PC Games

Published on April 30th, 2024 | by Abdul Saad

Zenless Zone Zero Closed Beta Test Impressions

Zenless Zone Zero is the upcoming gacha action RPG from Hoyoverse, that stands out with its unique gameplay. Now players have been given a chance to test out the game which has been in development for a while now. In its latest beta, the Amplifying Test, players will encounter new characters and factions as well as new exciting gameplay improvements. Having played through it, I can confidently say that the game offers a unique gacha experience, despite a few minor flaws.

Zenless Zone Zero takes place in the bustling cyberpunk city of New Eridu, where organized gangs and crime rule freely. Many gangs are divided into factions that explore Hollows, mysterious and dangerous alien-like realms filled with a spatial disorder, monsters, and mutants. However, these hollows can only be explored with the help of Proxies, technical experts who oversee and help those who enter Hollows by safely navigating them through and away from its many dangers. You control one of two proxies, Belle or her elder brother, Wise. The siblings get embroiled in a grand scheme after helping the gang, The cunning Hares, collect a treasure that turns out to be a mysterious AI. They then go on a quest to find out where the AI comes from and why some people are after them for it, and more interesting events begin to unfold as players meet more characters and progress the game.

Zenless Zone Zero’s narrative is noticeably less grand than other titles from the publisher. At least so far, as there are fewer characters, fewer narrative elements, and it has a noticeably smaller setting. This isn’t to say the narrative is less compelling, however, as the story is still engaging and easy to follow.

As a proxy, you guide fighters in and out of hollows as they explore and fight monsters, save civilians, and more. Combat works via real-time action gameplay that’s fast and responsive. Players swap characters instantaneously, parry enemy attacks, execute follow-up attacks, perform ultimate attacks, dashes, and more. All this makes it feel amazing, and performing combos and sick parries is smooth and highly satisfying. Outside combat, gameplay switches from the agent to the proxy who navigates the group through a minigame that sees you moving an avatar through blocks designed to look like TV blocks, opening new paths, getting treasures, and encountering enemies along the way. The overall gameplay loop is quite shallow but works really well.

In Zenless Zone Zero, players can recruit new agents to strengthen their team through the gacha system. This system, similar to other Hoyoverse games, allows players to earn Film by completing events and tasks or by purchasing them. The Film can then be used to purchase the Master Tape, which can be used to pull for characters on the general banner, or the Encrypted Master Tape, which can be used to get specific items and agents in limited banners. While acquiring this currency can be a grind, the game rewards players generously in the early stages, making initial pulls relatively cheap.

Upgrades also work similarly to Genshin Impact and Honkai StarRail, as players get items that can be used on specific characters to increase their weapon damage and other stats, along with items that instantly level them up. These mechanics work just as well, if not better, than the developer’s other titles.

When not playing missions, players can explore New Eridu, talk to NPCs, buy food and other items in shops, and spend time with characters via activities like playing minigames in the arcade. These activities give the game a nice alternate mode that improves the overall experience. 

Visually, Zenless Zone Zero features incredibly detailed character designs, a great, albeit limited art direction, and a nice cyberpunk aesthetic. While the 3D models aren’t as defined and picturesque as Honkai StarRail’s, the stylized comic panels give the game a unique visual appeal. Performance-wise, the beta plays really well. However, I did experience frame rate dips here and there, which were especially noticeable during combat.

Final Thoughts?

Overall, Zenless Zone Zero is a highly engaging game so far. While it doesn’t have the best narrative or intricate elements, it at least shows that it has the potential to live up to fans’ expectations.

About the Author


Abdul Saad is a seasoned entertainment journalist and critic, and has been writing for five years on multiple gaming sites. When he isn't writing or playing the latest JRPG, he can be found coding games of his own or tinkering with something electrical.

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