Zenless Zone Zero: A Promising Anime Action RPG
Zenless Zone Zero is everything I ever wanted in life. The upcoming action RPG from Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail developer Next Floor combines elements from Persona and Devil May Cry to create a style that’s simultaneously visually striking and, I’ll admit, extremely alluring.
The game’s roster of characters alone is enough to get any Anime fan excited, with characters like an adorable cat girl and a buff tiger man who, as the trailer helpfully points out, is a “sexy beast.”
I’ve long been a fan of games with anime aesthetics, from the Studio Trigger-produced Senran Kagura to the upcoming Last Spell. Games that let players live out the fantasy of being a powerful anime protagonist are often more than just fun experiences – they’re social spaces where players can gather with like-minded strangers and build relationships.
Zenless Zone Zero looks to capture this social element while also telling compelling stories with excellent characters. It also maintains the anime fan service that Next Floor is known for, and that’s part of what makes the game so appealing. I’ll admit that I’ve sworn off games like Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail due to their exploitative economies that rely on players’ worst impulses to encourage excessive spending, but I still wish games like Zenless Zone Zero didn’t have to be created with such a scheme in mind.
So far, the gameplay shown in the brief footage looks promising. Combos and equipment are being showcased, and the game seems to be aiming for a fast-paced combat system that involves controlling one character and summoning in an assist character from your party.
I’m also a fan of the anime game’s aesthetic, both in terms of the world itself and the characters. The fear, of course, is that Zenless Zone Zero will be a freemium experience that exploits players’ worst impulses by encouraging excessive spending to obtain desired characters. These types of games often rely on in-game economies that take advantage of vulnerable players who are willing to spend real money to obtain in-game goods.
I’m all for games with diverse, interesting characters, and the trailer for Zenless Zone Zero does a great job of selling that. But I’m even more excited about the world itself, which looks like a gorgeous hub world where players can explore and build relationships with the game’s characters. It reminds me a lot of the Persona series, which I’ve played extensively and love dearly.
But there’s a difference between games that are fun to play and games that are fun to spend money on, and the fear is that Zenless Zone Zero will lean into this difference a bit too hard. I’m all for games that want to tell compelling stories with great characters, but I’m not always a fan of the way they ask me to pay for that experience.
That said, I’m not going to let the game’s monetization scheme keep me from enjoying the game’s charms. I’m excited to jump in and get to know this colorful cast of characters, amorous anime animals included.
If you’re interested in what Zenless Zone Zero has to offer, be sure to read our Genshin Impact review to get a sense of what Next Floor games are like. We’ll also keep you updated on Zenless Zone Zero’s launch date, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to find out when the anime game arrives.