Zeno Clash 2 is the follow up to Zeno Clash, developed by ACE Team for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, being released in 2013. The game runs using the Unreal 3 Engine, unlike the previous game which used Valve's Source engine.
The game plays basically the same as the first; no new features have really been added, apart from the secondary weapons. The whole game focuses on hand to hand combat with a light amount of gun play. Whilst the gameplay is very much the same, it's still has an element of fun to it, which is hard to find in melee fighting games. You are able to block and dodge enemy attacks, each time you do this you gain a little bit of a boost to your special attack bar, which allows you to perform a pretty mean looking double punch right to the opponents face. The element of gun play is very basic; again like the first there is something odd with the way you control your character when equipping the gun, you can't seem to holster it and go back to punching, you just have to whack your opponents with it instead - I found that a bit strange.
Graphically, the game is a bit of an improvment over the first, but not really four years’ worth of improvement. Whether that is testament as to how good Valve's source engine is or whether it should class as a negative point towards Zeno Clash 2, you decide. The game still does look nice though. Just the right amount of lens flare being used in moments where it should. There are some really beautiful environments to feast your eyes on, and some really interesting enemies and NPCs to check out too.
For the plot, it is absolutely necessary that you have finished the first game for you to understand what is happening; it begins right where the last game left off, but this time your companion is Rimat, who was actually an opponent in the last game. The story is set around freeing Fathermother, a character again out of the first game. The story is OK, it does seem a little dull at times and feels like a little bit more action is needed to make the characters you meet along the way to have a bit more character to them, as they all seem very generic and bland.
Whilst we are on the topic of generic and bland, that brings me on nicely to the game's audio. The voice acting in this game made me physically cringe with how bad it is. Every single one of the characters sounds so awfully awkward whenever a line of text is spoken. The game certainly took a step back compared to the first here. I have to admit though, the sound effects when punching enemies are really satisfying, nothing like a hearing a good old squelch as you smash a walking shrimp in the face.
Zeno Clash 2 can be played on a few levels of difficulty; if you managed to complete the first game you should be at least playing on Medium, the easy mode will be a walk in the park. There is a nicely put together tutorial which can be done before you jump into the story, however it is completely optional, so much that it's not included in the main game, and you have to select it from the main menu. You are able to select which allies you bring into a fight with you, some are more powerful than others, and so once you work out who is the best, you won't have any problems beating many of the enemies you'll face.
I actually felt as if this was almost a bit like an open world style game, with various different zones to explore, you have a couple of options of where to go next after completing objectives. Each of the zones has its own theme and style to it and each of them has plenty of things to see in. Throughout the game you will encounter giant sea shells, these acts as the games "treasure chest" system, and in them you'll find health pots, special ability bonuses and many more different items and weapons. You'll also come across butterflies and item boxes which also add bonuses onto your character; as well as just plain talent upgrades, which let you choose how you spend the points in the regular RPG style, HP, damage etc. etc.
I was a bit disappointed when I found that I completed the whole game in almost four hours. The only saving grace for that is that Zeno Clash 2 actually has a multiplayer mode in it, meaning you could play it through once on your own then team up with a buddy for a second play through; however I have finished it single player and don't really have any urge to play it through again. The game does have a few achievements this time. And they actually work unlike the first games.
Zeno Clash 2 has a wide variety of graphically options as well as an FOV option (which you will need to set to wide or else you'll get motion sickness) which is nice to see in a PC game. However I still encountered a couple of crashes; which I couldn't for the life of me work out why it was happening. It just seemed to happen at random times; other than the crashes I was able to play the game fine. I was running it at full graphics on 4k resolution and had a steady 60 FPS all the time. Keyboard and mouse are the only viable option here; but controller is supported too.
To sum up, Zeno Clash 2 fell a little bit short of my expectations compared to the first game. The shortness of the title really doesn't help, but if you feel like you would want to connect up with a friend to play this through, you may get more mileage out of it at full price, however I cannot really recommend what is a four hour game for £10, 99, when the first game is half the price and has more than double the amount of content in.