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Review: Zeno Clash II

Posted by on August 11th, 2013 | 3 Comments | Tags:

Zeno Clash 2 is an odd game. You play in the first-person, punching crazy fantastical animals, and venturing into interesting environments. It looked great, and sounded like an awesome follow-up to the first Zeno Clash, but Zeno Clash II has numerous glaring problems. Slow frame-rate and tedious gameplay ruin what could have been a great unique experience on the PSN.

Let’s start off with how you will be beating up all these animals. The game is based mainly on the top few buttons, with your fists being controlled by the R1/L1 Buttons, L2 handles sprinting, and R2 operates your special weapons. The controls are all fine, and I like the way the fists are on the shoulder buttons, it’s a pretty intuitive control scheme. However, the game has serious control input latency. Sometimes my attack wouldn’t go off as planned, and it would ruin a combo or leave me open to numerous attacks from my enemies. Also, sometimes the controls would go out on me altogether. None of my buttons would work, and I would get wailed on by my attackers. Control would come back after a random time, leaving me with almost no health after being swarmed with punches and other attacks. It got really aggravating, and was a serious problem for the game.

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Other then the punching, there is really not much else in the game you can do. There are special weapons such as guns and staffs, but they didn’t really break up the game, and it all felt the same still. Basically, the game turned into a monotonous slug-fest, which had me waiting for a change in the gameplay that never came. There is a co-op mode that may have made the game a bit more enjoyable, but the multiplayer community is already dead; I couldn’t find a match.

I think they tried to break up all the brawling with the story in the game, but it just got in the way. It is confusing and didn’t really have any point to it. You play as a guy named Ghat, who is abducted by a creepy animal he and all the other abducted children call “FatherMother”. You break it out of prison, and now FatherMother is facing trial. So, you go to recruit all of the other children to try and help FatherMother win its trial. And there is this Golem thing you want to take out too. None of it made sense at first, if you haven’t played the first game. The prologue tries to explain that to you, but it didn’t make a lick of sense. I just consulted the game’s Wikipedia page, and that sadly explained the story better to me than the game did. The story is too confusing, and ends up being worthless overall.

The game suffers from many technical difficulties, as well. First off, it has everybody’s favorite, pop-in textures. When landing in a new area, you’ll notice that everything is smooth and extremely blurry. The textures pop in a few seconds later. Next, the frame rate is severely lacking. When faced by a few enemies, and the conflict begins, you will notice everything slow down to a crawl. It gets so choppy, it’s almost unbearable. You can’t see anything that’s going on, and it’s just pretty ridiculous. Even while nothing is happening and you are just running, the game’s frame rate is pretty low. It just looks really bad, and with consoles this powerful and this late into the generation, games should not be having problems like this.

The graphics and sound, were both pretty bad as well. With the pop-in textures, you would think the game is loading up graphics that were at least half-decent, but sadly, they were not. It looked almost like the kind of stuff during the PS3’s launch. Everything was jaggy, and the hair on the characters was really all over the place, and just looked plain stupid. The little soundtrack there was wasn’t very good, so I just turned on the subtitles and listened to the latest PSNStores Podcast as I went through the levels. The voice-overs were no good either and they were always too loud or too quiet. All of this just made the game even worse.

Zeno Clash II is a great idea, plagued by many problems. Technical difficulties, a boring, confusing story, and being the same thing for hours make that cool first-person punching idea a really dull game. You don’t need to buy Zeno Clash II, as a matter of fact, stay away from it. But if you must see what it is for yourself there is a demo available, but I don’t know if even that is worth your time.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • Many, many technical difficulties.
  • Confusing and over complicated story.
  • Bad music and voice overs.

  • Stephen Thomas Marro

    I played the demo, and personally I was pretty disappointed myself…

    I love odd games and strange or unique concepts, but the game just wasn’t fun.

    One thing that I did love was the artistic direction of the characters and game world. The art was wonderfully odd, and I thought the characters/creatures were especially interesting to look at!

    Though the poor quality in actual graphics brought that aesthetic down a bit, the vision behind it was cool.

    That, in my opinion, would be the only redeeming factor for this game.

    • KosmoCrisis

      I can imagine a large percentage of people may have bought this solely because of the twisted cockeyed art direction. Can you imagine a 2.5D sidescroller brawler or fighting game with these characters? I could.

    • Stephen Thomas Marro

      That would be really awesome!

      And a lot harder to screw up too.