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8 Things You Need to Know about Zenless Zone Zero

Zenless Zone Zero is an upcoming urban action RPG developed by HoYoverse, the team behind Honkai: Star Rail and Genshin Impact. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, where “Hollows” are portals that allow monsters known as “Ethereal” to travel through. Players assume the role of a professional tasked with guiding people in their exploration of Hollows. As they progress through the story, they recruit new members to help them out in the fight against the Ethereal.

The game promises a thrilling gacha experience filled with exciting characters, a compelling storyline, and stunning visuals. Here are the things you need to know about Zenless Zone Zero:

The Setting

Imagine if a China gacha game company were influenced by a smattering of 80s anime, cyberpunk, and sci-fi using their brand of anime know-how from their past projects: that is Zenless Zone Zero’s art style in a nutshell.

ZZZ is set in a post-apocalyptic future region named New Eridu. A giant metropolis, the world itself is ravaged by supernatural disasters named Hollow and monsters named the Ethereal, which is why there aren’t many humans around. Given how big of a city New Eridu is, it’s ruled by numerous corporations and factions looking to monetize resources and protection in the worst way possible. Of course, the game has a bright aesthetic so it’s not completely doom and gloom since you control a bunch of heroes and agents who try to set things right in a world gone wrong. The reverse Cyberpunk 2077, in other words.

The Different Game Modes

Zenless Zone Zero is split between three different game modes: Story, Hollow, and Arcade Mini-Games. Players can experience the game in its rich narrative or even experience it as a roguelike; think a sci-fi hyper anime version of indie titles like Hades and Slay The Spire, but with TV screens as navigation maps and character action combat as the stage of conflict.

Here is the rundown of each mode available:

Story – players engage with the main story as they advance through various areas, fighting foes and taking on difficult bosses. It is the game’s narrative-driven center, leading players on an engaging adventure. This also includes side quests, in which several NPCs will periodically meet you to ask for help and provide rewards.

Hollows – The main game mode in Zenless Zone Zero. Following a catch-up on the story, players enter a roguelike experience where they must navigate randomly generated dungeons with a customizable team to gain valuable rewards. The dynamic and difficult gameplay in Hollows will keep players on their toes in the tense, fast-paced combat.

Arcade Mini-Games – This mode offers many throwback favourites like Snake and Block puzzles. For players of all tastes, these short challenges offer a change of pace from the main modes and a fun and varied gaming experience.

The Colourful Cast

ZZZ is chock-full of anime-like protagonists in its scifi cyberpunk-esque city. You have your main characters, Belle and Wise, two siblings who work as Proxies who are handlers for agents who want to navigate the Hollow.

As you’re doing main quest content, you’ll have your first faction to get you paid: The Cunning Hares led by Nicole Demara, who is the pink-haired woman on the game’s promotional material for obvious reasons. If you can tear your eyes away from the jiggle, The Cunning Hares also have a few members like Billy Kid the gun-totting merc, Anby Demara, the katana-wielder who also likes movies, and newcomer Nekomiya Mena the token cat person who fights with her claws.

Other factions include Belobog Heavy Industries led by Koleda Belobog, and Victoria Housekeeping led by Alexandrina Sebastiane. You’re sure to find a character or two to follow and complete their personal side stories just to see their tales play out.

Team Composition Plays a Major Role

As New Eridu’s top Proxies (professionals who guide agents through the Hollow), players will need to assemble a team of up to 3 playable agents who can constantly switch places during combat. These agents will employ various offensive techniques, including basic attacks, special attacks (which become more powerful as the player accumulates Energy), chain attacks (triggered upon hitting a stunned enemy with a special attack), dash attacks (combining a dodge and an attack simultaneously), and extra-powerful ultimate attacks. Moreover, by strategically switching agents within the team, players can engage in assist attacks. Perfect assist attacks, however, can only be executed if a player possesses assist points obtained through performing chain attacks.

All agents are categorized into one of five attributes: Fire, Ice, Electric, Physical, and Ether. In addition, agents can specialize in one of the three different fighting styles: Slash, Strike, and Pierce. The combination of agents with specific attributes and fighting styles within the same squad enables the activation of their additional abilities and grants them extra buffs. Each character possesses unique additional abilities, emphasizing the significance of squad composition as a crucial factor in achieving victory.

Zenless Zone Zero also introduces an emergency support system feature that prompts players to switch characters and utilize their switch attack after suffering damage. This feature ensures that newcomers can effortlessly control their characters, akin to veteran action game players.

The Gameplay Loop

Exploration is a major aspect of Zenless Zone Zero, offering various things to discover. The main page presents three game modes: Story, Side, and Rally. The third mode focuses on combat, allowing players to defeat enemies and earn rewards. This area unlocks after reaching a certain level in the game. Players can enhance their skills and earn rewards upon completion.

The game features dynamic time changes, which lead to new dialogues with NPCs and game progression. Certain quests are available based on the virtual time. Players can engage with the story by reading the in-game newspaper. In the shop, players are encouraged to purchase Burn Chips to increase combat power. Additionally, players can enhance their stats by visiting the ramen shop and enjoying a bowl of ramen.

Furthermore, there are mini-games available in two modes: Arcade and Event. These mini-games pay homage to classic games like Snakes and Tetris. Completing the mini-games rewards players with Films, a currency that can be used to purchase various helpful items and upgrades.

The Epic Boss Fights

If anything, ZZZ is not short of a spectacle, especially with the capstone boss fights in the game. You’ll be fighting giant-sized robots and mutants in the Hollow each with their own mechanics and fighting style, and they look really good. We hope that the 1.0 version of the game can surprise us more with giant staged fights like what we’ve experienced in the closed beta so far.

The Graphics & Animation

Clearly the HoYoverse animation team handling ZZZ are paid handsomely, given the lush quality and bouncy framework of the cutscenes and animations of the game.

Just check out how Nekomata moves and does her feline antics in the Chapter 3 intro stage below.

It’s Coming Out Really Soon

ZZZ’s release date is the 4th of July next month for PC, PlayStation 5, and mobile phones. This is the first time HoYoverse has released a game simultaneously for all platforms. Also, the game will have its own month to itself as HoYoverse will not be promoting its other existing big titles -Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail- for fear of cannibalization.

Look forward to our review of the game when it’s out next month!

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