Characters from ZZZ
Image Source: miHoYo

Zenless Zone Zero (ZZZ) Review – A New Gacha Master

Yet again, miHoYo has hit the nail on the head.

Zenless Zone Zero (ZZZ) Review on PC

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When you think of action RPGs or gachas, the first two games that will pop up in your mind are Genshin and Honkai. Both are masterpieces developed by none other than the Chinese giant miHoYo. Their fantasy settings, loveable characters, and beautiful worlds have captured and still hold captive the hearts and wallets of millions of people around the globe, me and my friends included.

Now, it’s time for round three, and its name is Zenless Zone Zero. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic futuristic metropolis of New Eridu, where the last remaining human population is trying to survive the doom brought by supernatural disasters known as Hollows.

These Hollows are places where spacetime warps, creating a spherical, almost black hole-like structure that consumes everything it touches and changes it irreversibly. People of New Eridu have managed to develop the technology needed to contain these Hollows, saving the human race from extinction. Moreover, as time passed, they learned how to use them for resources.

However, those few humans who decide to roam through Hollows in search of treasure are exposed to its corrupting effects and the abominations that appear there, which are called Ethereals.

Bangboo 18 in Zenless Zone Zero
Image Source: miHoYo via Twinfinite

But what do you, the player, do in this world? Well, you’re definitely not just a bystander; you’re a Proxy—a navigator who helps those who venture into the Hollows (agents) get out of them alive. Your role is crucial to their survival, and you’ll have mechanical mascot-like companions called Bangboos to assist you. They can not only clean your video store, which is a front for your base of operations but fight enemies and earn you money, too.

The lore of Zenless Zone Zero is so rich and captivating that what I’ve mentioned so far barely manages to scratch the surface of its complex world. All credit goes to miHoYo and their ability to create narratives so unique that they can overshadow even the likes of Limbus Company and PGR. The storytelling is so immersive that you’ll even forget there’s a gacha mechanic in this game!

Instead, you’ll be focused on finding missing cats, solving urban mysteries, and gathering random collectibles. It’s basically like Yakuza, though you’ll have to replace middle-aged karaoke-loving men with quirky, battle-loving maids, butlers, construction workers… wait, is this actually Yakuza!?

Jokes aside, the story and the world won’t be the only thing preventing you from alt-tabbing, let alone closing Zenless Zone Zero. Combat is designed in such a way that you’ll be hooked to it, no matter if you’re a casual gamer or a Soulsborne enthusiast. It’s fast and fluid and heavily relies on you switching between characters often to dish out different attacks and keep your damage rolling.

However, all the beautiful VFX can easily clutter your screen, preventing you from hitting those perfect dodge timers. This is something that Wuthering Waves, for example, has had a problem with since its launch.

Besides combat, you’ll also be exploring the Hollows. This part of the game blends roguelike gameplay with ZZZ elements like CRT monitors, videotapes, Ethereals, Bangboos, etc., offering you a game-within-a-game sort of experience.

Moreover, you’ll quickly realize that the amount of effort miHoYo put into the level design of these is simply absurd. There are custom elements, custom enemies, custom mechanics, etc., for almost every commission. It might very well be too much for the average gacha fan.

Level design isn’t the only thing you might find overly complex, though. There are numerous mini-games, events, hidden quests, puzzles, and whatnot, all compelling enough to keep you glued to your device and logged into the game at all times. I mean, the damned early access copy of ZZZ I received is the sole reason I couldn’t get any work done for the whole week—all I was doing was playing the damn game!

Now, playing any game for a whole week without stopping would’ve been impossible for me had the soundtrack or the graphics been anything but perfect. Fortunately, miHoYo has more than delivered in those departments as well.

View of the Sixth Street in Zenless Zone Zero
Image Source: miHoYo via Twinfinite

Graphics are reminiscent of Genshin, though with a more modern and less fantasy look. Plus, the game is very well optimized, especially on PC. It reminds me of how MGSV managed to look so good by combining low polygon count with perfect texture design, taking the load off your PC without sacrificing visual fidelity.

Sound, on the other hand, is reminiscent of VA-11 Hall-A, further immersing you into that futuristic yet somehow retro vibe. I would have preferred if there were custom songs with lyrics, though, but that’s just me.

Lastly, I’d like to touch on the whole gacha aspect and something else that might interest people: is Zenless Zone Zero P2W? Well, the pull rates are really low (0.6% for S-Rank agents), but maxing them all out is far from necessary. I mean, you’ll be able to clear all content reliably with just the default characters. So, my verdict is that ZZZ is not P2W.

So, let’s recap. Zenless Zone Zero is, without a doubt, the new best gacha action RPG out there, beating Wuthering Waves, Genshin, Tower of Fantasy, and the like by a mile. Its immersive world, unique mechanics, engaging gameplay, and compelling story have set a new standard of what a good ARPG should look like and are bound to appeal to almost everyone.

Zenless Zone Zero
Zenless Zone Zero is without doubt the new best gacha action RPG out there, beating Wuthering Waves, Genshin, Tower of Fantasy, and the like by a mile. Its immersive world, unique mechanics, engaging gameplay, and compelling story have set a new standard of what a good ARPG should look like and are bound to appeal to almost everyone.
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Immersive world
  • Action-packed combat
  • Loveable characters
  • Great story
  • Amazing audio
  • Combat might be too fast for some
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PlayStation 5, Android, iOS, Windows.

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Image of Aleksa Stojkovi?
Aleksa Stojkovi?
Aleksa is a full-time League of Legends solo queue grinder and a passionate killer sudoku player. He has also been moonlighting as a staff writer on Twinfinite since late 2023 so he can finance his mobile gacha addiction.