Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Fun to play and offers a great story and awesome visuals. The hardest thing you may have to decide is when to hit the save button and stop playing. The game draws you in quickly and holds your attention.
  2. 100
    Takes what was cool about the first installment and builds a gorgeous, challenging, and satisfying game around it. [Apr 2003, p.47]
  3. Using some of the finest visuals to grace a next-generation platform, and solid gameplay, the game proves that PlayStation 2 has more than a bit of fight left in it.
  4. The game is a whole lot faster than the previous game. There is so much going on at the screen at once, it might be hard for players to keep up, but that will never be the case.
  5. While short, grabs you for those few hours and won't let go. The game is such an improvement over the first installment that those who didn't like the first game will probably like this one.
  6. It plays mostly like the first, so if you liked it you’ll love this one.
  7. The game is very story-heavy and linear because of the heavy focus on story. Outside of that, though, the game is a vast improvement over the previous game.
  8. Murata and his team haven't just given us a great sequel, they've also created one of the PS2's best action games; one that comes within mere inches of achieving classic status. [May 2003, p.24]
  9. It’s everything that we could come to expect from a game; it has an excellent storyline, a cast of remarkable characters, intense gameplay melded with style, and a presentation so vivid and brilliantly executed that you’ll feel right at home.
  10. Everything the first game was not, and far more. Not only did the developers correct, expand and improve upon every aspect, they have authored one of the most utterly perfect synergies of gameplay, direction and storytelling that I've ever witnessed.
  11. No other game out there offers such a chaotic yet brilliantly visceral gaming experience. [May 2003, p.96]
  12. When it comes to the raw energy and unadulterated action, ZOE2 has few peers. [May 2003, p.72]
  13. 88
    Konami’s act of reconciliation for the original version. It makes up for all of the flaws of part one, and is even an improvement upon the few things that the original got right. The game is indeed difficult, but for the right reasons.
  14. 86
    A dazzling masterpiece of high tech production... The 2nd Runner isn't so much a videogame as it is an all-encompassing experience.
  15. Thanks to its excellent controls and sheer depth, the combat system will ultimately be one of the reasons this game will keep drawing you back in even after you complete the single-player campaign.
  16. If you can accept the fact that the playtime is shorter than the running time of a Kevin Costner film, The 2nd Runner offers an explosive and highly fevered gameplay experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. [May 2003, p.85]
  17. It might be a little light on content for the full price, but if you’re a fan of eye candy, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better source of pupil fodder on the PS2.
  18. Gameplay is instinctive, chaotic, and breathtaking. Unfortunately, the entire thing is still very linear, a bit too segmented, and repetitive. [May 2003, p.124]
  19. Improves upon the original through and through. We're happy they got it right.
  20. Combat is intuitive and intense, it looks absolutely gorgeous, and it never gets boring. [Apr 2003, p.55]
  21. There simply isn't enough of it. The game is packed to the gills with imagination, stunning design and addictive, hugely varied gameplay - but while it triumphs in quality, it lacks in terms of quantity.
  22. The strikingly impressive robo scrapper returns. Cracking stuff. [Jan 2007, p.106]
  23. Cel shading has never been as underplayed and better used in a PS2 game as in this one, and even the English dub and J-pop tunes fit like a glove with The 2nd Runner's anime-inspired universe.
  24. The closest we’ll get to interactive anime, this game couldn’t be more Japanese if it featured a ninja penguin schoolgirl getting bukkaked.
  25. 80
    The combination of stunning graphics and frenzied gameplay make Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner a must-have for anime RPG fans or, heck, anyone with a functioning pair of eyeballs.
  26. 77
    Most every mission is so unique that the core of the game fades into the background, instead replacing it with ever-changing objectives... Little stays constant enough to become an actual gameplay mechanic.
  27. An improvement in just about every way.
  28. It may not take long to beat, but there is a good amount of unlockable missions, time trials, and a fairly entertaining versus mode to be had once you do.
  29. 70
    The 2nd Runner is also easy as hell, and if you're willing to skip through the cut-scenes, you'll button-mash your way through the sucker within six hours.
  30. Most of its faults are forgiveable, and the excellent controls coupled with the intense action often make for an engrossing experience.
  31. ZOE2 really is a beautiful game. With its unique mixture of clean-cut robot models, cel-shaded smoke and manga FMV cut-scenes, the whole thing just oozes style in a way that most other games just can't approach. [Oct 2003, p.108]
  32. While visually that game is unmatched, there just isn't enough game here to warrant anything other than a rental.
  33. In action the game is undeniably pretty, as long as you can stomach the monstrous camera. But beyond ther anime-inspired visuals, the action turgidly limps along without ever really engaging or entertaining. [May 2003, p.94]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 21
  3. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Oct 3, 2010
    This game builds on the original but takes everything and the whole concept to the next level. Graphics, sound, gameplay are all extremely polished to the level that it makes it hard to believe this game is a PS2 game. Full Review »
  2. Jan 15, 2014
    Combat of this game is incredibly broken and the camera wonks out constantly. That being said its an amazing story despite its flaws. Difficulty is pretty insane so I recommend playing on easy. That or face game over screens every 10 minutes. Full Review »
  3. Dec 26, 2013
    Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is what the original Zone of the Enders should have been. Its excellent combat system, combined with blowing up everything in sight, makes for an enjoyable gameplay experience. The game also looks excellent and the soundtrack is amazing. The story is interesting and entertaining. The only downside is that this is a short game. Full Review »