From the moment you pop the disc in and the opening sequence begins, you know this is going to be something special - and when you look at its credentials, it's no surprise. Created by the producer of Metal Gear Solid and the mechanical designer of the original ‘Zone of the Enders', this game looks absolutely stunning. There is strong ‘Manga' theme running throughout, and the dramatic opening and cut-scenes combine to make this one of the most visually impressive games in recent history.

Set nearly 200 years in the future, you are the only hope for the stricken planets of Mars and Earth. You pilot the ‘Jehuty', the most powerful craft of its kind, and once you are cocooned within its humanoid Orbital Frame you are able to explore the 3-D battle space with wanton abandon…until you bump into some of your rivals of course.

With a myriad of weapons and moves at your disposal, the training mode is a welcome addition. You're led, by the hand, through a series of stages, each one bringing in a new aspect of your awesome firepower. If you can't be bothered to mess around in training, you can blast straight out into war against the BAHRAM army. Luckily your ever-helpful onboard computer ADA helps you along your way - she starts with subtle hints and after allowing you to bounce off the walls for 20 minutes, ADA begins to get a little more specific as to how to succeed until eventually she spits out “throw the pole at him!”, which you do and he dies: job done!

At times, the gameplay can seems a little confusing and erratic to the point of being random, but as you progress and your control of ‘Jehuty' improves, you really get drawn in to what is a fantastic, fast-paced and high-octane space-based adventure. As you blast, slash and batter your enemies, the fully interactive environments explode around you - and then you grab the bits that have exploded and beat your enemy with them! Definitely not one for the faint-hearted, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is every bit the game it should be.

Verdict

Visually stunning with compelling gameplay. A must for fans of ‘Manga' and those who've ever fancied themselves as a ‘robojock'.