their previous family.


Difficulty:

When you decide to start the Campaign in Zeno Clash II, you can choose to play Easy, Normal, or Hard. You can change this at any time, so feel free to start wherever you want. Personally, I chose Easy just so that I could get used to the controls and figure out what was going on. For me, one of the most difficult things in most games is trying to figure out where you are going. While I much prefer an inset map in the top to make it quite easy to find my way, Zeno Clash II at least gives you a large map that shows the major cities if you press (M). You also get an arrow that helps you figure out, at least somewhat, where you need to head to next.

Playing multiplayer will also significantly affect your difficulty. Even if you donít have a friend to play with, you can still choose to join a random game or leave yours open so a random player can join you. Having that second player can greatly help you, provided they play. Unfortunately, you canít control the player on the other end, but I personally never had a problem with the other player not doing anything.


Game Mechanics:

There are two different ways you can play Zeno Clash II, with the keyboard or a controller. At first, I tried playing with the keyboard/ mouse combination. To play this way, you will use the keyboard keys to move with (A), (S), (W), and (D) and the mouse will function as your camera view changer. The mouse buttons in various combinations, sometimes with the keyboard, will allow you to punch, kick, block and pretty much anything else you need to do to fight. As someone who is used to console gaming, this just never felt very natural to me. I never could get the counter-attack timed right and I was continually trying to fix my camera angle. Luckily, you can choose to use a controller instead, if you have one. I found that was much easier on me as the buttons are much more like the console world.

One thing that I have found that I donít like is that you do not have the ability to save at any point you want. The game will autosave at checkpoints, but if you just load it up for something quick, discover something like a moth to give to the really creepy painter thing, and then need to leave before you can play longer, then youíll have to go find that moth (or whatever you found) over again. This makes it so that itís not easy to play just a few minutes and save your work.

Zeno Clash II is a good mixture of an RPG and a true brawler. If youíre looking for a combination of the two, a game where you have to fight continually and can fight pretty much anyone you meet, but that still has a rich and complex plot to follow, you might just enjoy Zeno Clash II. I canít say that it was addictive, but it will hold your attention or at least let you get your aggressions out.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: XP/Vista/Windows 7, CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 4800+, RAM: 2 GB, Graphics: ATI 3850HD 512 MB or NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB, Hard Drive: 4 GB free
 

Test System:



OS: Windows 8, CPU: Intel Core i7-3630QM 2.4 GHz, RAM: 16 GB, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M, Hard Drive: 400 GB free

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