And thus I demand, a sequel for Over Zenith / OZ : The Sword of Etheria!
Like I previously said, this can be just a gameplay sequel, not a story one. KONAMI intended it to be a one-off game, which is what we got but the idea of the gameplay and the gameplay themselves are never explored like that ever again in any KONAMI game…or some other game I know of, like that. It’s a shame to see it go like that. The again, Dissidia was a one-off thing until Nomura said “F*ck it, I wanna do more of dat shizz!” and 012 was developed…also because he and the other members wanted to have Kain and Tifa…’s boobs.
Never change Nomura and team, never change . 🙂 But that’s not exactly the point, the reason I decided to bring up D012 is because Nomura and team wanted better gameplay, an expanded roster and more mechanics to be put into the game but doing so would be just an unfullfilling expansion. So they put more scenarios in, fixed some story problems and released it. If we lived in a world where KONAMI didn’t go bonkers and bathed in MGS money then maybe something similar could have happened with a sequel to OZ. The game already had some great extra scenarios but they were quite short…see where I’m going with that?
Oh yeah, proper playable 20 scenario OZ ranger campaign BOY! Not the 2 extra stages we got. Hell, Dorothy’s adventure could be expanded more and have her be a character in other parts of the game as well. The story problem is the easiest to resolve, since KONAMI could simply add more sidestories and perhaps a bit more indepth prequel bits and the story issue is resolved, no need to change the main story at all.
Now the gameplay is where the juice is at. While the game’s concept is great, it kinda suffers from underbudgeting and like I said before KONAMI could do with a better action engine to wipe out the fundamental flaws Over Zenith has because of it. If KONAMI didn’t wish to dish out money like that, in my opinion, hiring SHADE and having them work in conjunction with the Castlevania and Suikoden people who worked on the game to help them program better and create the assets needed for the game engine it needed. By doing that we could have OZ run at the 60s constantly, not dropping FPS, not needing to drop the enemies AI to accomodate the vast areas + friendly AI + enemy count + player’s on screen. A great example of having a vicious AI on both the enemy and friendly sides, working properly in a very fast paced game was already achieved by God Eater Burst and that game was made on the PSP. Making the enemies just volleyballs is boring bu having it be the satisfying ending of an enemy after rooting them off the ground is something cool.
First things first, not being able to completely do solo runs on the game is kinda lame, or just have duet runs to mix it up is quite underwhelming but understandable at the time, now it would be a great way to do that and include something even better : actual new Over Zenith attacks. Just having rainbows shooting out the three characters butts and farting explosions just isn’t as great and lacks any sort of personality the Solo Zentihs and Dual Zenith attacks had, especially when almost all the Dual Zenith attacks between two characters were different and showcased both the characters trait in that attack. It was and still is a cool team based concept. Not only that but having the Dual Zenith attack now change depending on which character you choose would be quite an interesting touch now. Like, if you control Fiel and you choose to Dual Zenith with Juju, Fiel does a stinger attack but Juju’s wings are surrounding the sword and act as drills, while if you control Juju you’d do the Dual Zenith that already exists in the game, the one where Fiel inbues Juju’s wings with fire and they fly around etc.
Now, the controls are pretty good, no need to change, just expand the combo system. The first game is basically a combo with Devil May Cry’s lock-on commands. It’s not bad by any means but it’s limited considering even Castlevania had some sort of combo system in place, it’s not that difficult to program pause combos in the game, especially given how most characters in it have pretty long chain of attacks already(over 5 button presses). Why not? Hell, go a step further and make pause combos of pause combos, expand the combo movelist by making smart decisions in the assortment. Instantly, a big part of gameplay is improved in a monumental way.
Another thing that would be good is the ability to give the player the freedom of choice concering the Lexus of characters. In Over Zenith, the characters have these Lexi, that they can use to be clad in magical armours in times of crisis(mainly boss battles) and generally augment their abilities…where have I seen that before? In fact, where have I heard the whole OZ story before?
Nah, can’t be. 😉 Anyway, the point is, that using the Over Zenith gauge as a timer of sorts to use the armour during gameplay, sacrificing the ability to do team attacks in favour of brute strength would be excellent, give the player more options. Another point I’d like to make concerns the bosses more, the way the fights are contructed in the game are way too Suikoden-ish…while some Castlevania-like fights would be a bit more welcome or better yet, add more bosses that are like the new OZ trinity(Vitis, Juju and Callum) but with other humanoid bosses or team bosses. Doesn’t have to be the main story specifically. 😉
This really was a game that could benefit from a sequel like that, even in a different generation. It’s a shame that it was never considered, never thought about and wasn’t given much attention by KONAMI. The fans wanted a sequel of sorts to happen, especially the japanese…but I guess the seventh generation of consoles just didn’t want that. My only hope now is that if KONAMI ever embelishes the trademark, hopefully SHADE will buy it, perhaps get those members that made this game and don’t work for KONAMI anymore(not that hard, believe me) and make another one. And if this happens, I know it will still never reach it’s full potential, because the consoles we have now just won’t cut it.