Category: Action RPG
Requirements: iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
File Size: 31.2MB
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Age Rating: 9+ for infrequent/intense cartoon or fantasy violence
I don’t want to play this game on the iPhone, I really don’t. It has no business being there. It’s too big, both in presentation and scope. I said the same of its predecessor—Zenonia—but it’s doubly true here. This game needs to be on the iPad, and it needs to be there yesterday.
I therefore have to be honest with you…I haven’t completed Zenonia 2. I’m going to, but not until it either gets an iPad optimized release or until I’m 100% convinced that it never will. Regardless, read on with the knowledge that I didn’t reach the ending.
As mentioned above, Zenonia 2: The Lost Memories is the sequel to the wildly popular and genre-defining (on the iPhone, anyway) Zenonia. Both games are top-down RPG adventures in the grand tradition of The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (game reviewers are contractually obligated to compare all RPGs to Zelda), and both therefore feature the same basic style of gameplay. You use the tiny virtual d-pad (I continue to hate virtual d-pads, but what are you gonna do?) for movement, controlling one of four tweenaged warriors. I’ll never understand the appeal of controlling 12-year-olds with swords in action adventure games, but I’ll call it a necessary evil of the gaming world and move on.
The developers at least understood that the iPhone control system is annoying, so they compensated with features such as auto-facing enemies and easily accesible skills. The buttons still require you to cover portions of the screen with your thumbs, but considering the only other option is to shrink the gameplay area, Gamevil went with the lesser or two evils.
Two other frustrating aspects of Zenonia—the hunger system and the overly complicated status screen—return, but both have been revised to be more manageable. If you plan to play both games, be sure to play The Lost Memories first; you won’t want to deal with Zenonia after you get used to the streamlined interface of Zenonia 2. As for the story, however, it makes no difference in what order you play them; the characters and story are largely unrelated. Just be prepared for a lot of exposition along the way.
You have to be willing to accept these elements because the game is massive. 152 maps. 98 quests (story and side). 4 classes that don’t affect the story much, but do restrict a few of the sidequests. A PvP (player vs. player) arena. And throughout all of this, you’ve got a lot of level grinding. A lot. This is partly why I haven’t finished the game, because grinding tends to bore me if I don’t have a compelling reason to move on. The story in Zenonia 2 is mildly entertaining, but not enough to deal with all this grinding more than once. If an iPad version is released, I want to wait and deal with it there.
In addition, I’m curious to see if my level of enthusiasm for Zenonia 2 stems mainly from the fact that it’s on the iPhone. Its retro gameplay and graphics are very impressive on the tiny iPhone screen (especially the spell effects), but would I like them as much if it was WiiWare? How would they look on the larger iPad? Yes, I can play it there with doubled pixels, but that’s hardly fair. Even optimized, would the whole look and feel of Zenonia 2 just feel dated in a larger format?
None of this is factoring into my iPhone review, of course. If you’re an RPG fan, you absolutely should buy Zenonia 2: The Lost Memories. If you were turned off by the grinding, hunger system and clunky menus of the first, those issues have been adequately addressed here. Well, not the grinding and hunger system, but the streamlined interface makes them seem less tedious.
Once you get past the disbelief that a game this robust is on the iPhone, Zenonia 2 remains good enough to consume your gaming hours; only the hope of a larger version will be enough for you to put it aside.
Buy Zenonia 2