Project X Zone Review

Project X Zone's crossover cast is impressive and its presentation is entertaining, but there's too little strategy to this strategy role-playing game.

Crazy things happen when video game worlds collide. Mario and Sonic compete alongside each other at the Olympics. Claptrap plays poker with canine cop Sam while GLaDOS looks on. And in Project X Zone, Mega Man, Ulala, Jill Valentine, Dante, Jin Kazama, Sanger Zonvolt, and many, many more find themselves thrown together by fate to take a stand against the forces of evil. Though many of these characters hail from action games and fighting games, these battlefields force them to take a more tactical approach to combat than they may be used to. Unfortunately, Project X Zone's strategic gameplay is too one-dimensional to captivate, leaving the game's huge cast and its spirited presentation to keep it afloat.

The tiny representations of Chun-Li, Frank West and other familiar characters are quite charming.

Project X Zone is too strategically straightforward to stand with (or even near) the best games in the genre. There aren't different classes to consider the tactical implications of, nor is there anything akin to Disgaea's wonderfully exploitable battle system, or any other wrinkles to make you stop and carefully consider how to approach a situation. You can typically just move your units within attack range of enemy units, ideally with another friendly unit nearby that you can call on for support during the attack, and steadily wipe out your opponents.

Sometimes objectives change things up a bit--you may need to catch certain enemies before they reach an exit, for instance, giving you an incentive to use skills that increase the range of your units--but these are minor variations that don't demand much tactical consideration. Emerging victorious time and time again and leveling up your units is pleasantly satisfying, but by the 25th hour or so of battles that mostly play out the same way, this predictable pleasure starts to wear thin, and you start wishing for more-stimulating scenarios.

So Project X Zone's appeal lies not so much in its thin strategic gameplay, but in its zany concept and its flashy attack animations. The tale it tells is a gleefully nonsensical one that has the worlds of numerous video game franchises colliding--there's some talk of dimensional gates and vortexes and whatnot, but really, the worlds are colliding as an excuse to have such unlikely allies as Arthur from Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Pai from Virtua Fighter, and Kite from .hack fight alongside each other. It's not just the heroes from these varied universes who come together in Project X Zone. You fight recognizable enemies, hear plenty of classic tunes, and visit many famous and not-so-famous locations. (If you've been waiting for the elaborate battle simulator setting of Sega's 1988 arcade game Gain Ground to get some love, Project X Zone has got you covered.)

Attack sequences combine pixelated sprites and large character artwork to memorable effect.

Unfortunately, the characters also bring with them some tired attitudes. There are lots of amusing statements about things like how the double jump has become a ubiquitous game mechanic in recent years or how Arthur's armor can protect him from exactly one blow of any strength before it goes flying off. But in addition, there's no shortage of patronizing comments made by male characters to their female counterparts and of women responding to such attitudes as if they're to be accepted rather than challenged. When a villain tells the smiling, scantily clad Kaguya that she's attractive but stupid and she says she doesn't know whether to be pleased or insulted, it's all you can do not to roll your eyes.

Many characters come as inseparable duos called pair units, including longtime friends and rivals Ryu and Ken, and the newly acquainted Frank West and Hsien-Ko. These units move and attack as one. Other characters, including Tron Bonne and Heihachi Mishima, are solo units that can be attached to any pair to lend them a hand in battle. And when you attack with one pair unit, you can call on another nearby pair unit to perform a support attack. This means that when you attack an enemy, you can have as many as five allies onscreen at once, assaulting your foe with their elaborate attacks that recall the games those characters came from. Arthur briefly dons his golden armor and calls down lightning; Ryu lets loose with metsu hadokens; and the John McClane-esque Bruno Delinger of Dynamite Cop grabs a grandfather clock out of nowhere to use as a weapon.

The flurry of activity your units unleash in battle is fun to watch, at least the first few hundred times. Attacks are viewed from a 2D perspective that's reminiscent of fighting games, and the energetic fighting game vibe is enhanced by the announcer who shouts "Ready? Fight!" at the start of each attack and "KO!" when you defeat an enemy. Your attacks typically launch enemies into the air, and there's a bit of strategy involved in timing when you unleash your assaults. Hitting a falling enemy just before it strikes the ground results in a critical hit, for instance, and having your pair unit hit an enemy while it's also being hit by a solo unit or support attack lets you build up your "cross point" gauge (which lets you perform special attacks and attacks that target multiple enemies at once) beyond the typical limit of 100 percent. It's not long, however, before you have a handle on these concepts, and defeating enemies and building up your gauge so that you can perform special attacks on powerful boss enemies becomes routine.

Typical Arthur.

Still, the gameplay provides a decent, if unremarkable, framework to support bringing these disparate characters together to clobber countless denizens of the underworld and other nefarious creatures from varied pasts and futures. If you have a fondness for a fair number of the 50-plus game characters featured in Project X Zone (and there's a good chance you do), then those appealing characters, their sometimes-humorous interactions, and the locations, music, and attack animations they bring with them can make Project X Zone a worthwhile nostalgic endeavor. But it's primarily the strength of its cast and its presentation, not the strength of its gameplay, that sustains you through the many long hours of this quest.

The Good
Plenty of appealing characters, famous locations, and familiar music
Great attack animations
Some humorous dialogue
The Bad
Bog-standard strategic gameplay
Some interactions reflect tired attitudes
6.5
Fair
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381 comments
GameBeaten
GameBeaten

I finally got this game on Tuesday. It's so damn addicting I was literally playing all day and now I'm commenting about the game here. It's enjoyable.


It's also the sequel to Namco X Capcom, a game that was released for the PS2 in Japan in 2005. This is why a good number of characters refer to how they know each other from previous encounters. This might be a bit jarring to North American gamers (it was for me). The overall plot is easy enough to piece together once you progress further.

GrowlanserDX
GrowlanserDX

This game was good in my opinion, it could have been much better. I didn't really hear much about this game prior to it being released and I had seen little to no gameplay concerning it so I went in thinking it was going to be the same battle system as a "Tales Of" type game, so I was slightly disappointed in the gameplay. The storyline was pretty decent but there wasn't really much challenge, the battles were good don't get me wrong and the nostalgic cast of characters was really impressive along with the music score which was really good. I just wish this game had been a little better, gameplay being one of them as I would have liked it to have some fighting game mechanics instead of just pushing up down left and right to pull off combos, it got repetitive after awhile. All in all it was a good game

lamprey263
lamprey263

I think this game is a lot of fun, though could be more challenging but isn't so easy I disregard strategy. It didn't really explain things well as far as game mechanics went but I'm picked up as I went along. I'm not familiar with half the characters and universes involved but that didn't stop me from enjoying the characters. The Japanese voice kind of gives the game some uniqueness, though I'd of liked English voices and full voice support as this game could afford to squeeze it in... but I guess budgets and all. It would be nice if as you played if you could through challenges and such unlock bonus art and bios and descriptions of characters and their games and such, as to gain familiarity with characters the gamers are unfamiliar with. But still, it's a lot of fun, more a casual RPG that appeals more to the fans of the various universes and characters in a large crossover mash-up.

danstrider
danstrider

Nice is to see the repetitive fps titles with a 9 while a game of this level with inovative gameplay receive a 6.5... I am almost giving up gamespot and it last reviews...

thefavs
thefavs

I agree with the score. Borrowed it from my friend, pPlayed it for like 2 hours and thought "I am so bored!".

freedom01
freedom01 moderator moderator

Carolyn Petit should really stop rating games,

princetrase
princetrase

A 6.5???  Are you serious?  This game is AT LEAST an 8.  I played the demo and I just had to buy the full version on opening day.  And there is strategy involved: knowing if a combo ends with a wall-bang, timing, and even how your support characters come into the fight.  Every hit counts.  

SamusCR
SamusCR

Ive loved Gamespot reviews since months ago, being my favorite online reviewers.
BUT with this score, im afraid gamespot might be boarding the shitload wagon of unnapealing and lack of depth reviews...

The game is fantastic, the production value is amazing even if you have no idea of the characters. Yes if you are a fan youll enjoy the 200% out of it, but by any means it is a button masher ( im a hardcore rpg/strategic games ), the approch is different than your average tactics, onimusha, fe and so, but the game is very polished.

A MUST own if you love capcom characters, if you dont is still a high enjoyable game that requires the attention of everyone.

It should be around 8 for non capcom fans ( the production value is there and just that justifies an 8 ) and if you do love and i know must of characters, you just simply will love it.


abHS4L88
abHS4L88

Just finished the first playthrough of the game and anyone who says that this games requires no strategy or is just a button masher did not finish the game, let alone probably only played the first few levels. The game is purposefully lenient in the beginning so you can get accustomed to the battle system and progressively gets more and more challenging, encouraging you to really learn how to properly utilize each of your units as well as managing your resources. 

Also it's your expectations coming into this game that will ultimately decide whether or not you're going to enjoy. Everyone who seemed to expect an SRPG that's going to rival Fire Emblem will be very disappointed, while those who come into this game expecting a fun cross over SRPG with a funny yet ridiculous story line (that actually makes sense if you pay attention) will find a very enjoyable game. 

Spinnerweb
Spinnerweb

I got it yesterday. It's very addictive. Anyone thinking to buy it should do so.

I kind of doubt Carolyn Petit played this game past the prologue chapters, since everything in her review seems to be based on the start of the game. The whole thing about the scantily clad unintelligent chick character too is near the start of the game, and is made of two dialogue boxes, was supposed to be humorous, and is entirely forgettable. This may be flogging a dead horse and maybe it's even an exaggeration to make the point but I feel that Carolyn shouldn't have let two dialogue boxes and her feminism be pointed out as a bad point of the game and rate the whole game down over it.

Also, there IS strategy to the gameplay. In the beginning most of the battles are a cakewalk, button-mashy players will get away with them. But a few chapters on on the game does reward players who pause rather than mashing the Circle Pad and A button because the timing really matters to make the most of your attacks.

Not that I'm vengeful or anything over it. I don't dislike Carolyn.


PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

Just played the demo. Sweet jesus. I'm buying this as soon as I can. I'd normally gripe about the shallow strategy element too, but it's just too damn fun for me to be bothered by that. 

Dimanagul
Dimanagul

I've only played the demo of this, but 6.5 is a fair score.    "Niche".   It's the kind of score you hand out to warn: "Unless you're a fan.   Don't bother.   If you are one, you should enjoy this with minor gripes."

Flame30
Flame30

I would definitely say this is a VERY hit-or-miss game. I personally love it after playing the Endless Frontier games whose battle system was completely unique at the time. They use a bunch of great pieces of music, thought I do wish the licensed music did come over but hey, you can't win everything. Despite the game being 2D sprites, the attack animations are fast and frantic,, sometimes covering the whole screen, something the developers took their time with. While the story is fairly meh, you really can't do much with a crossover game, so by crossover standards, this has a pretty interesting plot.


Overall, I'd give this game a 8.5. It's great fun to play, challenging and at the same time rewarding. Though cutting our EXP in half for New Game + was unnecessary in my opinion.

The-Longshot
The-Longshot

Can't believe they are charging $40 for this. at $20 it would be reasonable, at $10 it would probably fly "off the shelves." I've played the demo and its definitely fun and flashy, but there is hardly anything close to enough substance to legitimize the purchase at $40. I do love seeing Ken and Ryu mix it up with so many different characters from so many different places,.... but again, no where near worth $40 if there was more strategy to it, it would be worth more, but the gameplay depth is too shallow. I may pick it up if.when the price goes down.

EtherUnion
EtherUnion

Project X Zone Review            *YAY!!!! CLICK!!*
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By: Carolyn Petit                      *....Sigh... Close Tab...*


dadkwashere
dadkwashere

Cmon, with Yuri this game should get 2 extra points-8.5 at least.

Metronoid
Metronoid

This game make ´s me buy a bigger sd card for my 3DS and buy at e-shop. Gamespot should change its review way, IGN gave a well deserved 8.0 for this gem.

Metronoid
Metronoid

Another bad review from gamespot, first in the week was with Larry Reloaded, now with this awesome game. You only see some boring fps getting 9.0 from GS, shame.

thepayne78
thepayne78

Agree that their is not much strategy to the game but darn it the game is fun to play.

advocacy
advocacy

Perceived weak treatment of female characters is why "The Last of Us" only got an 8.  To hell if the gameplay is fun, am I right, Gamespot?

jerusaelem
jerusaelem

The VILLAIN(i.e. bad guy) called an attractive yet stupid girl attractive yet stupid? Male chauvinist swine!!!! Or just some ridiculous, run-of-the-mill Japanese villain(again, bad guy) banter. Could just be that too. 

That said, there's plenty of perfectly legitimate sexism in video games these days without having to get overly sensitive about the silly Japanese shit  as well. You're welcome to attempt to change their cultural outlook if you like. You won't, obviously,  but it's your time to piss away as you please. I would recommend, if you are unable to overlook their cultural peculiarities, that you avoid other Japanese titles/every single anime in the future, lest your rolling eyeballs fall completely out of their sockets. Their humor (or "attitude" as you put it) is their humor. If you don't enjoy it, or find it off putting or offensive, let someone else review the game please.

Relias27
Relias27

Well going by a 10 point scale.. I would say the music.. the animation of the..beatings doled out.. and the characters voices.. deserves a 8 out of 10... I personally gave it a 4 out of 5.. because the up's outweigh the downs in my opinion.. but others seem to think it's just another typical RPG etc.. so anyway.. 

Lunarfrag
Lunarfrag

If this game had the same tactical unit placement of Fire Emblem et al., I'd go back and play more Fire Emblem. Instead this game's thrills comes from finding out which units to pair and move order will dish the maximum damage. If this game focused on strategy it would be just 'another strategy rpg'. 

sonyfreak456
sonyfreak456

i would have given it a score from 8.0-9.0. Another sucky Nintendo 3DS review by Gamespot.

chyng85
chyng85

A must-have for me~ 

lamisho
lamisho

the game is probably too strategically straightforward so fans of those series who are not familiar with strategy games can still pick up this game and play it easily.

and the core concept of this game isn't about strategy its mainly about the crossover characters

nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

Reading Carolyn's "this game is sexist" comments in her reviews make me feel bad for Tom McShea and Jeff Gerstmann even more after they flopped Nintendo games.

IllegallyAwesum
IllegallyAwesum

I bought this game the day it was released, and I can honestly say that while I do not necessarily hold Ms.Petit's opinion (familiar territory for myself and others), I can understand it. This game is absolutely not for everyone, and I think that was Petit's point. If you want a fucking incredible tactical experience, go play Fire Emblem. Notice that Carolyn does acknowledge the host of content  and value for series fans before claiming that it is not her cup of tea. That being said, the assault on gender-based humor admittedly grows annoying.

Metronoid
Metronoid

Its more an 7.5-8.0 than 6.0

russelloh
russelloh

Ooo Carolyn gave it a 6.5? It must be a really good game then. I think I'll buy it next week!

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

Carolyn, please stop inserting comments about sexism practically in every other review and article you do. That's a 'tired attitude' you have there.

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

I am a male, and if someone called me "attractive but stupid" I would have the same response.  This isn't a sexist joke.

pyosisified
pyosisified

Carolyn Petit is a LADY who likes to do LADY things!!  

randante
randante

It's not a 6.5 game at all... I would give 7.5 at least

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

"she's attractive but stupid"

This is pure comedy, it something Kramer would say.

Frostide
Frostide

I gave this game a 7.5 it wasn't too bad, the story line is enjoyable. I really like it.

twztid13
twztid13

I'm glad I passed on this.

grbolivar
grbolivar

@danstrider "inovative[sic] gameplay"? I couldn't stand this game for more than half an hour until I got bored...

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@The-Longshot 

The demo is there just to show you what to expect, but the gameplay actually has a lot of depth, from the timing of your attacks, to the combination of units needed to properly execute a crosshit, to knowing how and when to utilize your XP gauge, along with having equips that could really make a difference. Plus my initial playthrough clocked in around 55 hours, and the story of the game (despite many complaints) is funny and actually makes sense if you make the attempt to pay attention. 

The strategy isn't like what you'd expect from a game like Fire Emblem, it's more about learning the abilities of each of your units, and using them accordingly (some are great as support, while others are great at taking down multiple enemies, but this game does not make it obvious so it's up to you to learn). If all you do is button mash and send your units carelessly forward, sure you'll win the first few battles easily, but halfway through the game, when you have all of the cast recruited (maybe a little earlier), you'll find that button mashing and careless unit placement will easily get your units killed and make the battles a lot of tougher and more demanding on your resources. 

mcquack306
mcquack306

@EtherUnion lol I don't know how to check but has there been any games she's liked? Anything above an 8.5?

NYSailorScout
NYSailorScout

@advocacy You are completely allowed to enjoy a game, no matter how offensive or non-offensive the content is. And you (or Carolyn) are also allowed to not enjoy a game for the same reason. 

Some people play video games strictly for the gameplay. Other people play video games just for the story, in which case sexism would trump a good battle system. Other people (like Carolyn) play it for a combination of the two? 

The only thing I can think of is that Gamespot make some sort of disclaimer about the reviewer so that we know what we are getting into! 

CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

@nintendoboy16"this game is sexist" WTF??? HE IS A DUDE >< who change hes genre to a SHE ( ugly She) Wtf???


The game is just lame in the story deparment and Strategic rpg core. Is  a 6,5 or a 7 but nothing more and is too freaking expensive and is because the Licences.

I_are_Cake
I_are_Cake

@russelloh That's what I was thinking. Whenever she gives an 'AAA' 3DS title a middling score, that pretty much means it's really good. 

thepayne78
thepayne78

@MasterOfSprites   Heck I am male and would have no problem somebody calling me attractive but stupid because the word I would be focusing on is attractive not stupid.

lonetac
lonetac

@abHS4L88 @The-Longshot  

I dunno, i played through the entire game and have to agree with the review.  Compared to other strategy games this game lacks depth.  The customizations are meh at best and you can complete the entire game doing the same 4 moves over and over from the same chars and not time anything if you dont want to.  The equipment matters?  seriously, +4atk and +3def or +10tech is no game changer and you likely will never even notice what you have equipped or that it helps other than the ones giving you more hps and more experience.  Sure you can time for crits, thats the extent of combat depth.  It really doesnt matter who you pair your units with, just pick one.  You will do just fine and there isnt any reason one is better than another or with another.  You just hit l and watch him come fight.  Thats not strategty, its gimicky.  I like the game, its fun, it looks great, lots of humor, its nostalgic but to everyone saying this is a trove of depth after the demo, stop lying to yourself.  Its not a bad game but this lacks the depth and strategy  of todays modern games.  And just cause it has your favorite char doesnt give you a free pass.

Project X Zone More Info

  • First Released
    • 3DS
    Project X Zone features over 50 characters from 29 historic game franchises by three of Japan's most prolific video game companies.
    8
    Average User RatingOut of 121 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Project X Zone
    Developed by:
    Monolith Soft, Banpresto
    Published by:
    Namco Bandai Games, Bandai Namco Games, Namco Bandai Games America
    Genres:
    Strategy, Turn-Based
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes