It’s been months, almost a year, since we last heard any information about Zenless Zone Zero, HoYoverse’s latest ARPG. While images from the first closed beta circulated on the Internet back in the day, we didn’t have much information about how the game actually played or what made it unique. However, that changes today as we enter the second closed beta period of Zenless Zone Zero, and I must say, there’s a lot to cover here.
Zenless Zone Zero Story: A Post-Apocalyptic Scenario
In Zenless Zone Zero, civilization as we know it has been destroyed by a supernatural disaster known as the Hollows. These mysterious distortions are inhabited by monsters called the Ethereal, and anyone who ventures into the Hollows risks suffering from Ether corruption. You take on the roles of two protagonists who work as Proxies in the city of New Eridu, the sole surviving location in the aftermath of the apocalypse. Using the Hollow Deep Dive (HDD) system, they can explore the Hollows and assist their clients.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Zenless Zone Zero’s combat system is flashy and flows smoothly, but it can become repetitive at the beginning, especially when you don’t have as many Agents yet.[/perfectpullquote]
The main story includes two types of cutscenes. First, there are 2D cinematics that unfold like an animated comic book, with dialogue boxes appearing as you tap the button to advance. These can seamlessly transition to 3D conversations between the characters, which is so smooth that you almost don’t notice the change. The voice acting is also top-notch, especially in English.
Zenless Zone Zero Story: Exploring New Eridu and the Hollow
Initially, overworld exploration is limited to New Eridu, but there is a Travel option that suggests more locations will become available as you progress. Here, you can accept commissions from clients, play games at the arcade, or even spend time with certain characters to get to know them better. After accepting requests from clients, you embark on missions in the Hollows. Inside, you’ll encounter a board-like pathway of TVs that you must navigate and interact with.
These nodes offer a range of challenges, from puzzles to battle encounters where you must defeat all enemies to proceed. The combat system is flashy and flows smoothly, and the concept of a board game adds a charming element, though it can feel repetitive initially, especially when you have fewer Agents. The solutions to most initial puzzles also seem quite linear, lacking alternative approaches. Additionally, aside from the Bosses you encounter, all regular enemies follow the same attack patterns and are generally easy to defeat, which is disappointing given that combat is one of the main selling points.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The lack of clear elemental indicators for characters in Zenless Zone Zero is a noticeable drawback, unlike the user-friendly system in Genshin Impact.[/perfectpullquote]
Each Agent in Zenless Zone Zero has elemental attacks that play a role in combat, with certain enemies vulnerable to specific types. Unfortunately, the party select screen and character attacks do not make this clear at a glance. For example, unlike Genshin Impact, there are no icons near the character names to indicate their element. Another minor issue in the closed beta is related to translation. Occasionally, the text doesn’t fit inside the dialogue boxes, although it auto-scrolls slowly to mitigate this issue. I can see this being improved in future betas.
Zenless Zone Zero Story: Quality of Life Features Over Other Games
However, upgrading the Agents you obtain isn’t a chore; quite the opposite. Once you’ve collected enough resources and progressed in the main story, you unlock a feature called the VR Room. Here, you can create simulations of enemy waves. What’s great is that you can choose which enemies to fight, and each guarantees a specific material drop. This gives you total control over the resources you obtain, although loading more enemies in a simulation consumes more Energy each time. I found this feature to be excellent.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The VR Room feature in Zenless Zone Zero, where you can choose enemies to fight and guarantee specific material drops, is absolutely marvelous.[/perfectpullquote]
I’d also like to mention the Commission Log. After you’ve played any of the main story cutscenes, they are added to a shelf, allowing you to rewatch them at any time. This is a feature I’ve been hoping for in their previous games because, until now, you either had to create a new account or search for YouTube videos to rewatch impactful cutscenes or try watching them in a different language (which may only apply to me, but still).
Zenless Zone Zero Has a Lot of Potential
It’s only the second closed beta, yet I can confidently say that Zenless Zone Zero has already established its own identity as a unique title within the HoYoverse. From its aesthetic to its overall story, it’s making a mark. Of course, there is room for improvement; the combat system needs further refinement to become truly engaging, and some text overlay issues require fine-tuning. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to see the game’s development and the improvements that will be added in the next couple of months.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.