Zenless Zone Zero Review New Eridu Minute

Zenless Zone Zero Review – New Eridu Minute

I’m sure every single fan that followed the development and drip-feed marketing campaigns leading up to the release of HoYoverse’s Zenless Zone Zero can agree that the experience was a true exercise in patience. Now that the game has been out for a week, and I’ve poured more time and energy into it than I care to admit, I can safely say the wait was well worth it – launching with a surprisingly beefy amount of content, to boot.

Set in the post-apocalyptic metropolis of New Eridu, Zenless Zone Zero centres around the activities of Belle and Wise, the siblings (and VHS rental store owners) collectively known as the legendary Proxy, Phaethon. Proxies are individuals who operate behind the scenes in aiding those who have business to conduct within Hollows – gigantic dome-shaped sites of unusual spatial phenomena that spring up around the city and surrounding regions at random, home to strange creatures known as Ethereals as well as the incredibly valuable resource, Ether.

In classic HoYoverse fashion, new players will have the opportunity to select which member of the brother and sister duo they’d prefer to permanently control throughout their journey, with some story sections allowing for a brief switch over to the other sibling to advance the plot. While I’m not going to delve into any plot developments here in detail, the currently available story chapters present a strong foundation for future character and universe growth, with plenty more sure to come – including introducing the player to the immensely likeable city residents, lore and character lineup.

Fulfilling your role as a Proxy and providing remote assistance to those venturing into the Hollows is visually represented through a digital display featuring a series of TV screens (accessed through Belle and Wise’s backroom computer terminal) where jumping from one screen to another serves as movement within the area. While the majority of screens are blank, exclusively meant for movement, a good chunk of TVs will initiate various effects on the party (up to three selectable members), begin events, or change the map in some way upon landing on them.

Activating a button to open a locked door, healing party members, dishing out Gear Coins (a currency only obtainable and usable within this mode), or propelling you into combat are just a few examples. There’s a handy menu section that chronicles every type of encountered event for quick reference if you’re ever unsure as to what that flashing red screen coming up might do to you.

Stepping into combat encounters with Ethereals or nefarious Hollow Raiders for the first time, you might be tempted to file the fight mechanics under the “button mashing” category. However, if you take the time to properly understand the various attack types and techniques listed on every character’s skill screen, you’ll quickly see there’s a lot more nuance at work here than you might expect. Attacking enemies increases their Daze meter, fully stunning them when filled. Going in for a heavier attack on said enemy at this point will trigger a Chain Attack, allowing you to swap from one party member to the next – each inflicting a huge amount of damage in the process.

Combining basic attacks, reactive strikes after perfect dodges, as well as the other attack types just mentioned, increases the Decibel number on the screen (shared by all party members). Once you hit 3000 Decibels, a devastating Ultimate move can be unleashed. When all these elements are utilised effectively, combat becomes an immensely satisfying and chaotic affair – not to mention deliciously addictive. It’s the kind of mayhem that can be occasionally visually overwhelming, yet you never feel as if you ever totally lose your grip on what exactly is going on within all those flashing lights and frenetic combos.

Instead of being presented as an open world experience, New Eridu is broken up into several areas varying in size, separated by loading screens. From the cozy, laid-back atmosphere of Sixth Street, to the hustle and bustle of the city found within Lumina Square, every explorable zone is absolutely packed with tiny details, personality, a fitting piece of great (and relaxing) background music and the game’s trademark vibrant art direction drawing upon both modern and retro elements.

As you complete commissions or grind for character upgrade materials, the time of day progresses – offering even more variety in NPC placement and visual flair. Of course, this also means certain tasks can only be accomplished at specific points within this 24-hour cycle.

For those curious, the standard gacha banners you’ve come to expect from HoYoverse games are very much present in Zenless Zone Zero, with some slight twists. Permanent and time-sensitive banners are still a thing, as is the “weapon” banner – now taking the form of W-Engines, an item equipped to characters that enhances combat statistics (augmented with items known as drive discs, further improving stat boosts and offering bonuses for equipping multiple of the same type) and effectively replace traditional weapon formats like swords and guns – although the characters obviously still use these in battle. Lastly, we have the Bangboo banner.

Bangboo are adorable robots that are used for multiple purposes by the denizens of New Eridu on a daily basis, whether it be aiding in construction projects or running convenience stores. In this case, you’ll be pulling for combat-oriented Bangboo, each with their own unique aesthetic and set of skills to take advantage of during fights. Interestingly, this is the only banner you cannot directly spend real money on, instead requiring Boopons (not Polychrome, like the other banners) – a form of currency obtainable from multiple actions throughout the game.

Although this kind of minor frustration isn’t necessarily anything new when it comes to gacha games, the amount of time between major gameplay feature unlocks and explanations can be quite lengthy. Minor spelling and grammatical errors, cut-off text in a few Hollows event descriptions, some instances of flickering lighting, spoken dialogue not matching on-screen subtitles, and frame rate inconsistencies (especially in the denser Lumina Square area) are also present – although these issues will likely be fixed to some extent over time via patches.

Levelling up party members and their associated abilities or skills also requires the expected expenditure of materials earned through various grindable activities, like conducting VR battle runs at the Hollow Investigative Association building. Again, if you’re familiar with these kinds of games, this should come as no surprise whatsoever. It goes without saying that some may find the process a tad tedious, however.

If you are even remotely interested by what Zenless Zone Zero has to offer, I highly recommend checking it out – doubly so if you’ve enjoyed any prior HoYoverse title. The game is positively stuffed to the brim with content, including plenty of side commissions, additional Hollow trials, collectibles and character interactions I purposefully have not mentioned here (for the sake of length and spoilers). With its atmospheric setting, fantastic cast of characters, addictive combat, and engrossing storyline, Zenless Zone Zero has a seriously bright future, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here.

Zenless Zone Zero is available to download digitally on PS5, PC and mobile. Reviewed by Ryan Pretorius on PS5.

Zenless Zone Zero


Zenless Zone Zero is absolutely stacked with fun content and despite some technical issues, HoYoverse fans and newcomers are going to be in for a treat.


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