After venturing into turn-based gameplay with Honkai Star Rail, HoYoverse is set to return to its stylish character action roots with its upcoming urban fantasy title, Zenless Zone Zero.
While we had an opportunity to play around 4 minutes of Zenless Zone Zero during our time at HoYo Fest 2023, the Tokyo Game Show 2023‘s demo allowed us to immerse ourselves in the game for a longer period, featuring not only combat segments but also story and city exploration.
Smokin’ Sexy Style
Since we have previously covered a preview of the stylish action combat system of Zenless Zone Zero, we will not go too in-depth into the details of it. To quickly summarize, Zenless Zone Zero takes inspiration from its predecessor, Honkai Impact 3rd, albeit sprinkled with some twists to freshen up the experience.
In Zenless Zone Zero, each character has normal attacks, a skill, and an ultimate ability. As compared to HoYoverse’s other action games, Zenless Zone Zero places more emphasis on chaining up combos and as such, skills do not have cooldowns and can be used repeatedly in between attacks.
However, there is more to the skills as they will become stronger and gain new effects as you generate energy through consecutive regular attacks, incentivizing tactical usage rather than mindlessly spamming.
Reflexes and timing are also a core part of Zenless Zone Zero’s combat, rewarding players for perfectly timed evades against enemy attacks and inducing a time slow for counter-attack opportunities.
Taking place in New Eridu, a futuristic metropolis, Zenless Zone Zero represents its story in two distinct forms and both differ greatly from how HoYoverse tells its narratives in Genshin Impact or Honkai Star Rail.
For most of the cutscenes, the game tells the story of its characters and world with colorful manga-style panels. Going from panel to panel, the game evokes a feeling as though you are reading a comic book with its beautifully illustrated manga art.
When it comes to conversations, the moments are mostly told through visual novel-style scenes where the 3D character models stand expressively on screen while dialogues appear at the bottom. Each conversation is also fully voiced and represents each character’s personality well, immersing players into the urban fantasy world of New Eridu.
The Streets of New Eridu
Speaking of New Eridu, the urban environment is explorable and offers plenty of side activities outside of story and combat. While not as massive as the open world of Genshin Impact, New Eridu is still packed with interesting details and content.
Given the limited demo time, there was not a lot of opportunity to interact with everything the city has to offer but at every corner, there is always something interesting to find such as the playable minigames in arcade cabinets.
While exploring, we got to walk around the urban city as the female main character, watching her expressive animations as she moved and noticing many minor details on her clothing. Character design is undoubtedly one of HoYoverse’s biggest strengths, from the Honkai series to Genshin Impact, and now Zenless Zone Zero will follow and introduce us to a memorable cast.
Like our impressions from before, Zenless Zone Zero is the next action mobile game that is worth being excited about.
Developers HoYoverse have always been good with action games as evident with their previous title, Honkai Impact 3rd, but Zenless Zone Zero is taking steps into a more combo-centric gameplay that stylish character combat fans love.
While combat will without a doubt be the focus of the game, Zenless Zone Zero will also cover other aspects and provide casual players with plenty of side activities, such as its colorful cast of characters and minigames.
Zenless Zone Zero will be launching on mobile devices, Windows PCs, and consoles. The official release date has yet to be announced.