Some of you may have heard of the Japanese only release of Namco X Capcom. It was a RPG for the PlayStation 2 that featured characters from both respective companies. Of course, the only way to have played this outside of Japan is through importing, so I’m guessing many didn’t get a chance to try it out. Luckily, the 3DS is making amends with a new crossover RPG called Project X Zone, featuring Capcom, Namco and now Sega characters. Let me be the first one to say, if anyone is a fan of these companies’ titles, they need to check it out.
The worlds of practically every video game character are combining together, and wormholes to other worlds and times are opening up and taking in the heroes of these worlds. Players take on the role of some of the most iconic characters Namco, Sega and Capcom have created to fight the forces of evil, and stop their worlds from bleeding into each other.
Project X Zone (PXZ) is a strategy RPG that has players moving units around a battlefield. When a friendly unit is in range of an enemy unit, they can begin a battle. Battles are slightly turn based; meaning when an ally initiates an attack on the battlefield, only the allies will strike in that battle. Enemies attack on their own turn.
Battles are simple in concept. Pressing the A button and a direction on the circle pad will begin an assault. Hitting enemies will launch them into the air after an attack has been made, and players can initiate another strike to juggle them. It is very timing based. If characters use an attack that hits low, they will miss if said enemy is launched in the air. Also, if the player can time it just right and hit the enemy with an attack right before they hit the ground, it will create a critical hit. Learning each character’s moves and attack animations is imperative to success.
The game revolves around XP, which stands for Cross Power. Each ally unit has an XP gauge. This increases when they attack or are being attacked. XP is used for skills on the battlefield screen, defending or countering enemy attacks and for special moves. These special moves serve as a super combo that offers up massive damage. A unit can only use a special move when the XP is at 100% or more.
On the battlefield, units can move, attack, and use skills that can heal or boost certain stats, as well as use items. Items are dropped by enemies after being defeated or found by breaking objects on the battlefield screen. There is also equipment that can be placed on ally teams that increase stats.
Each unit is a pair of heroes. There are also solo units that can be partied up. When partied up, the solo unit can be called in during an attack to begin their own combo while the pair unit is attacking. If a solo unit hits an enemy at the same time a paired unit hits, it creates an X-combo. X-combos will freeze the enemy in midair and deal more damage. X-combo hits can also increase the unit’s XP gauge past 100%. Aside from solo units, two paired units that are next to each other on the battlefield screen can be used as support as well; much like a solo unit. So it is possible to have a paired unit of two characters attacking up to four times, a solo unit coming in and hitting for big damage and another paired unit support and drop a beat down on the enemy. I know it may sound complicated, but it is pretty straight-forward. The tutorial does a great job of teaching the game and every action that can be performed in battle is on the bottom screen right in front of the player for quick reference.
After every fight, the attacking unit will gain experience points and can also level up. Leveling up increase base stats and units learn new skills they can use. They can also learn multi-attacks that will allow a paired unit to attack multiple enemies that are next to each other. This requires the usage of 100% of the XP gauge, but it is a great way to wipeout multiple enemies in one shot.
PXZ does a great job of handling fan service. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, Ryu and Ken, Frank West, Akria Yuki and Pai Chan, and a ton more are all here. Characters I had never even heard of before make an appearance. The locations will also be very familiar to fans as well. It is the ultimate fan service. It features Japanese voice acting with English subtitles, and the dialog is both clever and stays true to the source material. Dante is witty; Frank is always looking for a big scoop, etc. I would be lying if I didn’t have a geek-out moment or two when a new character I recognized showed up.
The visuals are a nice sprite/hand-drawn style and every battle plays out in a flashy way. The special attacks really show what the 3DS can handle at one time with so many things going on onscreen. The 3D is implemented well, but it is not necessary, although seeing the battles take place on screen in 3D looks pretty awesome at times.
Even though the game is complex in battle, the difficulty never really ramps up. Sure, there may be a boss fight that knocks out one of my units, but I never even came close to losing a mission. I wish it was just a bit more challenging. The equipment is also sparse and I never seemed to have enough to equip my entire team. It takes a while to find enough for everyone.
Project X Zone is a great game for RPG players. It may not get too difficult, but the fan service that has been implemented is one that anyone who enjoys these companies should play and see. The combat is simple, yet complex enough to keep the hardcore happy. Plus, it is just pure fun to play and watch unfold. Project X Zone is a great addition to the 3DS line up and I highly suggest it to any casual RPG fan.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.