For the fans.
When I finished the original Project X Zone a few years ago, I put it down thinking that I never wanted to play it again.
It’s not that PxZ was bad, it’s just that it became incredibly tedious by the end, and after a certain point I just wanted it to be over.
The tedium stemmed mostly from the rather basic combat engine and waves of enemies that seem to go on for all eternity.
Many years later, I decided to cover the sequel, hoping that the developers would have addressed the issues plaguing the original and I’m happy to report that they did, on the most part.
Voice Acting: JPN only.
Demo Availability: Yes! (Eshop)
Played: 20~ Hours
Project X Zone 2 is in essence an all-stars crossover game, much like Smash Bros.
However, instead of an arena fighting game like Smash, it has the soul of an SRPG.
It features some truly iconic characters like Ryu and Chun Li from the famed fighting game series, “Street Fighter” and some not so well known characters like Kite and Haseo from the JRPG series, “.hack”.
It’s a venerable who’s who of what’s what and Capcom, Bandai Namco, Nintendo, and Sega have come together to create one hell of a roster.
The characters all feel quite true to their reputations, and it was quite amusing to see them conversing with each other trying to make sense of it all.
While there certainly is an overarching storyline with villains to topple and a world-ending disaster to avert, it’s honestly just a bit of fluff to set the stage for these characters to get together in one place.
Even though the story cruised on without leaving much of an impression, there were a lot of clever jokes and quips between characters that I couldn’t help but laugh along as the various references hit home.
There was something magical about watching Phoenix Wright trying to mediate the differences between the Mishima family, and these kind of moments came along quite regularly.
As far as the combat goes, it’s a standard grid-based SRPG system with a few unique twists.
When combat is initiated, the player is able to take a few actions based on the attacks they’ve unlocked. The attacks are absolutely gorgeous to look at and take elements from the character’s game to great detail.
For example, X and Zero use attacks based on the various power-ups from the robot masters of the Megaman X series, and Zero even has the infamous “Lightning Loop” from Marvel vs Capcom 3 as a part of his ultimate attack.
The key to success in combat is to juggle the enemy as long as possible using the attacks at the right time and if it’s timed as such that they’re hit right before they hit the ground, it will guarantee a critical hit, maximizing the damage.
There’s are also support and solo attacks that serve as single assist buttons to extend combos even further.
New to PxZ 2 is a canceling system where an attack can be canceled mid-animation which can set up for some truly devastating combos and a charge mechanic that enhances the power of an attack that was unused in the previous turn.
Along with those new mechanics are passive skills, equipment and attack upgrades which increase the potency of special moves.
The game is also slightly better paced with shorter stages and less waves of enemies to contend with than before, but even with the more complex and satisfying combat engine, it did get tedious after a while, especially after a long session.
Contrary to many other SRPGs on the market, PxZ 2 is a fairly easy game all things considered as I never found myself in danger of a game over, so if challenge is what you’re looking for, this isn’t the game for you.
Outside of the standard story mode, there is a training mode where you can try out different combinations of support/solo characters and learn the timing of chaining various attacks.
Lastly, there’s a glossary that lists every encountered character with a nice little synopsis about who they are and what game they’re from which I thought was a nice touch.
Project X Zone 2 is a deeper, more satisfying experience as it is greatly improved from the original in every single way. It’s a shrine to a great cast of characters we’ve grown fond of over the years, carefully crafted by people who love these characters just as much as we do.
Fun Tidbit – In what other game are you going to see Segata Sanshiro shoulder throw an enemy who explodes right into Dante’s stinger?
Review copy of game provided by publisher.