Zenless Zone Zero Preview – Exciting, Stylish, and Polished

    Diving deep into New Eridu for the first time.

    The quality of HoYoverse’s new game releases have improved tremendously since the release of Genshin Impact in 2020, and Zenless Zone Zero may be the most promising game yet. The Zenless Zone Zero second closed beta test highlights a surprising and addicting action RPG that proves HoYoverse is able to innovate and try new ideas. Zenless Zone Zero addresses some of the gripes I’ve had with prior HoYoverse titles, such as long-winded dialogue and a lack of polish for NPCs. 

    The story of Zenless Zone Zero begins in New Eridu with the Cunning Hares, an odd-job group that’s determined to steal a strongbox with the Red Fang Gang. There’s plenty of over-the-top, comedic twists that I come to expect in HoYoverse games, but Zenless Zone Zero makes the entire premise more interesting than initially expected. The Cunning Hares are quickly drawn in the Hollow, an affected space of reality that causes humans to slowly degrade and turn into strange monsters knowns as Ethereals. The most resilient and gifted individuals may roam this space as Agents, who are often guided by an outlaw known as a Proxy.

    Becoming a Proxy in Zenless Zone Zero

    After being introduced to the Cunning Hares, the player character(s) known as Phaethon make their presence known. Although Phaethon is a singular alias, it actually refers to two protagonists, Belle and Wise. The brother and sister duo operate a Proxy business out of a video store in New Eridu, and they make their services available to the Cunning Hares after they get caught in an explosion that sends them in the Hollow.

    From their PC, the Proxy hacks and navigates their way through TV screens in order to progress missions, acting as a navigator and information broker. The man-made, mascot-like Bangboo creatures are able to assist Agents in the battlefield, too. After some combat tutorials and levels, the Cunning Hares and Proxy’s Bangboo tumble upon the strongbox. However, a strong Ethereal is guards the strongbox with endless vigor, so the group ultimately decides to leave it behind before they become corrupted in the Hollow.

    Zenless Zone Zero really opens up as a game after escaping the Hollow for the first time with the Cunning Hares. Nicole, Billy, and Anby are a great cast of supporting mainstay characters with very likable traits, and the protagonist builds personal relationships with them and newer Agents. Unlike Genshin Impact, Zenless Zone Zero makes each character feel continuously relevant, so I really appreciate the sense of camaraderie with this particular cast. It’s also worth emphasizing that the Proxy is fully voiced, which absolutely increasing my enjoyment of this HoYoverse protagonist by a mile. 

    Vivid Action With Twists

    Similarly to Honkai Impact 3rd, Zenless Zone Zero is a character-driven action game with a diverse roster. Each playable Agent has their unique stats, Talents, and accessory slots, so HoYoverse is clearly sticking to its tried-and-true character progression system. Each character may be leveled, enhanced, and ascended with materials that players get from numerous sources in the game such as story missions, VR training, and in-game events. Story and side missions have letter ratings and optional objectives, so reaching that S rank and completing every objective will yield the most rewards.  

    Thus far, I find Zenless Zone Zero’s combat system to be the most fun out of all HoYoverse games due to the flashy Assist system. Assists allow players to deal a finishing blow against stunned enemies while dealing damage against others. Setting up Assists and Burst attacks makes Zenless Zone Zero feel like a satisfying beat ’em up or fighting game in a way. 

    The second closed beta test gives players access to virtually all of the gameplay mechanics and features found in the full game, but it’s worth noting that there will be tweaks and adjustments before launch. Although Zenless Zone Zero’s gameplay is very similar to Honkai Impact 3rd’s, it offers a unique flair that sets the game apart. I look forward to seeing what the full game brings over time, since newer characters will introduce their own quirks. 

    Day and Night in New Eridu

    New Eridu acts as a hub for the Proxy, allowing players to accept requests, participate in new events, talk to NPCs, eat meals, and so much more outside of combat. There’s even an arcade where the Proxy can play mini games against characters like Billy, and the video store is a business that the Proxy can run to make some useful profit.

    Many of the activities and shops are locked behind progression, so players will need to play through a few hours of the Prologue to unlock these features. Although the Prologue has many tutorials, these tutorials fortunately don’t overstay their welcome or intrude on the main story. Despite the limits in the second closed beta test, I personally enjoy exploring New Eridu due to its urban aesthetic, unique NPCs, and the incredible soundtrack.

    Zenless Zone Zero has a day and night cycle that will advance whenever the Proxy decided to take on a commission, spend time with another character, or complete a quest. However, there are instances where the day and night cycle will not progress due to a required story event. It’s worth noting that the protagonist will not be able to start missions when its late at night, too.

    Zenless Zone Zero is HoYoverse’s Most Promising Game Yet

    I’m thoroughly impressed by what HoYoverse brought in the Zenless Zone Zero second closed beta test, since its content honestly rivals that of full games nowadays. Although the gameplay is very similar to Honkai Impact 3rd, the aesthetic and contrasting premise sets Zenless Zone Zero apart from the rest of the HoYoverse games. The characters and story of Zenless Zone Zero have been great so far, as some of the gripes I had with long-winded dialogue from Genshin Impact does not exist here.

    Zenless Zone Zero Special Participation Trailer

    Of course, I plan on sharing a more in-depth review of the Zenless Zone Zero 1.0 release, which is currently scheduled for 2024. HoYoverse has been on a major roll with each 1.0 release, with Honkai: Star Rail being an incredible experience from the get-go. It’s clear that HoYoverse is raising its quality and standards with each new release, so I’m invested in seeing what Zenless Zone Zero brings at launch and beyond.

    Zenless Zone Zero launches in 2024 across Android, iOS, and PC, and pre-registration is live at the game’s official website.

    Soul Kiwami
    Soul Kiwami
    Raul Ochoa, a.k.a. Soul Kiwami, is the Managing Editor of Final Weapon and a Games Writer at Game Rant with four years of writing and editing experience. Raul is passionate about the Japanese gaming industry, and he's a huge fan of Nintendo Switch, PC hardware, JRPGs, and fighting games. business email: [email protected] | Muck Rack:

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