“Project X Zone” review

After hearing the cries of fans screaming for localization, “Project X Zone” has finally been brought over from Japan for your Nintendo 3DS.

The game has a simple premise. It mashes up characters from Sega, Capcom and Namco Bandai, and puts them in tag teams to fight, and to find out why they were all brought together in the first place.

That’s pretty much all you’ll remember from the story. It can be weird and hard to follow among the many characters that will pop in to change some plot point.

The fact that these three companies are involved in this game means you’ll see the likes of Ryu and Ken from the “Street Fighter” series fight alongside Kite and Black Rose from the “.Hack” series. The roster is pretty huge and diverse, but can become an annoyance when playing and having to wait an eternity just to have it be a players turn to attack. 

You can preform a wide-area-damage attack instead of specials.

The game is a tactical role-playing game similar to “Fire Emblem” where you move your characters on maps square by square toward your enemies to attack. 

Once you’ve initiated battle, you use the directional buttons and the A button to decide what combos to do. The whole point is to juggle the enemies in mid-air so they can’t defend themselves.

Sadly, it gets to the point where most enemies will take two combos just to break their defense before you can do any damage. This gets really annoying when it’s bosses you’re trying to fight and you can’t land a hit. To make it worse they’ll pull a punishing counter attack on you pretty much wiping out your characters. After the damage is done however, you can build up your XP bar to execute special abilities like healing or increasing strength, or just let it fill all the way to execute a cross assault, which is basically a smackdown that causes tremendous amounts of damage. They are very flashy and can be a tide turner if used strategically.

Another aspect of combat is calling in allies. If you have another tag team adjacent to you or your enemy, you can bring them in to help keep your combo up and add more hurt to your opponents.

There are also allies who are single characters that you can add to a specific tag team to help out even more. Each character has their own attack pattern, so it’s best to see who works best with whom first.

One neat side note is that if you add allies to certain tag teams, they’ll have more conversational bits after battle. An example is when I put Jin and Xiaoyu with Henhachi (all characters from “Tekken”) they talked about their rivalry and hate for each other. Fun little fan service at its best.

One thing to note is that with the whole collective of your allies and adjacent tag teams joining the fray, it can be hard to figure out what character is doing what. It will get hectic fast, and sometimes you lose where you character is.

It can get a bit hectic on screen.

This game can be hard and trying, considering that during every battle after you beat three or so opponents a cutscene will play and bring along 12 more to fight. This will happen every battle and can be quite frustrating – almost enough to put the game down and go do something else. 

It also would have been nice to have English voice acting instead of keeping the Japanese voice overs with English subtitles, but any anime fan will quickly forgive that.

When it’s all said and done, “Project X Zone” is at least worth a try even with its annoyances