REVIEW: Project X Zone

Friday, July 12th, 2013

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But wait, there’s more! When you initiate an attack, if another team of characters is within range, you can summon them to do a Support Attack by pressing the R trigger. If you have a Solo unit equipped, you can summon them by pressing the L trigger. Neither can be controlled directly, and you just watch how their attacks play out, timing when to start your next attack. I cannot stress enough how useful this feature is in keeping an enemy airborne, especially when they are heavy enemies that fall quickly and shield liberally. While enemies cannot attack you in tandem, the bosses make up for it with devastating counter attacks and tons of HP. When you start mixing it up and attacking with more than one group at once, you trigger the Cross attack, and any damage you inflict in this mode can increase your XP counter past 100% up to 150%. You can also utilize XP to defend and counter enemy attacks. By choosing to do nothing, you’ll save your precious XP, but take more damage in the bargain.

Project X Zone | XP

Increase your max hit count to get more bonus XP!

Graphically, the game is a mixed bag. The hand drawn character portraits and animations are all beautiful, as are the attacks while battling, which I found to be pure eye candy. Though it is worth mentioning that, besides the regular battle animations, the Super and Multi attack animations are delightfully flashy and over the top. But, if they start to bore you, you can always skip them with the R button. The following video should make clear exactly what I’m talking about. About 55 seconds in, you’ll see some of the Super Attacks in action:

The animation of units as they traverse the grid-based maps, however, and some of the backgrounds were less than stellar. The best I can do is to compare these graphically to the Final Fantasy Tactics series. They’re not horrible or ugly, but they could have been more dynamic and complex. It’s also worth noting that I played this with the 3D turned off, mainly because things got hectic enough without the added depth change.

Project X Zone | Map grid

Not hideous, but it could have looked better…

Musically, this game was a real treat for the ears. Though some of the new, exclusive tracks were somewhat lackluster, most of the time you will be listening to original tracks from each and every franchise represented in the game. This seems to occur randomly as the turn count progresses, and different characters are selected according to their speed. For example, let’s say the first player to get an attack is Frank West and Hsien Ko paired with Arthur as a Solo Unit . It will either play music from Dead Rising, or from Super Ghouls and Ghosts. Then, it may switch when the cursor lands on a different character, and so forth. I personally let out a little squee of happiness every time the music switched to the tunes from Super Ghouls and Ghosts or Mega Man X.

As far as sound effects go, there’s a good mix of meaty slashes, blasts, screams and punches. It helped convey the physicality of the battle system, as well as keeping me immersed in the game. I also have to give a shout-out to the original Japanese voice acting in the game. Though all the dialogue has English subtitles, the various characters have their own battle cries during battle, all in Japanese, and I felt this added a lot of authenticity and drama. The only characters who I wish spoke English were Chris and Jill, since I am so used to hearing their dialogue in the Resident Evil games.

Project X Zone | Resident Evil

Not so used to these two speaking fluent Japanese…

Replay value and overall game length are where I have to give this game some demerits. Though the main game takes anywhere from 50-60 hours to complete, there is almost nothing to do afterwards. Furthermore, the game is quite linear, and does get a bit repetitive about 30 hours in. The plot has a tendency to rinse and repeat the following formula: Group of characters appears in area, talks at length about how they got there, are confronted by bad guys and must fight their way free. There’s a bit more to it than that, but I felt they really could have done more with the plot. I know they couldn’t kill anyone off, since it would have given Capcom, Sega and Namco Bandai conniptions, but I still felt they owed us a plot twist or two. All you unlock by beating the game is New Game +, with more powerful enemies and less experience gained, and a Sound Test.

Another thing that irritated me was all the teleporting. In a standard map, you generally can expect one to two groups of enemies to appear AFTER you decimate the initial group of baddies. Worse still is that later in the game, you really start to get outmatched by the number of enemies. One chapter in particular had me outnumbered 72 to 20, and it was timed. Though such factors do increase the difficulty and challenge level of the game, towards the end they started to wear thin. Especially since you can only have 20 of each item in your inventory. Each character can access the same inventory by pressing X, and in the last few chapters of Project X Zone became a bit of a survival horror game. For those who have yet to play it, I highly recommend saving your precious HP and XP healing items for as long as possible because you will surely need them later in the game.

Project X Zone

It may be a bag full of crazy, but it’s still a heck of a lot of fun!

So, what it all boils down to is whether or not this is a good game or just a bunch of fan service. I have read many message boards that divide into two camps over this very issue. Well, I’m gonna be honest – I’d say this game is split down the middle. There is a TON of fan service in this game, from the dialogue to the scantily-clad Super Attacks to the great tunes you’ll be listening to. But I don’t think any of that is a bad thing. We’re fans, after all, so why bitch about it when the companies we adore show us a little love? Yes, Project X Zone is full of fan service, and is silly and over the top. The game gets repetitive halfway through, and doesn’t have a ton of plot, though. Oddly enough, none of that hurts it in my estimation. This game was still one of my best gaming experiences this Summer. I enjoyed every minute of it, even when minor details had me swearing a blue streak. I liked it so much that I honestly am considering playing it through again on New Game +, something I almost never do. If you like any of the games represented, or like tactical RPGs or just love gaming in general, do yourself a favor and hunt this beauty down.

Review Score


About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.

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