Project X Zone 2 Review | Cameo Central

Cameos are seen as a delightful little treat, a sort of inside joke that separates those in the know and those who wish to know, and they permeate all manner of media. Movies, comics, video games, you name it. So when Capcom, SEGA, Bandai Namco and Nintendo pledged to bring their classic characters under one title, people were highly intrigued at the outcome.

Thus, Project X Zone was born! The game features action-RPG combat mixed with TRPG elements and a colorful cast from each company. Project X Zone was well received and spawned a sequel titled Project X Zone 2. The sequel doesn’t fall far from the original’s tree, which is both its best and worst quality.

PXZ2

You see, Project X Zone 2 is so much like the original, it could fool people into thinking it was the original. Everything about this game looks exactly the same and only to those of us who have played Project X Zone can tell the difference…slightly. Put these two games side by side and ask somebody who’s played neither to say which is which. I would be willing to bet they thought it was the same game.

The biggest difference between both titles is the party roster accumulated throughout the adventure. The practically identical sequel would be much better off if the issues found here weren’t the exact same ones found in its predecessor.

The gameplay itself remains, for the most part, unchanged. Each team moves in turns until each unit has been used or said turn is ended prematurely. Players are still required to move units on a grid-base field as they move toward achieving their stage cleared. Each unit can use skills to bolster their stats within that individual turn, pick up items scattered on the battlefield and/or attack foes.

Units are comprised of Pair Units and Solo Units. A pair unit would be Dante and Vergil from Capcom’s Devil May Cry series, while Axel from SEGA’s Streets of Rage is considered a solo unit. Solo units can be swapped between pair units but pair units are not interchangeable. Dante and Vergil cannot be changed from each other but Axel could be teamed up with Kazuya Mishima and Jin Kazama from Bandai Namco’s Tekken franchise or any other pairs.

ProjectxZonescene

Combat is exactly the same as the previous system. Enemy on one side, player units on the other and the goal is to string together combos using the circle pad in tangent with buttons until the enemy is defeated or attack points are depleted. The main difference would be a new mechanic called Mirage Cancel, which acts as a slow-mo effect for guidance to better combine combos.

Characters also gain experience after defeating enemy units and can learn new moves/skills from said experience. Buying equipment from the store after each mission helps to bolster character stats, improving their worth in combat.

People will argue until the end of time whether or not a game’s length should constitute if it is a good or bad game. Project X Zone 2 would be among the games where the evidence stacks against buying long-winded titles. I managed to complete Project X Zone 2 within the 43 hour mark but the game could have easily cut 10+ hours off.

 

Why? Because not only does the gameplay suffer from severe repetition early on, but stages eventually take 45 mins to an hour to complete. Instead of challenging players with  tactical enemies, Project X Zone 2 sends an unreasonable amount of enemies at the player, which is a poor substitute for smart AI.

After the umpteenth time of clearing out a wave of foes, only for another batch or three to appear, the game becomes painfully dull. It got to a point where I could only play one or two stages at a time before my annoyance kicked in.

It’s pretty generous to acknowledge Project X Zone 2 as a TRPG (Tactical Role Playing Game) because honestly, barely any strategy is required. I met the game over screen twice and both times happened because I failed to remember a change in the stage’s requirements; Certain stages won’t allow specific characters to fall or to guard items.

I don’t count my losses due to the enemy outmaneuvering me, I count my losses as a result of reckless abandonment because of the game’s drawn out formula. Rushing in head long was my downfall but in my defense, 45 minutes to an hour to complete one level is a bit much. Out of all the TRPG’s I’ve played in my time, Project X Zone 2 is definitely the weakest in terms of strategy.

 

The fuel that keeps this game going would be the characters we see from each company. I’ve already mentioned a few previously but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Familiar faces such as Megaman X, Zero, Phoenix Wright, Mia Fey, Yuri Lowell, Flynn Scifo…these are faces people want to see. Especially when previous knowledge about characters is already known. Seeing Ryu interact with Heihachi Mishima from Tekken is such a odd thing to witness, but unmistakably awesome.

Over 60 familiar and unfamiliar faces await those who pick up Project X Zone 2. This also includes the rival units, which is comprised of villains from different franchises. Seeing baddies like Sigma from the Megaman X series, Nemesis from Resident Evil and B.B Hood from Darkstalkers, team up against their rivals works in a wacky way.

Each time a new face pops up from a different world, I couldn’t help by get excited at the potential dialogue and their abilities in combat. However, once those new faces start to trickle down to a stop, the game’s real problem of dragging its feet becomes painfully aware.

So is Project X Zone 2 a terrible game? I wouldn’t call it terrible but rather entertainingly mediocre. I found enjoyment playing through this game because I knew almost every character featured in this game or have seen them around before. If someone were to look at the box art and couldn’t name a majority of characters featured on it, I’d would recommend caution before diving in.

The game certainly looks cool in motion and seeing characters mashed together like this is intriguing but Project X Zone 2 has a pacing problem. The repetitive gameplay and forgettable story doesn’t help, which reduces this game to a mere rental for anyone other than a diehard fan.

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