The lights are on
Project X Zone is an S/TRPG developed by Sega, Namco Bandai and Capcom in a joint effort. Fan-service would be the first point of the game, but the game itself actually has a combat system that can take time to master, graphics that, while not on console levels, can stun with how much detail there is and even give this game a status. It's worth noting that this game wasn't exactly taken seriously when the hype cleared up, considering that the trailers didn't portray how the game goes overall. The game mixes up the aforementioned TRPG and adds in some RPG and action elements.
Gameplay: Players have two person teams, using several popular and obscure characters in combinations. You'll see Dante of DMC and Demitri Maximoff of Darkstalkers team up, then some pairs are from games we didn't get like Kurt Irving and Riela from Valkyria Chronicles 3 who show up in the game. Solo Units can join your teams, adding in another way to attack. The game also comes with several tutorials and even has a Database that one can access anytime to see the controls and even short biographies of characters in the game that they won't know about.
This game utilizes most buttons in simplistic ways. The map controls are simple, easing players into the game and keeping the game streamlined. A still confirms, B still backs out of the menu, X brings up and changes the menu and Y does two things: breaks objects and swaps who supports who in a fight. L and R + the Circle Pad let you take the cursor and explore the map, while L and/or R let a player swap targets in the game. The D-Pad pans the camera, but don't think you're getting 360 degrees of viewing. Unfortunately you can only go so far with it, so there are some corners that will stay permanently hidden. Thankfully these incidents are not very often. Start accesses your multi-attack when the pair of players gets it. The Circle Pad moves your characters, which can be an odd experience if you're not used to using it in your 3DS games. Skills give your characters way to heal themselves, increase experience and even add on movement speed to all characters for a turn. This comes in handy, as not all chapters simply do the "defeat all enemies" flick.
The difficulty isn't very steep, giving players time to get used to the controls. The plentiful items and skills each player has, along with some planning will make each chapter challenging to a degree, but will get repetitive once each player obtains all attacks. Items can be equipped beforehand, along with accessories, giving a small bit of customization. This is the only real place this game fails is that the combat is shallow on the first playthrough. The game does come with a New Game + mode, becoming a bit like the GBA title, Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon in some fashion, tacking on more difficulty.
Story: The story isn't exactly something to write home about. At the beginning of the game, Mii Koryuiji and Kogoro Tenzai are puzzled as the Koryuji family treasure, the Portalstone, has been stolen from her family's care. They're ambushed by a small group of enemies and the story takes off in one very bizarre fashion. The characters are transported from one area to another, usually from chapter to chapter, lending a very mysterious and sometimes annoying twist. There's no exploring and the game is completely linear, so expect to get the story all at once.
Graphics/Sound: This is where the meat and potatoes are at. The game's graphics are highly detailed, bringing color and life to a story that twists and turns. The game's protagonist's universes are almost all portrayed in some fashion, whether it's by enemies, bosses or even just in the characters attacks. Expect Chun-Li to kick things to death as part of her and Morrigan's attacks and X and Zero will have their signature moves as well. This pales in detail of how the sprites look. These sprites are HIGHLY detailed, looking as if someone took all day to get just one sprite done. During battle sequences, special and multi-attacks have an anime cut in of the characters executing one of these. Solo and Support characters get these cut-ins as well, perhaps extending the game a bit, but also showing off the artistry that went into the game.
The soundtrack never ceases to impress. Every game's themes are in this game. Expect the Ghost Ship track remixed for Chris and Jill, Jin and Xiaoyu also get their Tekken theme and so on. Even Solo characters get their own tracks, bringing variation to the shallow combat. At least there's always different, in some cases beloved, music.
The 3D doesn't need to be on for this game, but it gives depth to a 2D world. If that's something you'd enjoy, then this will blow your mind. It's worth turning on, even for a few minutes to simply take it in.
Replayability: Moderate. There's New Game + but otherwise, unless you're dedicated you might not wish to play through this title's long hours of gameplay. Expect to put in 30 hours minimum for the first round, at least.
Final Recommendation: Definitely buy this game if you love Strategy games or crossovers. Get this game for the characters, the witty banter and more if you recognize these characters or you simply wish to learn about more obscure titles like the Fighting Vipers or Ghouls and Ghosts. Even though it's repetitive, I'm sticking to a solid 9/10.
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