“Zero Zero”, not quite MiHoYo

Under the dim light, an old-fashioned retro CRT TV was playing various TV advertisements in a loop.

This is the login interface of miHoYo's latest game – "Zero". If it were replaced by the Sky Island in "Genshin Impact", or the train heading towards the galaxy in "Collapse Star Railroad", most people would You will probably click directly to enter the game without thinking.

However, if you are willing to stay at the login interface of "Zero Zero" for a few more minutes, you will indeed see unexpected surprises.

▲The grocery store advertisement hidden in the login interface

I counted carefully, and in less than 5 minutes, this TV played a total of 14 different advertisements: "Star Rider" which pays homage to special photo films, and "Porter Mountain" which is weird and scary. ", as well as distinctive advertisements for energy drinks, sports sneakers and street fashion stores…

Just a login interface can bury so many jokes, and you can also see what kind of people the team that produced this game is.

▲After getting the version number of "Zero Zero", the second test has been quickly launched recently

If MiHoYo's previous "Genshin Impact", "Honkai Impact: Star Railroad", or the earlier "Honkai Impact 3" were all biased towards the fantasy adventure style in terms of themes, then "Zero" is more It presents more of a collision and integration of the second dimension and trendy culture, which is somewhat rebellious and unruly.

Two months ago, in an interview with Japan's IGN, "Zero" game producer Li Zhenyu said: "The urban element is one of the important features that distinguishes this game from other MiHoYo games such as Genshin Impact." As a designer, he hopes to make obvious changes in style.

This also seems to set a certain tone: JuZZero, not quite MiHoYo. In other words, it’s the B-side of MiHoYo

MiHoYo’s most “trendy” game is here

"Trendy cool" and "street style" are my first impressions of JueZuZero.

▲The overall style of Liufen Street reminds you of many trendy street cultural spaces

First, it comes from the perception of the scene: "Liufen Street", the main urban area of ​​"Zero", incorporates a large number of street and trend style elements, and each store is carefully designed.

▲Each store is functional, such as coffee shops and ramen shops that can provide buffs

There's a robot that runs a coffee shop, a ramen shop owner with mechanical prosthetics, and a dog that guards a newsstand.

▲The games in the arcade can be regarded as supplementary mini-games

There is also a video arcade with two built-in arcade games that pay tribute to "Snake" and "Drill Boy", and you can actually play them.

Coupled with the ubiquitous street graffiti, promotional posters, handwritten signs, as well as students and passers-by walking back and forth, the entire "Zero" creates a street style of the 1980s and 1990s, which is very important for players to perceive the game style. It also had a very good effect.

▲The protagonist’s room has a strong nostalgic atmosphere

The video store run by the protagonist in the game is full of various retro and nostalgic elements: Atari game consoles, old-fashioned radios, Polaroids, and video tapes filled with shelves…

Have you discovered that the TV in the login interface mentioned above is actually placed right in front of the sofa in the protagonist's room.

▲Use a video wall to display levels

Furthermore, the overall UI style of "Zero" is also consciously integrated with the "cool" theme.

▲Memoirs made into videotape

For example, levels are displayed through the use of video walls, plot events are made into video tapes, and various dynamic buttons with gradient colors and flashing special effects…

All these, in fact, all the designs are in line with the trend and highlight the fashion sense of the game.

▲ Fully dynamic character display interface

There is also a character display interface. Every time you switch to a menu bar, the camera will change to display the character from different angles. Paired with the electronic background music with a strong sense of rhythm, the game bursts out with an inexplicable "tension" .

Through various interface details, scene content and other design expressions, the "self-consistency" of the in-game culture and world view is demonstrated. This is already seen in many highly stylized games such as "Persona" and "Splatoon". Very good interpretation.

In "Zero Zero", the project team also deliberately showed its understanding and knowledge of urban style, street style and cool culture. This also makes this game unique in the expression of artistic style among current MiHoYo games.

In addition to being fashionable, it’s also cool

If we simply describe the gameplay, "Zero" seems to be a quite simple "3D real-time action RPG" at first glance, with standard multi-character team dungeon exploration, and the integration of Rogue free choice elements, and finally achieves the goal of clearance.

But after playing it for nearly 20 hours, I found that the combat in "Zero" can be classified into the category of "high-speed action game": it is more refreshing, more exciting, and more dazzling than expected.

This feeling comes from many aspects. The first and most intuitive point is that the "waiting time" for battles has been significantly reduced.

▲ There is no CD time for the cutting operation in the game, and the connection is very natural.

Specifically, the "substitution CD" and "skill CD" we saw in "Genshin Impact" have been removed in "Zero Zero" – especially the operation of cutting people, which is completely 0 delay Triggered, it can even reach the point where the next character has already appeared while the previous character is still using his skills. The connection is extremely smooth and smooth.

In addition, the combat method of "Zero Zero" requires attacking the enemy to stack up the imbalance value to achieve defense breakthrough; and the combat venues are mostly flat linear levels, and the gaps between each enemy contact area are very short, which is also a disguised form. Speeded up the pace of combat.

▲Every character’s finishing move will be animated.

Due to various factors, the combat in "Zero Zero" actually "encourages offense". Players hardly need to wait for various CD times, or meaninglessly chase monsters to dodge, or seek defense. "Fighting" almost becomes The only option in battle, the desire to take the initiative to attack has become stronger.

Secondly, Juezu Zero uses a large number of freeze frames and close-ups in combat to enhance the expressiveness of the combat performance and further enhance the excitement of the game.

▲「Blacksmithing」

One is "Extreme Support", which is a mechanism in the game that combines "anti-counterattack" and "killing". If the judgment is achieved with a melee character, you can see an effect similar to the "bounce knife" in "Sekiro". Paired with the familiar sound of iron, it is indeed very touching.

In addition, when the player triggers the QTE, the camera will zoom in directly, giving the current character a slow-motion close-up, and will seamlessly switch to the next character releasing the skill.

▲Glitch visual effects are also used in many animated films

Finally, at the end of the battle, you will occasionally see a set of multi-perspective slow-motion shots. The "GlitchArt" glitch special effects are cleverly combined to enhance the visual impact. In fact, it is also related to the game's video wall to advance the level design. The phasing matches.

What’s also surprising is that among the characters I played in the test, I saw almost no reuse of actions – whether it was the character’s standby, sprinting, or stances during combat, every character basically used them. An independent action module.

Looking at this point alone, the number of actions the characters in "Zero" may have is much more than that of MiHoYo in Genshin Impact and Bentie. I think everyone who has experienced the baptism of "action module reuse" Players will feel deeply about this wave of upgrades of Laomi.

Control commonalities and seek individuality

MiHoYo games have "common characteristics" in some core aspects.

Speaking more broadly, the maturation of product pipelines has allowed both Genshin Impact and Star Iron to achieve a 42-day version update cycle, which is the commonality of the development process; when it comes to gameplay, although Genshin Impact and Star Iron have different categories , but both have similarities in character development and system mechanisms. This is the commonality of the core gameplay.

▲Using raw iron materials as an analogy can indeed greatly reduce the cost of understanding.

What’s more interesting is that whether it was the launch of Star Rail this year or the beta test of Zone 02, I can see the “Read XXX with One Picture” created by enthusiastic players. They put various settings in the new game into The categories correspond to old games, so veteran players will naturally understand them when they see them.

Even when I heard the voice of the character Nemiya Matana in "Zero Zero", I could hear some familiarity. Looking through the list of voice actors, it turns out they are really the same person.

The question is, as a game with a cool theme, what is the "personality" of "Zero"? MiHoYo, which has always been good at impressing players with its content and characters, how can it reflect its differentiation in this game?

▲Players no longer play themselves in "Zero Zero", but more from the perspective of a brother and sister.

One is the change in narrative perspective: in Genshin Impact and Beng Tie, we generally participate in game adventures as the first person, so whether we are travelers or pioneers, there are basically not too many plots with dubbing. , also to enhance the player’s sense of immersion.

But in "Zero Zero", although the aspect of choosing a man or woman is still retained, in terms of the plot, it is more from the perspective of Suzu and Tetsu, the rope-making brother and sister, to experience the major and minor events in the plot.

This also makes the personal subjective color of the game plot less intense, but on the other hand, the diversification of perspectives also further broadens the horizons of the plot, especially this pair of brothers and sisters with very different personalities, who interact a lot in the plot, and rarely have A self-talking expression.

▲The comic-style plot performance is very fresh

The method of plot interpretation has also been broadened. I have to mention here the comic storyboard cutscenes of "Zero Zero". The rich dynamic divisions, as well as the use of common comic elements such as bubble boxes and effect lines, greatly enhance the experience level of the plot performance. The important thing is that this It doesn’t conflict with the trendy tone of the game itself.

Furthermore, the group of characters currently released in "Zero Zero" not only have novel settings, but are also highly recognizable.

Cat-eared beast girl, furry wolf brother, tsundere maid, fashionable hot girl, Kamen Rider robot… Almost all subcultural elements you can think of, you can find the corresponding embodiment in "Zero Zero", and in addition to ordinary Humans, as well as a large number of demihumans, mechas and other settings.

▲There are obvious differences in the dressing styles of different camps in the game

In addition, each character has a "camp" setting, so they also have their own characteristics in terms of clothing matching – for example, the foursome of the "White Heavy Industry~" refer to the rough and heavy workwear style, and Fu The "Victoria Housekeeping" to which Brother Rui Lang belongs is more like a group of housekeepers and deacons dressed in suits and maid uniforms, with a very obvious style.

The character's weapons are also interesting. Not only does it have a setting that matches its own genre, but it also basically modifies props that can be seen everywhere in life – "White Heavy Industry" uses "construction site equipment" such as impact drills, nail guns, pillars, etc., while "Cunning Rabbit House" uses The other ones are daggers, double guns, suitcases and other more street-style weapons.

Oh, by the way, I don’t seem to see such things as staffs and magic books…

The reason I can think of is that the production team hopes to make a product that fits the tone of the game. As mentioned at the beginning, "urban sense" and "coolness" are the core of Zero Zone Zero. Compared with the world of swords and magic, it may be better to A "street brawl" would be more in line with the tone of Zero Zone Zero.

However, who can guarantee that a cyber-genre mage will not appear in the future?

MiHoYo’s new journey

It is no exaggeration to say that the current "Zero" is not at all the quality of a game that is still in the non-billing test period and has not been officially launched.

Its maturity is astonishingly high – it not only continues MiHoYo's consistent artistic advantages, but also has rich and diversified characters that accurately meet the preferences of contemporary subculture players, as well as cool action gameplay, which best demonstrates a A cool and trendy world of extremely high quality.

Under this premise, some parts that lacked polish seemed to be less important during the testing period – such as the small number of enemy types, the single scene in the level, the long time to explore a single hole, and the difficulty of the hole to challenge disabled players. It won't be very friendly, etc. There is room for improvement and optimization.

For miHoYo, "Zero" has delivered an extremely novel and bold answer. Perhaps what they have to consider is the height that "Zero" can reach after it is launched next year – many companies can take a chance. Luck develops a pretty good title, but not many win twice in a row. While Genshin Impact and Xingtie have proven the company's industrial manufacturing capabilities, can Juezu Zero once again win commercial and reputational success with its different cool themes?

The results are inconclusive, let’s wait and see.

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