Review: Project X Zone 2

Release Date
Nintendo 3DS
Publisher / Developer
Bandai Namco Entertainment / Monolith Soft
Tactical RPG, Crossover
Single Player

I honestly never expected to see a sequel to the 2013 sleeper hit, Project X Zone. It was a game i’m sure many people heard about, but never had the chance to play. That’s the problem with crossover games, people might seem to think they are too overwhelming with the massive size character rosters. If you are one of those people who missed out, here’s a chance to see what it’s all about.

Project X Zone 2 is a sequel that doesn’t feel like one. There’s no required knowledge needed from the first game, which I see as being a step in the right direction. There’s references people who’ve played the first game would get but they aren’t needed for the overall enjoyment and understanding of the story. The plot never takes itself seriously, which means you are free to enjoy the interaction between the huge cast without feeling like you are missing something, because to be truthful, we are here to see our favourite characters interact with others you’d never expect to see together. The developers aren’t expecting you to know who each character is, so don’t expect to feel lost during the walls of text. The characters never take the plot too seriously, so you can have a chuckle while getting to know the huge cast.

Gameplay is grid turn-based. Unlike the first game, placement is important, with more damage being dealt to the enemy from the sides or behind. This works both ways, so you’ll be kept on your toes when surrounded by a load of enemies. Once you’ve moved your selected character, the option for battle is available where you’ll be given the opportunity to attack. At the start, each character is able to use three moves with the goal of chaining them together to deal maximum damage. Like the first game, if a character is standing next to you, they will have the option to attack once during your move. During the prologue, stages take a couple of minutes to complete, but enough information is given for you to understand what needs to be done. Make sure you pay attention because it could cost you dearly, especially when you are at the later stages which can take upto an hour to complete.

A big update since the first game is the intermission sequence during each stage. In the first game it was just a place to change team members around and to save your game. The sequel offers a shop where you can purchase recovery items and status changing equipment. This alone totally changes the experience, as these items could previously only be found in treasure chests during stages. On one hand it makes for an easy time, but you don’t get a lot of in-game currency to play around with, so you’ll have to make your purchases count. There’s also a training feature that has been introduced, where you can work on your combo timing and see which characters you’d prefer to be in a team. A lot of fun can be had here, especially seeing as there’s a lot of hidden dialogue that can only be accessed while training. Crosspedia is my favourite of the new additions. Here you can read up on characters/enemies and their backgrounds. There’s a lot to read here without diving into spoiler territory, with enough information to bring you upto speed. There’s quite a few characters i’m meeting for the first time, so this feature really comes in handy.

The game looks beautiful. Character models are reminiscent of their original designs, and they look stunning during battle. Even the sprite models on the grid have enough character to them, which is something you don’t expect. Backgrounds aren’t the best, but they do the job as you travel to different works, as you see for yourself where the cast originate from. Music is flawless. A huge portion of the score consists of pieces from the games each character originated from, but given the PXZ2 makeover. It’s easy to appreciate the amount of work that’s gone into these scores from over the many years, so it’s such a treat bringing them all together.

I’d like to point out that there is a demo available on the eshop for those that might still be on the fence about this title. It covers a couple of chapters, but there’s enough on offer to see for yourself what this game is all about. Completing the demo multiple times allows you to bring acquired money and items into the main game, so you aren’t wasting your time here if you plan to carry on your adventure.

If you missed out on Project X Zone the first time around, here is a great chance to jump straight in and to see why so many of us are having a blast. You can go back and play the first game if you like, but I feel confident in saying that it can be missed if you’d rather play the most recent release. At least one of your favourite gaming icons will play their part, so why not see what they are up to these days? This is a strategic experience that shouldn’t be missed.