Zenless Zone Zero (ZZZ) has recently been a hot topic in the gacha gaming community, and with the recent CBT2, it's time to go into a comprehensive review of what this game has to offer.
Here are valuable insights into its gameplay, combat mechanics, strengths, weaknesses, potential improvements, and the storyline.
Come and join us on this journey as we explore the world of ZZZ!
In-Depth Review: Zenless Zone Zero CBT2 - A Detailed Analysis
The Story and Character Selection
You'll be prompted to select your main character (MC) from two options: Bell or Wise.
This choice, while not heavily impacting the story, determines the MC you'll control throughout the game.
Cutscenes and Visual Storytelling
ZZZ employs a mix of cutscenes, manga-like elements, and visual novel-style storytelling.
All of these elements are fully voiced, immersing players in the game's world and characters.
Minor Story Spoilers
The prologue may contain minor story spoilers, so players should be prepared for some plot revelations.
These spoilers are typically related to the initial narrative setup and character introductions.
Introduction to Lore
The prologue provides with an initial glimpse of the game's lore and world-building.
It introduces the concept of Hollows, supernatural disasters that have devastated civilizations.
Players take on the role of an MC, a character with unique abilities and characteristics.
The prologue sets the stage for the MC's involvement in the unfolding events.
Conflict and Mysteries
The prologue hints at conflicts between various factions within the game world, including city administrations, gangs, and fanatics.
It also introduces mysteries surrounding the MC's identity and the concept of missing original Phaethon.
The prologue is not just about storytelling; it also includes action sequences and gameplay elements to engage players from the beginning.
While the prologue serves as a narrative and gameplay tutorial, it may initially set a somewhat slow-paced expectation for players.
However, it's essential to note that the game's pace and complexity evolve as you progress.
Sixth Street and Daily Activities
The 6th Street is a central location in ZZZ where players can access various shops, activities, and interact with key characters.
It serves as a hub for several in-game systems and mechanics.
Here's a closer look at what you can find on the 6th Street:
Shops and Services
- Video Tape Shop: This shop serves as your in-game home and allows you to read newspapers and obtain daily lottery tickets for rewards.
- Noodle Stand: You can buy noodles here, which serve as buff food for your characters.
- Coffee Shop: Purchase various types of coffee that offer different benefits.
- Arcade Shop: Play arcade games like Snake Duel and engage in matchmaking and ranking systems.
- 1-for-1 Store: Offers daily upgrade materials to buy with Dennies, the in-game currency.
- VR Station: This is where you can design your own setup, choose enemies to face, and earn rewards. It's a well-designed farming stage.
- Videotape Store: Provides Dennies over time, but its exact mechanics may require further exploration.
- Newspapers: Read newspapers to stay informed about the game's lore and daily events.
- Daily Lottery: Receive a daily lottery ticket that can reward you with Dennies or film, the premium currency.
- Interactions: You can interact with various NPCs on the 6th Street, potentially unlocking quests, missions, or dialogues that contribute to the game's storytelling.
Upgrade and Crafting
- Remodeling Shop: Improve and level up your Bang Boos, which are non-controllable characters that accompany you and provide stat boosts.
- W Engine Store: Craft W engines, which are the game's weapons.
- Music Store: Spend currency to pull for discs, which are the game's relics or artifacts.
- Resonium: Acquire resonium, which are blessings that can trigger fusions and provide various benefits.
- Leveling Up: Progress your characters and team to face more challenging content.
- Story Progression: Access various story missions, side missions, and the Hollow Zero, an endgame mode.
The Role of W Engines & Discs
- W-Engines are the equivalent of weapons in ZZZ, and each character can equip one W-Engine.
- These engines come in various types, offering unique effects and stat bonuses. Examples of W-Engine types include swords, guns, and more.
- Obtaining W-Engines is typically done through gacha pulls or other in-game methods.
- Dismantling unused or lower-tier W-Engines produce currency that can be used to craft specific W-Engines.
- Crafting allows players to target the exact W-Engine they desire, helping customize their characters for specific roles or playstyles.
- Upgrading and leveling up W-Engines is essential to maximize their effectiveness in combat.
- Each character's W-Engine can significantly impact their playstyle, as it determines their basic attack animations and behavior.
- Discs are similar to relics or artifacts in other gacha games like Honkai Star Rail or Genshin Impact, and serve as the second equipment type.
- Unlike W-Engines, characters can equip up to six Discs simultaneously, providing numerous opportunities for customization.
- Discs offer stat bonuses and additional effects that can significantly influence a character's performance.
- They come in various sets, and equipping multiple discs from the same set can unlock set bonuses.
- Each Disc has primary stats (e.g., Attack, Defense) and secondary stats (e.g., Critical Rate, HP%).
- Secondary stats can be upgraded through the enhancement system to improve a character's overall capabilities.
- Discs can be obtained through gacha pulls, gameplay rewards, or by progressing through the game's story and events.
- The randomness of secondary stat rolls on Discs can lead to diverse builds for the same character.
Combat and Character Attributes
- Fire: Fire-based attacks are strong against ice enemies but weak against electric enemies.
- Ice: Ice-based attacks are strong against electric enemies but weak against fire enemies.
- Electric: Electric-based attacks are strong against fire enemies but weak against ice enemies.
- Physical: Physical attacks are neutral and do not have strengths or weaknesses against specific attributes.
- Ether: Ether attacks are also neutral and do not have attribute strengths or weaknesses.
- Slash: Slash-type characters have melee combat styles and excel at close-range combat. They often use swords or similar weapons.
- Strike: Strike-type characters focus on physical melee combat, using their fists or other close-quarters techniques.
- Pierce: Pierce-type characters specialize in ranged combat, using firearms, bows, or other ranged weapons.
- Basic Attack: Characters have basic attack animations, and performing basic attacks generates energy for special attacks.
- Special Attack: Special attacks are more powerful than basic attacks and can be enhanced into EX Special attacks when enough energy is accumulated.
- Ultimate Attack (Al): Accumulating enough decibel (combat resource) allows characters to unleash their Ultimate Attack, dealing significant damage.
- Dodge: Dodging at the right time grants a Perfect Counterattack, providing a window for additional damage.
- Switch: Switching to another character at the right time triggers a Perfect Assist, allowing for coordinated attacks and damage mitigation.
- Sub Attack: Some characters have sub attacks that modify their basic attack patterns when specific buttons are pressed at certain times.
- Perfect Counterattack: Timing dodges correctly allows for a Perfect Counterattack, dealing extra damage while avoiding enemy attacks.
- Perfect Assist: Switching characters at the right time triggers Perfect Assist, enabling coordinated attacks and enhancing overall team performance.
- Chain Attacks: Hitting enemies with heavy attacks while they are dazed can trigger Chain Attacks, which are quick-time events (QTEs) dealing substantial damage.
- Decibel (dB): Decibel serves as a shared resource for using Ultimate Attacks (Al). Managing dB efficiently is crucial to maximize damage output.
- Attribute Anomalies: Hitting enemies repeatedly with the same attribute can apply status effects such as burn (fire), freeze (ice), assault, or armor break (physical).
- Elemental Synergy: Building teams with characters of supporting attributes can exploit enemy weaknesses, increasing damage potential.
- Equipment Impact: Equipping the right W-Engines and Discs can significantly affect a character's combat capabilities, altering their playstyle and strengths.
- Hollow Gameplay: Combat in the Hollows features additional challenges and objectives, requiring strategic planning and adaptability.
Overview of Hollow Gameplay
Hollow gameplay is a key component of Zenless Zone Zero, providing players with a roguelike adventure set within the mysterious Hollows.
In this mode, players explore distorted dimensions filled with puzzles, enemies, and treasures.
Here are the core aspects of Hollow gameplay:
Entering the Hollow
To enter the Hollow, you'll start with only one character, and you'll slowly unlock others as you progress.
The Hollow is where you'll acquire resonium, which are blessings that offer various benefits during your journey.
TV Board Exploration
The Hollow gameplay involves navigating a TV board, which is a grid-based map. Moving from one TV to another is the primary method of exploration.
Each step you take on the board increases your pressure. Managing pressure is crucial, as accumulating too much can lead to debuffs.
Combat and Puzzles
While exploring the TV board, you'll encounter enemies, puzzles, and special reward stages.
Enemies can vary in difficulty, and you'll need to defeat them to progress.
Puzzles may require problem-solving skills, adding a strategic element to the gameplay.
Special reward stages offer valuable rewards for successful completion.
Pressure is a central gameplay mechanic in Hollow. It accumulates as you move on the TV board.
If your pressure reaches 100, you'll receive a debuff that can affect your characters and gameplay.
Managing pressure becomes increasingly important as you go deeper into the Hollow.
Resonium and Fusions
Resonium is a resource you'll collect in the Hollow. It can be used to trigger fusions, combining multiple resonium into one powerful blessing.
Fusions enhance your character's abilities and provide advantages during your journey.
Before entering the Hollow, you'll be prompted to set up your team.
The game provides a preset team at the recommended level, but you can also choose your own characters.
Team composition and strategy play a significant role in Hollow success.
Hollow Zero is an advanced version of the Hollow gameplay, offering more significant challenges and rewards.
It serves as a high-level endgame mode for players seeking even greater challenges.
The Ups and Downs in Zenless Zone Zero
Engaging Combat System
ZZZ features a dynamic and engaging combat system with five distinct attributes (Fire, Ice, Electric, Physical, and Ether) that encourage players to strategize and exploit enemy weaknesses.
The three fighting types (Slash, Strike, and Pierce) add variety to character playstyles, providing different preferences and tactics.
Players can choose characters that suit their preferred combat approach.
The energy system, including basic attacks, special attacks, and Ultimate Attacks (Al), adds depth to combat.
Players must manage their resources effectively to unleash powerful abilities at the right moments.
Perfect Counterattacks and Assists
The Perfect Counterattack and Perfect Assist mechanics reward precise timing and coordination, enhancing the combat experience and encouraging player skill development.
Story and Lore
ZZZ introduces players to a rich narrative, combining cutscenes, manga-like elements, and visual novel-style storytelling.
The fully voiced dialogue immerses players in the game world.
Exploration and Puzzles
The game offers exploration elements and puzzles, particularly in the Hollows, providing variety beyond combat.
These segments add depth to the gameplay and break the monotony.
Customization and Equipment
The equipment system, including W-Engines and Discs, allows for character customization, enabling players to fine-tune their characters' abilities and roles in the team.
The VR gameplay feature, where players can design their setups and face customized challenges, offers a unique and enjoyable way to farm resources and experiment with team compositions.
Various in-game shops, such as the videotape store, music store, and arcade, offer additional activities and rewards, enhancing the overall game experience.
The inclusion of daily commissions and rewarding players with film for completing them encourages daily engagement and progression.
The game's initial pacing is slow, and it takes several hours to unlock meaningful content.
This slow start may discourage some players, as it doesn't showcase the game's full potential early on.
High Stamina Costs
The game's stamina system can feel limited, forcing players to choose between farming materials and progressing through the story.
Managing stamina becomes crucial, and the high costs can be frustrating.
TV Jump Expectations
The early TV Jump segments may set the wrong expectations for the Hollow gameplay, which is more engaging and complex than the initial impression.
Some players may lose interest before reaching this exciting part of the game.
In the early game, enemies may not feel distinct, and combat can seem repetitive.
Bosses often have more health but lack unique mechanics, making battles feel similar regardless of the opponent.
ZZZ requires more daily time commitment compared to other gacha games like Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail.
This could be a turn-off for casual players.
The game relies heavily on reactive inputs, making it less relaxing than some other gacha games.
Players who prefer a more chill gaming experience may find it less appealing.
Grind for Secondary Stats
The randomization of secondary main stats on Discs can lead to a frustrating grind to acquire optimal equipment for characters.
While the early game is relatively straightforward, ZZZ becomes significantly more challenging as players progress.
Some may find the difficulty level to be a barrier.
Zenless Zone Zero (ZZZ) showcases immense potential but comes with some initial obstacles.
The slow start and high stamina costs may put off some players, but beneath these challenges lies a game with engaging combat, a captivating story, and diverse daily activities.
With improvements in pacing and better guidance for newcomers, ZZZ could truly shine upon its full release.