Review :: Project X Zone

Project X Zone

Does not hit the target...

Written by

Published Thursday, 01 August 2013 14:35

Write your own review !

Cross-overs can be an extremely exciting thing by default. There's no reason why you wouldn't want to twirl your shotgun around as Dante while fighting alongside Ling Xiaoyu or Frank West. Project X Zone is the latest huge cross-over developed by Banpresto and Monolith Soft, and published by Namco Bandai with characters spanning Capcom, Sega, and of course Namco Bandai. The idea is no doubt appealing, but what could have been a blast on Nintendo's 3DS ends up being a dream only half-fulfilled.

Project-X-Zone

Project X Zone is somewhat of a follow up to Namco x Capcom, a 2005 PS2 game released only in Japan. Both games are spiritually the same with a large wedding of characters from Namco and Capcom, only this time with Sega. It is a strategy RPG involving our rather large roster of characters being brought together via the "portal stone" which has ripped holes into other dimensions. The plot is as paper thin and hard to follow as it sounds, but the game seems to be self-aware and thus can be forgiven. Unfortunately the things that matter the most aren't so impressive either...

As you would expect from a strategy RPG, things are intended to be a lot more tactical than your usual turn based battle games. Units of two characters each are moved across a battle grid consisting of squares; so many of which can be traversed in one turn. There are objects to break and chests to open in the environments but all in all, the gameplay is solely to make your way to your opponents who appear in larger numbers as the story progresses. The game gives you an objective at the beginning of every battle, but it never ceases to be "defeat all enemies," which makes things pretty redundant. On the same screen, it notifies you that failure will result from your entire arsenal of characters being defeated. These obvious things are odd to be pointed out to us at the begining of every battle. You win if you beat them and you lose if you don't beat them. No real need to remind us of that.

Project-X-Zone-Map-Screenshot-1

If things sound a little frustrating so far, luckily the battles themselves are frantic and full of enjoyment. Once you reach an enemy on the grid, you have the option to attack them. If you do, the camera switches from overhead to a close up of our characters on a horizontal plane. From here, players can unleash a barrage of attacks executed from different button combinations and send your enemies flying into the air. Now, it's easy to mash each attack over and over again until your turn ends, but the game urges you to execute each attack in a timely and smart matter. The result is a satisfying flurry of blows that juggle your opponent into the air and against the wall. To make things even crazier, Each unit of two has the option to add a "solo unit" made up of only one character who drops in to initiate one attack per battle. Want to make things even more insane? Initiate a battle in the vicinity of another unit on the grid and you can call them in during the fight to initiate yet another attack on your opponent. The result of all this madness on screen along with expertly animated moves result in a rambunctious and dazzling sight to see.

What makes the battles in Project X Zone so satisfying is the fact that you need to time your attacks to get the advantage on the enemy. For example, if you happen to have a solo unit for assistance, calling that character in during your attack will initiate a cross hit which keeps your target in place as all your characters unleash their moves on it. The more you attack, the more your XP guage fills up. On the grid, the XP guage is used to do things like defend from enemy strikes and do a single counter attack, but fill it up enough and you can execute a special attack during battle. This attack is presented in an attractive cinematic sequence though keeping in the game's 2D style, remains to be a pretty sight.

pxzbattle

It is extremely unfortunate that the battles are the only time the gameplay really shines. Back out on the grid, units have the option to use items and skills any time they want without wasting a turn. In other words, you can heal your entire party, open a chest, and attack an opponent with all the fire power you've got...in a single turn. This makes the game far too easier than it should be, especially being a more strategical RPG. Even when the game decides to ramp up the difficulty near the end, you're still left with quite an unsatisfying challenge. The simple nature of the game could work with more variety and challenge, but the strategy element actually ends up hurting the game. Battles themselves are visually dazzling, but gameplay overall feels incredibly repetitive especially considering the playing fields are generally nothing but empty space which characters can only progress over a little each turn. What ends up happening is all your characters will be in one place at one time near the end of the battle, resulting in a cluster of characters in one area with no reason to divide them out.

Outside the gameplay, the heavy anime style is welcome but not well executed. Dialogue sequences are lengthy and is enough to put a player to sleep before the gameplay starts. It's not the static images of 2D characters muttering dialogue that makes it so unappealing, it's the fact that what they're saying just isn't interesting. With a game having such a uninspired and weightless story, it shouldn't be expected of us to sit through long talky scenes of dialogue we won't care about. On top of that, the dialogue is done with Japanese voices and english subtitles. The problem here is there are only voice overs sometimes...not all the time. Other times, it's nothing but subtitles. It's unclear when voice overs are used and not used but they cut in and out seemingly randomly, and end up being just unnecessary.

pxzstory

Finally, one of the biggest problems in Project X Zone actually only lasts during the beginning of the game...the tutorial. Page after page after page of words without letting the player participate in between is the very opposite of intuitive. Even when the game finally lets you play after taking in a novel of information, it bombards you with more of it. This sequence far, far overstays its welcome and immediately puts a sour taste in the player's mouth right as they begin the game. By the time the gameplay starts, you're left mystified until you grasp the fairly simple gameplay that should have been presented with a fairly simple tutorial section.

An incredibly vast and impressive roster of characters and a fun, visually stunning battle system isn't quite enough to recommend Project X Zone. Overall repetitive gameplay and lengthy dialogue sequences take up most of your time with what could have been an extremely enjoyable cross-over game. The satisfaction of well timed attacks is buried underneath the game's dull grid system, and the anime style is washed out with a story you can't get behind.

 


Pros

+ Battles are stunning and fun

+ Roster of characters is grand and expansive

Cons

- Dialogue sequences are long and uninteresting

- Grid gameplay is repetitive

- Tutorial is incredibly unintuitive


Final rating
6.2 / 10
Comments
More Nintendo 3DS reviews
2012-12-27 :: LEGO Lord of the Rings
2012-10-26 :: Spy Hunter
2012-08-12 :: Heroes of Ruin
2012-04-18 :: Kid Icarus: Uprising
2012-03-23 :: CRUSH3D
2012-02-09 :: (eShop) Zen Pinball 3D
2011-11-17 :: Super Mario 3D Land
Special articles
The Best and The Worst: Titanfall Maps Special articles

The Best and The Worst: Titanfall Maps

Since everybody loves lists and since everybody also loves Titanfall, I thought it was pertinent that I combine these two equally loved things together.  And since maps are one of the key ingredients in a first-person shooter, I felt that would be a good place to start:
Lire la suite...
More with Titanfall's Lead Game Director Steve Fukuda Special articles

More with Titanfall's Lead Game Director Steve Fukuda

 Last week Andrew Atkinson posted a great piece on the interview he and I had with Titanfall’s Lead Game Director, Steve Fukuda.  I thought I would follow up with some more little bits of information we were able to gather from Mr. Fukuda detailing what’s in store for Titanfall in the future: Read more
Five Things we Learned from 'Titanfall' Lead Developer Steve Fukuda Special articles

Five Things we Learned from 'Titanfall' Lead Developer Steve Fukuda

Gamefocus recently had the chance to chat with Steve Fukuda, lead game developer for Titanfall at Respawn.  Fukuda was lead designer at Infinity Ward where he was a major player in the production of the Call of Duty series up until Modern Warfare 2.  Brenden Mernagh and I arranged to speak with Fukuda at the Titanfalllaunch party in Toronto. Read more
Oscar Nominated Movies Which Deserve A Video Game Tie-In Special articles

Oscar Nominated Movies Which Deserve A Video Game Tie-In

The Oscars are almost here but where are the video games based on these films that have made the cut to be part of the 86th Academy Awards?  I decided that if the Hollywood brain trust can't develop appropriate video game tie-ins with their biggest and best films then I'd have to do their work for them.   Read more

Game details
Project X Zone
Release date : 2013-06-25
Platform :
Publisher : Namco Bandai
Developer : Monolith Soft
Gameplay : Strategy

DLC Talk

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

DLC Talk: Bioshock: Burial at Sea Ep. 1

Here we are. The next generation of consoles is among us and it is finally time to start thinking about finally unplugging our beloved current-gen systems. Could there be a better swan song for one of these systems than taking a trip back to Rapture?


Read more

DLC Talk: Dishonored - The Knife of Dunwall

DLC Talk: Dishonored - The Knife of Dunwall

Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall is an impressive little bit of DLC. I should emphasize “little” though, as it is a relatively short experience. Just when the story seems to get going it ends - or, rather, it “kind of” ends.


Read more

DLC Talk: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

DLC Talk: Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Dragon’s Dogma was released last year on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.


Read more
GF Blogs

Rage Against The Exploding Barrel

Rage Against The Exploding Barrel

In the year 1981 a decision was made which would forever alter the face of video games as we know them. A young gorilla named Donkey Kong was throwing wooden barrels at a spunky little plumber named Mario. What happened next influenced the level design and gameplay of most FPS and adventure games since.


Read more

Why Super Nintendo VS Sega Genesis is a lot like PS4 VS Xbox One

Why Super Nintendo VS Sega Genesis is a lot like PS4 VS Xbox One

The video game press and blogosphere didn’t really know what to make of the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One when they were announced last year.  Most of this confusion seemed to stem from the fact that no one really knew for sure if these next-generation video game consoles would offer the player anything new.  Yes, there would be better graphics, better online functionality, a better multimedia experience, and a better controller, but would that be it?


Read more

'Goat Simulator' is Live! You can Virtually Live as a Goat!

'Goat Simulator' is Live! You can Virtually Live as a Goat!

I’ve often thought that what the animal rights movement really needs are some rocking simulations of animal life.  I’m not sure Goat Simulator will offer that (I’m still downloading it), but think about this: imagine teaching a grade seven science class where you hook your students up to Oculus Rift VR sets, fix them with some haptic arm and leg bands, and send them out to join a wolf pack stalking caribou in the arctic tundra (Dire Wolf!).


Read more
GameFocus Radio

GameFocus Podcast: December 16, 2013

GameFocus Podcast: December 16, 2013

Game Focus is proud to present its new podcast episode, a weekly casual talk between GameFocus staff members about the gaming industry. In this show, we talk about mostly the Xbox One and the PS4. Vince explains in details what happened when he reached Microsoft support for a problem with his Xbox One that unexpectedly died after less than 2 days of use.

Read more
GameFocus 2014 Top 10
2
Dark Souls II (Xbox 360)
9.1
3
9.0
5
Thief (PlayStation 4)
7.5
6
Madden NFL 25 (Xbox One)
7.4
7
Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)
5.8
8
4.0

facebook-follow-us

twitter1

 

Recent comments

Powered by Disqus