AQWBlaZer91's First Impressions: Project X Zone Nintendo 3DS Demo
Game Title: Project X Zone
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Tactical Strategy RPG/Crossover
Developer: Monolith Soft/Banpresto
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Demo Released: 23rd May 2013 (Europe)
Date of Full Game Release: October 11th 2012 (Japan), June 25th 2013 (North America), July 5th 2013 (Europe), Summer 2013 (Australia)
Age Rating: CERO: B, ESRB: T for Teen, PEGI: 12+, PG
Video game crossovers have been apart of gaming since Marvel and Capcom put themselves to fighting game tournaments across the globe. This also allowed other crossover titles to follow on such as Kingdom Hearts with Final Fantasy and Disney and Super Smash Bros with popular Nintendo characters. Now there is a brand new crossover title featuring Characters from Sega, Namco Bandai and finally Capcom for Project X Zone for the Nintendo 3DS. It was released in Japan last year but finally it's now announced for it's North American, European and Australian release which is fantastic news for the fans. Recently a demo recently came out on the Nintendo Eshop in Europe to give a taste of what the games offers.
Basically Project X Zone brings together many of the famous and so famous heroes from across the universes of Namco Bandai, Sega and Capcom. Over 50 characters spanning 29 different franchises such as Tekken, Street Fighter, Sakura Wars, Dark Stalkers, Tales of Vesperia, Valkyria Chronicles, Resident Evil, and much more. It's plot according to the description on Eshop says that a rift appears allowing a doorway to bring characters from different worlds to cross paths with each other.
In the demo you can play up to 30 times before it expires and the demo showcases one of the chapters in the game. There are apparently different demos for players to try out and this demo I'm commenting is Demo A which is called A lethal surprise. Demo B is supposed to be based around the Ghost N Gobblins stage and it's said to come out in June 27th.
When you start the demo you're given a tutorial laid out in text explain about the game mechanics and controls before the gameplay begins. The Demo takes place in the Imperial Theater from Sakura Wars and you have control over Ryu & Ken from Street Fighter with their solo character (Which I'll refer to later) Devilotte from Cyberbots, Soma & Alisa from with their solo character named Lindow from God Eater, Kite & Blackrose from .Hack, Kurt & Riela with their solo character Imca from Valkyria Chronicles III. Finally you then get Ichiro & Sakura from Sakura Wars and also Gemini & Erica from it as well with Ulala from Space Channel 5 as their solo character helping them.
The game plays very similar to Fire Emblem Awakening where your main goal is to control your ally units to take down all enemy units on the screen as well as defeating a boss unit to win. In this game should you ally units fall in battle, don't panic you can revive them under a cost of a turn. That's only in the Full Game though because they aren't any revival items here as I'm aware of.
On the top screen it shows the gameplay, while turn order for your allies and enemies is shown on the bottom screen. You can use the stylus to look around the map where you can see enemies and your ally units. When it's one of your ally unit's turn you can move it around in a grid like area and you can move it in range within the range of the enemies on the map. Ally Units come in teams of two and in some cases a third solo and if possible support from another team which can assist you in battle. Solo units comes to extension from the games the paring characters come from. They can add be added into different parties for different style of play, this is however only done in the full game. Once the ally unit is within range of the enemy unit you can press the A button to start a battle.
The battles is where the game can get extremely chaotic. You use the Circle Pad/D-Pad with the A button to perform different attacks that each ally unit has. However this is not a real time combat system, as pressing that button and you watch the characters perform their attacks and you have to wait before you can attack again. There are directional icons on the screen and the trick I learned is to use each different directional button button with the A button to pull of more combos as well as gaining an additional attack chance to pull off another attack before ending your turn. If you have an ally unit that is within range of another then you can use the R button in battle to summon the supporting team to help that ally unit out in battle. For some units that have a solo character unit on their side you can summon that solo character into battle with the L button. If they are multiple ally units in range on the map screen then you can use the Y Button to switch between them.
Another special trick is too summon in the single unit character into battle after pulling off the characters first attack then summon the supporting team as you use more attacks. This triggers the Cross Damage which helps to hold the enemy in position opening up for heavy combos. This becomes a lot useful for boss fights and some enemies as you need to break their shields in order to actually them. There's also a dynamic XP bar which builds up to 150% as you deal damage to the enemy. Once the XP meter is at 100% you can press the Y button to unleash a powerful special attack which mostly kill weak enemies easily but however does at least major damage to bosses. Don't confuse that traditional Experience points has defeating enemies earns your unit EXP in battle, leveling your unit up and increasing the units power and eventually learning some new skills.
You can use items or magic in on the field as enemies drop items for you to use and some items can refer to other Namco Bandai, Sega and Capcom universes. Some items can only be used on the ally that on it's turn so you might want to think carefully about your units before taking your turn.
When it's the enemies turn the CPU moves it's own units around the field and when the enemy comes into range your unit you can defend yourself with 3 different defend choices. You can Counter attack which can happen after the enemy attacks you, there's only a 50/50 chance of that working I think, You can defend against the attack which reduces damage or you can with full defend which can block all damage that the enemy tries to hit you with. However these take up 20% for Countering and Blocking but however full blocking takes of 60% of your XP bar so like with managing your units you need to be wise on deciding on which is the best way for that unit to defend him/herself from enemy attacks.
Project X Zone looks pretty great, both in 2D and 3D. Environments are supposed to be from famous franchises which should be nice and the Imperial Theater from Sakura Wars is designed pretty well. The character sprites are impressively redone and animated nicely on the battle screens as well their attack effects. Most of the graphic works goes to the portrait animations which is animated amazingly especially during their special attacks. You'll be amazed at each of the ally unit remixed tunes such as Ryu's stage from Street Fighter and many others. Only major I'd like to note that the game is only a English text translation so the Japanese sound clips were left untouched as well the ingame content as far as I know.
That pretty much covers the demo of Project X Zone and I think I only scratched the service of the game itself. At the moment we have to wait to see what the full game offers so I'll end it with my final comments on the demo. It's pretty fantastic and fun tactical RPG crossover and I can't wait to see what else it's in store. For European gamers check out the demo on Eshop and wait till next month for the next demo before the full game unleashes on July 5th in Europe. Americans will have to wait to June 25th for it to come out there. Sorry that you guys never got the demo.
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Anthony Hayball (AQWBlaZer91)