Sunday, November 30, 2014

Game Review: Project X Zone

Strategy RPG; Nintendo 3DS; Bandai Namco Game/SEGA/Capcom; 2012
Thanks to Thanksgiving weekend, I have finally completed a game that by all accounts should have never made it to the west. Project X Zone (Pronounced Project CROSS Zone, because X means Cross in Japan..... Sometimes... I think...) is successor to Namco X Capcom (ALSO Namco CROSS Capcom) and features characters from Namco games, Capcom games, and new to the mix SEGA games. But is this mix up of several of gaming's most iconic characters as bad ass as it sounds?

I don't care what Rock-n-Roll Star Wars picture you can find, there is NOTHING more bad ass than this.
After the events of Namco X Capcom, things have slowly returned to normal, and the dimension crossing adventures seems to be over. But then an artifact known as the Portal Stone was stolen. Mii, the daughter of the family who protected the Portal Stone for generations, and Kogoro, a Private Detective and Mii's tutor, venture forth to find the culprit; however, before they can get anywhere they are stopped by a mysterious organization known as Oros Phlox, and Kogoro and Mii are thrown from their world into various other worlds, encountering heroes and villains from different Pasts, Futures, and worlds completely unknown. Heroes unite to face off against familiar foes and new adversaries, but what lies at the end of their journey?

The story to Project X Zone is about what you would expect from a game trying to blend so many characters and worlds together. While it doesn't try to be a deep, complex story (which I'm glad it doesn't), it's BIGGEST problem is just how slowly paced it is. Nothing really happens for the first 20 or so chapters as your party is almost literally just accidentally wandering into a new world and fight some more enemies. Seriously, you can make a drinking game for how many times you just walk through a door and suddenly appear in another world. Things DO start moving forward towards the end, but not before you become mentally numb to just how often the group trips over a rock and ends up in the demon world. But at least it's not as convoluted as Kingdom Hearts.

Tron Bonne once again trolls us with the knowledge that MML3 will NEVER happen.
Project X Zone is a strategy RPG, namely the entire game is broken up into Chapters with each chapter being a single map with an objective to complete (usually kill all enemies) with story events and intermissions to equip and switch around characters inbetween each map. All allies are split up into two types, Pair Units and Solo Units. Pair Units are the core of your army, as they are fixed characters who pretty much in all regards operate as a single character. Ryu and Ken, Gemini and Erica, KOS-MOS and T-elos are all Paired Units and will always fight together. Solo Units are extra characters that can be assigned to any Paired Unit to add their skills and their unique attack, these include Tron Bonne, Flynn Scifo, and Ulala. In battle, each character is given a turn order based on their Spd stat, once it is one of your Paired Unit's turn you can move them around and when an enemy is in their attack range you can engage in combat where your two characters will unleash any of 5 different attacks with a simple press of the A button and press of the D-pad or Circle pad. You have only a certain number of attacks to unleash, and timing is key otherwise your attacks will miss. If you have a Solo Unit assigned to the Pair you can unleash their attack with the L button and if another pair is nearby they can come in to assist with the R button. If your attacks meet at the same time, a CROSS hit will occur, locking the enemy in place for MASSIVE damage. But of course the highlight of the combat system is each Paired Unit's special attack, which requires 100 Cross Points (XP) which are accumulated during attacks. These are huge attacks that not only has the character's theme cut in during it, but also has come really cool looking cut-in animation similar to Fire Emblem Awakening's Critical hits and Persona 3 and 4's Summonings. Simply put there is a LOT of awesomeness oozing from this game.

Yuri popping in just to prove how much of a badass he is.
UNFORTUNATELY, the game is rather shallow beyond it's awesome fight animations. There isn't much strategy involved in this Strategy RPG, especially since healing is no problem as so long as you have the items or the XP to use Skills, you can heal as much as you like as your turn only ends when you attack or go on standby. In fact, the ONLY way the game ever knows how to make things more challenging towards teh later chapters is to just have a ton more enemies to fight, which just makes battles last longer. It also doesn't help that there isn't any kind of major difference between each character outside of what Skills they have (which doesn't play into the game as much as one would hope), their movement and attack range, and how many enemies they can hit with their Multi-Attack. Beyond that, every single character is more or less just a fighter, with no characters dedicated to support or even range combat. Also, the game isn't too clear about certain things. For example, it took me three quarters of the game before I realized I have a 20 per item limit to my items, and it took me until the END of the game to realize that XP was shared among the ENTIRE group. And finally there is this game's length. While the game has no side quests or optional objectives, Project X Zone still clocks in at around 50 hours and for a game this simple in both gameplay, challenge, and story, it quickly overstays it's welcome.

Did I have fun with Project X Zone? Yes, in short bursts Project X Zone is just badass and a lot of fun, and if the game was only 20-30 hours long it would be fine. However, with the game lasting 50 hours and later Chapters taking 2 hours to complete, it does get really tiresome really quickly. If you enjoy massive over-the-top attacks, and can recognize and love a good portion of the characters from the game, you might enjoy it for the cross over tribute that it is. If you are looking for a game with more depth, than this isn't it. Project X Zone comes recommended.

Until Next Time.

-Crescent, "Hashire Kousoku no Teikoku Kageki-Dan! Unare Shougeki no Teikoku Kageki-Dan!"

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