Project X Zone: Triple Threat Impressions

Read our initial thoughts on the recently announced Namco Bandai/Capcom/Sega crossover JRPG.


Remember the RPG that Namco Bandai and Capcom did for the PS2 back in 2005? Of course you don't; it wasn't released outside of Japan. However, the internet was full of hype regarding the crossover at the time, and while not exactly a stellar achievement in quality, the game sold reasonably well due to its plethora of fan service for both Capcom and Namco Bandai fans.

Fast-forward eight years later, and the two companies have joined forces with Sega to try again. This time, with a title called Project X Zone for the 3DS. The recent trailer for the game--presented during Nintendo's press conference last Saturday--showed actual gameplay. This is what we could gather from what was shown.

Firstly, two-man teams of characters from their respective brands will be dishing out damage to enemies. X and Zero from the Mega Man X series? Check. Pai and Akira from Virtua Fighter? Check. Yurie and Estelle from Tales of Vesperia? Check. Space Channel 5's Ulala summoning the robot from Alien Storm and the flying gunner from Space Harrier for a cross assault of sorts? Sure, why not.

Ryu and Ken re-enacting a Street Fighter IV flowchart.
Ryu and Ken re-enacting a Street Fighter IV flowchart.

The enemies are also from the different franchises: in the trailer, we saw Dante (Devil May Cry) team up with Demitri (Darkstalkers) against a puppet minion straight out of the first Devil May Cry, and a glimpse of Street Fighter's gi-wearing poster boys Ryu and Ken beating up a Resident Evil tyrant lookalike using their brand of Hadoukens and Shoryukens.

Performing regular moves with your assigned teams during a fight will build up a super meter on the bottom right of the screen. Presumably, when it reaches its maximum, the team can perform super moves to deal big damage like Ken's Shinryuken. All of these super moves will feature short, animated cut-scenes of characters posing before its execution. While this is a nice touch, one wonders whether each character will have more than one special move, or even a tag-team variant of a special move.

Based on the screenshots of the game, the developers will be melding all the universes of each franchise into one unique world. In one instance, we saw the Chattes Noires theatre from the Sakura Wars games alongside Colby's Movie Land from the Dead Rising series. Of course, more characters and teams will be announced as the months go by; the developers of the project revealed that the character list is not final.

We suspect that it's just going to be an updated version of the PS2 import title Namco X Capcom, only with a bigger roster and stereoscopic 3D, thanks to the system it's on. The past PS2 title was panned for its simplistic strategy RPG combat system and its over-reliance on crossover fan service over substance, so the danger of the three companies repeating this design flaw is still there.

Will Project X Zone put in characters from old titles like Rival Schools, Burning Force, and Altered Beast?
Will Project X Zone put in characters from old titles like Rival Schools, Burning Force, and Altered Beast?

On the flip side, there's a chance that the three companies will actually do something concrete other than relying on the aforementioned fan service. Plus, having Capcom's Dante and Demitri taking on bad guys from Valkyria Chronicles and .Hack can be a dream to some, and who are we to argue, since these mash-ups from big companies are few and far between?

Project X Zone is scheduled to be out this year in Japan. There is currently no word on whether the game will be out in North America and Europe, but it may seem hopeful given that the majority of characters used in the crossover are recognisable among gaming fans across the world. For the full list of characters announced so far, check out GameSpot's previous report on the crossover title.

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