ZENONIAâ„¢ 2 is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Zenonia 2 Review

Around this time last year, Gamevil established their presence on the App Store with the first full-fledged action RPG for the iPhone: Zenonia. This set into motion a chain of similar types of games, such as Across Age and Inotia: A Wanderer of Luone. Now the mobile RPG maker returns with the sequel to the iPhone gaming milestone, and we are happy to report it sets the bar once again.

Zenonia 2 tells of four young adventurers who are chosen to embark on a dangerous mission to revive the tree of memories. You select one of these heroes to play as: a paladin, a melee fighter, a mage, and a sharpshooter. Each has a unique personality, style of play, and minor plot differences. They also have equipment sets exclusive to their class. For our review playthrough, we chose to play as Ecne, a chick who handles big guns.

One thing holding back the first Zenonia was its unbalanced difficulty, which hindered the flow of the game’s progression. In the sequel, Gamevil has worked out the kinks. There is no longer any need to stop completing quests to grind a few levels or rack up some money. Provided you don’t sneak past all the enemies in the game, you should always be ready for the road ahead without straying from the quest line.

The classic team of mechs and floating eyeballs.

That isn’t to say the game doesn’t still feel like a grind at times. Most of the quests still revolve around getting a certain number of an item or killing X number of enemies. Without a method to quickly move to areas you’ve been, you are left backtracking through the world quite often, slashing your way through enemies as you proceed.

Another drawback of the first Zenonia was the menu system, which was in no way optimized for the iPhone. Zenonia 2’s interface has been completely remodeled, offering a quick way to view your inventory, stats, and skill tree. You can also customize the control layout, with the ability to move buttons to anywhere you like, change the D-Pad size, and make the controls transparent. This allows people to find a layout that works for them.

Online Player-vs-Player multiplayer is well implemented, too. You can either team up with friends or take on a random user. Each round only lasts a few seconds, which is great for short sessions. The goal is to simply kill your opponent as fast as possible, but we kept coming back for more deathmatch action.

A closet that would make Carrie Bradshaw jealous.

Grammar issues remain a problem in Zenonia 2. While far fewer than in the original, we often found the dialogue written in broken English. There are also moments where the game breaks the fourth wall, although it’s not too distracting and generally adds to the comedic qualities of the game.

One of our favorite aspects is how armor and weapons change the character sprite’s appearance. This is purely cosmetic, but it makes it so it always feels fresh to use your character.

Most RPGs lack replay value, but Zenonia 2 nails it. At first you must play through the normal difficulty, but completing the game unlocks Hard and Hell modes. These include more loot and a secret bonus boss, plus give players an incentive to try new classes.

We can see ourselves coming back to Zenonia 2 for some time. It likely won’t get people who disliked the original to become fans, but otherwise this is a must-have title on your iPhone.

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Game of the Month, March 2010: Zenonia 2

March saw the release of several great games. Ragdoll Blaster 2 cannonballed us with its cool steampunk aesthetic, and Pool Pro Online 3 wowed us with its thoughtful design, awesome multiplayer, and classy presentation. But two titles stood above all others: Street Fighter IV and Zenonia 2. It was a close call, but Zenonia 2 takes the crown for March.

A sequel to the game that held the title of best RPG on the App Store for many months (a long time in App Store land), Zenonia 2 had a lot to live up to. By trumping its predecessor in every way that counts, it absolutely met our lofty expectations.

This action RPG gives you four heroes to choose from, each with a unique fighting style and several of their own side quests, and sends you on an epic journey that lasts for more hours than many other iPhone games combined. Throw in a Player vs. Player mode and unlockable difficulty levels, and you’ve got a winner. All that for a less-than-premium price is a knockout deal.

Runner up Street Fighter IV not only raises the bar for best controls in an iPhone fighting game, it dragon punches it into the air. Add to that the classic, intense fighting action we grew on and a host of dojo sessions, and you’ve got a game we can’t stop coming back to.

Congratulations to our winners this month! These are games players of all stripes can enjoy, so do yourself a favor and pick these up if you haven’t already.

Zenonia 2: The Lost Memories Hands-On Preview

Cellphone gamers in Korea have been playing it for months, beta testers are currently putting it through its paces on iPhone, and today we finally got our chance to try Zenonia 2 at GDC. We’re impressed that Zenonia 2 manages to improve on the original in nearly every meaningful way.

As we’ve reported before, Zenonia 2 has four times the number of playable characters as the original. Four different characters, each with their own attack style and storyline, will go on separate adventures and come together at key points in the story. We took turns playing as a blonde gunslinger named Ecne who carries a shotgun on her back and fights with two pistols, and a rhino-horned martial artist named Daza who pummels anything nearby with his fists.

The game starts with the evil creature from the first game, Ladon, imprisoned and chained. He struggles to break free and once again bring chaos to the land. Meanwhile, the four main characters find themselves imprisoned in a dungeon, and though they come from very different backgrounds, they attempt to escape together. The first mission of the game involves beating up guards and finding your way out of the dungeon.

Each character has his or her own storyline, so they all start differently and connect at certain points. There will be multiple save slots, so you can start a new character at any time without losing your progress. Also, there are three difficulty modes for added replay value: Normal, Hard, and Hell. Unique items are available only on the harder difficulty modes, and since wearable items change both the look of your character and their skill in the multiplayer arena, you’ll want to go looking for them.

Besides the multiple playable characters, we noticed that the menus are specially designed for the iPhone’s touchscreen. This means you can drag and drop items or abilities from your inventory to your character’s status menu, instead of using a cumbersome D-pad left over from the cellphone version. You can also customize the game controls, dragging them anywhere you like, which will come in handy when the iPad launches and players have to keep their hands to the outside edge of a bigger screen.

We’re told that progressing in Zenonia 2 will require less grinding, as there are more story missions throughout the game. While it may take some time to wade through the massive amounts of dialogue and get right into the hacking and slashing, we know many players enjoyed the original’s plotline and they’ll also appreciate the sequel’s deep, character-driven storylines.

Finally, we had a chance to test out the game’s asynchronous PvP multiplayer. When you enter an arena in the game world, you can challenge your friends’ characters or start a random quick match. Your opponent is AI-controlled, but has the same level, abilities, and appearance of their playable character. Matches are lightning-fast, and even if you get beaten, you’ll still gain gold and XP for the fight.

Multiple characters, touchscreen menus, less grinding, and online multiplayer are all definite improvements on the original. The game even seems to move a lot smoother, and it looks beautiful, with a number of colorfully varied environments. We’ve had our turn, and you’ll have yours soon when Zenonia 2 launches within the next few months.