Yesterday, I mentioned that Spike Chunsoft had released a lot of game news, but they were keeping Zanki Zero hidden until today. After watching the stream on Twitch, I can say this is a very different game from the creators of Danganronpa. Don’t let that worry you. This is now one of my most anticipated games, and we only have to wait until spring of 2019 to play it.
Let’s start with some basic details. Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is a survival action RPG. Throughout the game, you will discover why the world came to be what it is by exploring “ruins” that drift by your base. Some examples of the ruins are a cruise ship, a publishing house, and a tree house, but there will be eight total.
There are eight different characters living on an island. Outside of being the last living humans, they are all clones, and each one has had a secret trauma. Each of the clones will have a shortened life-span of 13 days in which they experience four stages of aging including child, adult, middle-aged, and a senior. Each of the different ages has a distinct advantage. The child can fit into places others can’t. The adult is stronger, the middle-aged has high defense, and the senior can perform charge attacks and a self-destruct attack for a lot of damage.
Garage Island is your base, and you can build improvements. Since survival is important, you will need to build a kitchen to eat, a bedroom to sleep, and a toilet for obvious reasons. (OK. I’ll tell you. The developers said your characters will soil themselves. Of course, they might do that anyway if they are scared.) There are other buildings, and these can be improved.
As you explore, you will find enemies. All of the combat is in real time, but it can still be tactical. You can approach an enemy and begin your attack, you can use traps in the environment, you can wait for an enemy to come to you, and you can run away to fight another day. In the short video shown, it looks like a dungeon crawler, but the characters were able to move backwards and forwards at will. Each of the characters can attack individually, but a combination attack with all your characters is especially effective.
They also demonstrated the ability to break enemy parts. As you approach them, a certain part will be highlighted. You can attack this part to break it. That will weaken the enemy or give you special loot that you may not be able to receive any other way.
You will die in the game, but that is a useful mechanic in Zanki Zero: Last Beginning. Whenever you die, you can use the Extend Machine to create a new clone with your points gained by defeating monsters. Whenever you pull a Lazarus like this, you are reborn as a child with all your previous memories, levels, and skills. You also gain a resistance, called Shigabane, to whatever killed you. In order to become stronger, you will need to die. The developers are promising over 100 interesting ways to meet your end, from poison to tripping over a rock and dying.
With all that death, you will need some friendly faces to help. Extend TV is a weird, animated program that airs on the CRT TVs on the island. Hosts Sho Terashima and Mirai will guide your group of survivors, but no one knows who or what they really are. That is probably part of the mystery as well. (It was revealed in the conference that the Japanese voice actors for Sho and Mirai are the same voices for Goku and Frieza in Dragon Ball Z.)
As you can see, Zanki Zero: Last Beginning has some really interesting mechanics, and there is more info coming. Check out some of the screen captures I have in this article, and you can check out the full presentation with Q&A on Spike Chunsoft’s Twitch channel.
Jason became terminally addicted to videogames after receiving the NES at an early age. This addiction grew to include PC gaming and was cemented with the launch of the PS2. From then on, he was afflicted with epic RPGs, tense shooters, and deep strategy games, never becoming skillful, but never able to quit. He continues to play games (poorly) and share his passion for them to anyone willing to listen.