Up Up Down Down: Project X Zone

Project X Zone Screenshot - 1152814

Video game crossovers have been happening for decades, and the novelty has continued to shine fairly brightly. Sure, seeing characters from different franchises these days maybe isn’t as mind-boggling as it was when we first saw something like X-Men vs. Street Fighter, but many times, a good crossover can still leave us stupefied. And that’s exactly what Project X Zone is: a good crossover. In fact, it’s a great crossover, and one worthy of being in the 3DS libraries of anyone who appreciates a good mix of multi-branded insanity.

On the latest edition of Up Up Down Down, we’re going to take a close look at everything that makes Project X Zone a memorable multi-franchise romp, as well as a few aspects of the game that may leave some folks scratching their heads.

Project X Zone - 3DS - 1

Up Up: Great crossover craziness

It’s obvious that the main hook in Project X Zone is the amalgamation of licenses from Namco Bandai, Capcom, and Sega. Seeing favorites from Dead Rising, Valkyria Chronicles, and Tales of Vesperia among others is an absolute blast. You’ll be hard-pressed to refrain from smiling and chuckling as you see interactions starring Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Ulala from Space Channel 5, and Heihachi Mishima from Tekken. It’s the type of thing that may not always make sense but still carries an undeniable wow factor.

Down Down: Story makes absolutely no sense

Speaking of things that don’t make any sense, the story in Project X Zone is one giant convoluted mess. That’s not to say it isn’t an entertaining little plot, because there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments to enjoy, and the dialogue between the characters is often pure gold. Still, I never really understood why anything was happening or what consequences there would be if the heroes and villains from some of gaming’s most famous series didn’t get along for a common goal. I still have absolutely no idea what the heck that game is about.

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Up Up: Addictive, fast-paced gameplay

Project X Zone isn’t your typical tactical RPG. Rather than focusing heavily on strategy and tactics-based mechanics that are a staple of the genre, the game relies more on straight-up fast-paced combat. Upon encountering enemies, the game mixes up fighting and RPG gameplay elements to create a fluid, intuitive combat engine.

Down Down: Tactical RPG fans will notice a lack of depth

It’s easy to see how the barrier for entry for Project X Zone is fairly low, inviting fans who just want a fun crossover title. That said, longtime aficionados of tactical RPGs will notice a vast difference between this game and popular series like Fire Emblem and Disgaea. It’s definitely not a bad thing that this particular game is so unimposing, but if you’ve been playing these types of games for years, it’s possible that you won’t take too kindly to the simplistic style of this one.

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Up Up: Great to play when you’re on the go

You could very easily sink hours into Project X Zone in a single sitting. That said, the turn-based map navigation and speedy battle system allows you to take the game on the go with you. Add to that the highly useful quicksave option, and Project X Zone is most definitely ideal for those moments when you’re away from home and need something to play in short bursts. Some titles, despite being on a portable system, just don’t feel like handheld games. Project X Zone doesn’t suffer from that problem.

Down Down: Those uninterested in the fan service won’t get the appeal

There’s a lot of fan service in this endeavor. Developers Monolith Soft and Banpresto did a great job representing Namco Bandai, Capcom, and Sega. Sadly, if you don’t care all that much about the fan service, you probably won’t see why Project X Zone is such a big deal. This is a game for fans of many of the included franchises, as well as for folks who get a kick out of cameos and crossovers. For other players — those who aren’t beguiled by the charm and novelty of characters from different universes meeting up and working together — this may not be enough to pique their interest.

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Left Right Left Right: Project X Zone is crossover awesomeness in the palm of your hands

Whether you’re a fan of tactical RPGs or not, if you really dig crossovers, Project X Zone is a worthy investment of your time. The game is filled with referential humor, and seeing the massive cast of characters is a blast. It’s not all cameo luster, though, because underneath the enticing crossover layer is a solid game that’s easy to get into and spend either numerous hours or minutes at a time on. If you own a 3DS and need something fun and fast-paced to play with a wealth of familiar faces, Project X Zone is practically a must.

Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.

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David Sanchez David Sanchez is the most honest man on the internet. You can trust him because he speaks in the third person.
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