Ernst And Jung: Zeno Clash 2

By Adam Smith on April 25th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

Zeno Clash 2 will most likely contain many remarkable sights but the latest video, showing six minutes of the game’s opening section, isn’t particularly potent. There’s mention of larger areas, more freedom of movement and side quests, but it looks more like the beginning of a Let’s Play series than a trailer. Maybe that makes it the polar opposite of a live action trailer, in which case I should be cheering it on. One conversation aside, it still seems to be a game about punching bizarre creatures in the snout/beak/nose/orifice/warface/palette-mouth/eye-trunk/dogbody/cataract/flesh-beard/scrotum-lid/chin-plume. Only five days until release.

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31 Comments »

  1. OwMyKnee says:

    Doesn’t quite hit the spot for me.

  2. Feferuco says:

    When playing the first the entire time I kept wishing I could get past the invisible/worm wall. Most games I want to be open world aren’t, meanwhile most open world games have meh worlds. Even if it doesn’t turn out that fine, just getting a chance to explore their world is great.

    • Misnomer says:

      There is a reason for this after all. If the same level of care and design that is in a linear game went into every piece of an open world you would end up with an open world game costing $100 minimum, probably closer to $180. The way you avoid this is by reusing art or getting flawed algorithms to generate it for you.

      Otherwise you have a beautiful huge game that no one will play because it costs too much. This is the reasoning that led to the creation of MMOs and then the subscription model ate the design.

      So really you just need to take a step back from the uncanny valley and appreciate these games for what they are an not what you want them to be.

      I had no desire to explore the original Zeno Clash because I saw it as a heroic epic. My character was on a path set forward by the gods or whatever and he was playing through each chapter of his Illiad. His story did not include a chapter where he muddled about in some mountains for a while looking around . . . so I got on with it.

  3. Rincewind says:

    I wanted to like the original, I really did. I just couldn’t get into it for some reason. I loved the style, I loved the whimsy, but the gameplay just wasn’t there for me.

  4. Oculardissonance says:

    Cell shading or better lighting please. Kinda funny Retro-Mode immediately killed the player’s depth perception

  5. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I loved the first game. The punching was solid, the art was wild, the characters were entertainingly weird.

    I’m not feeling this one—it’s the look of it, specifically the lighting. It feels all flat and empty, like it’s sucking the vibrancy out of the world.

    Not that that’ll stop me buying it; I’ll just silently mourn.

    • yuri999 says:

      I hope using some SweetFX might solve or atleast alleviate the issue a bit :-(

    • tomeoftom says:

      Yeah, same here. I feel kinda guilty as I bought this as soon as I heard it existed without looking at any material first, purely on how much I loved Zeno Clash. Rock of Ages was also really great. It looks like they needed more money to bring this one up to the same standard of presentation. Maybe it’s just a terrible video, though.

  6. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    I adored the first one – the combat felt brilliant to me (WASD movement’s the key feature rather than rock-paper-scissors attack/block matching) and the atmosphere, world and narration all managed to be obtuse and strange while being coherent and believable, and also rather charming and gentle with it (in and amongst all the beak-punching). And, yes, it’s linear – it’s a Disney World ride of a game, a succession of peculiar little environments to wander through, whilst enjoying a rather excellent combat system.

    The video’s ticking the same boxes just as well for me – hugely excited for this!

    Oh, and “it looks more like the beginning of a Let’s Play series than a trailer.” Given it’s titled “Zeno Clash 2: Gameplay demo” rather than “Zeno Clash 2: Trailer”, doesn’t that rather make sense?

  7. Jorum says:

    The lighting does look a little odd. Maybe it looks better in the flesh (so to speak).
    Then again I also kind of like it – the apparent flattening gives it a hint of 80′s fantasy art from Fighting Fantasy and such.

    Anyway, regardless of that. If they have same wonderful art direction and oddness as the first whatever is in there will be well worth experiencing.

    Fairly sure I may end up booking work off for Tuesday or Wednesday :)

  8. Bhazor says:

    Looks great. Glad the combats been improved but another visit to the world is enough reason for me to get it.

    But god damn it, why do I have to play as the blandest characters in the whole damn game.

  9. Carlos Bordeu says:

    Adam – this video just shows the ‘tip of the iceberg’. The intention wasn’t to show a lot of unique content, but rather to show the new features of the game, many of which were major complaints with the first game.

    Example: Many people asked for larger areas and possibilities to explore. The video shows how the game no longer is just a succession of combat arenas stitched together by cinematics.

    I’m obviously biased being a developer, but I think the game is far more superior than the first and that it has serious improvements on all fronts.

    About the lighting: It might be that the video compression isn’t too good, but there’s also the fact that the game has dynamic lighting instead of static lighting for everything. Believe me – the night day cycle makes for some very nice looking vistas.

    Ok… enough self-promotion… you guys will be able to check it out on Tuesday :)

    • Lusketrollet says:

      Carlos Bordeu, I loved the crap out of Zeno Clash 1. The gameplay was interesting enough, but the main attraction was the world and the creatures that inhabited it. It almost physically hurt that I wasn’t allowed to go off in the beaten path and explore all the achingly beautiful madness off in the distance. When I heard that Zeno Clash 2 was being developed, with an increased emphasis on exploration, I was overjoyed.

      PLEASE don’t fail to deliver.

      Please.

      Please.

      • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

        Hey, a dev! Well done, dev – Zeno Clash was superb fun.

        Re: Luske and ‘openness’… I always valued Zeno Clash’s linearity as it allowed for such finely produced environments. More openness is, in principle, great – but only so long as it doesn’t come at the expense of the world’s detail and charm. If ACE have the resources to make bigger worlds in the same detail this time ’round then I’m sure it’ll be superb.

      • Carlos Bordeu says:

        Luske: There’s definitely more options to explore – but anyone coming into the game with expectations of a huge open world will be disappointed. We’ve repeated numerous times that exploration was a big part of what we wanted to improve compared to the first, but for people not to expect anything too huge. There’s so much you can do with a team of 15 people on a tight schedule. (The game is something like a small scale Zelda).

        About the quality of visuals and variety of environments: In order to fill out the new larger environments we eventually had to create around 100 different characters/creatures/things. And also this time around near the end you get to explore some of the best environments in the game, unlike the first where the final levels were just re-skinned versions of the first levels.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      My heart breaks for you when I see these philistines calling for ‘better lighting’ when they mean baked lighting.

      • Dominic White says:

        Nah, it’s something about the way light interacts with the characters, rather than the environments. They don’t really have the same kind of definition around their edges as in the original. Faces look a lot flatter because of it.

        Maybe some extra shader works needs to happen? A specular layer?

  10. wodin says:

    I never really got the first games art style so couldn’t get immersed into the wrold but I do remember it looking amazing for the time and getting alot of attention..yet this looks dated.

  11. lhzr says:

    >>>Ernst And Jung
    couple of puns rushing through my brain, could choose ether of them, but i’ll hash to abstain, couldn’t deal with any acidic responses right now.

  12. DXN says:

    The original is one of my favourite games and I wish, I wish, I wish that more studios had such a unique vision. This looks like the same thing, but with everything improved. Brilliant!

  13. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I think it looks brilliant

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