First, let me preface this review by saying that Zeno Clash is just about the best thing ever. I was going to write a rave review about it, but I foolishly decided to play Zeno Clash 2 first. The problems start with the tutorial/prelude. I might not have played the tutorial if it hadn't also been labelled prelude. As it was, punching Metamoq in the face with some voiceover recap of the plot of the previous Zeno Clash in the background sounded like just the thing, which should indicate how good the first Zeno Clash was. The first thing I noticed was the lack of filters. The first Zeno Clash had a hazy effect, which made distant objects blur and added to the atmosphere, and which I assumed was an attribute of Zenozoik. Not so, apparently, since that effect is gone in this game. Instead there is music added to the voiceover. Music was used sparingly in the first Zeno Clash, so the overall effect was that of excessive melodrama. Oh well, if a bit overdone, the plot is still awesome, and punching Metamoq in the face till it's over should be simple, right? After all, I defeated the last game, and know how this goes.
Not so much. It turns out that there's combos and stuff now. The 'lock on' key has been switched, which is a minor annoyance, but more annoying is that it's a bit difficult to connect with some of the attacks. I find out that the tutorial is glitched when I manage to check a box without fulfilling the requirements, and just stand there for a while, since the game won't move forward until I satisfy the /actual/ requirements. It's here that I start to worry that the game might be overcome by feature creep.
A worry which is not abated when I find that, despite beating the previous game, I am unable to do the '5-part launch combo' required in the tutorial, even more ironic since it comes after Metamoq's quote: "If you are satisfied and do what you feel you must do, no matter what that is, then you have reached perfection." Apprehensive, I finally quit from the endless nightmare of facing a downcast Metamoq and start the real game, hopeful that the tutorial was an ill-conceived quick add-on.
But of course, the problems continue into the real game. The combat system is now so complex that I have no idea what I'm doing in the first fight, and the AI manages to trip over itself without any clever guidance from me. In the first game, if you plan it right, you can have heavy enemies smash through lighter ones to get to you, or have lighter ones glare at you, unable to attack through the enemy interposed between you. You can even attack enemies from behind if they're distracted by picking up weapons, something which I had to exploit to defeat one scene.
But the AI in the first game is actually pretty good. It hides from your shooting range when it thinks it can, and does stuff like sneak up behind you. I didn't see any of that here.
What I did see wasn't much better. Somehow, combat looks jittery, and the lighting isn't the same. I saw a new creature design, with even more nudity, and knocked it out before stumbling across a most egregious example of feature creep. Remember how the 'lock on' key was remapped? It's now the key for 'exit area'.
To understand how terrible this is, you have to understand how the first Zeno Clash worked. You would sometimes walk places without fighting, and sometimes you would fight. Another example of Metamoq's wisdom.
Oh well, I exit, and the story goes on... and on. One of the great strengths of the first Zeno Clash was how much it did with very little dialogue. This is not the case here, where it takes three sentences for your sister to tell you that you're helping her break Father-Mother out of jail.
And then... nothing. Oh wait, a tower that says 'Level Up!'. Feature creep indeed! Let's go there, then get stuck before realizing that we have no skill points yet, pull out a map, which utterly butchers the charming minimalism of the one in the first Zeno Clash, then forget how to put it away, leaving us stuck, until we remember it was 'M', and run around aimlessly, and... we can talk to a person? Wait a sec, did we just get a quest?
When did this become an RPG, anyway?
Not the first Zeno Clash, not a good RPG. (-10)/10