Back when Project X Zone was released a couple of years ago on the Nintendo 3DS, it was quite a weird game though it has very decent strategy-RPG elements featuring characters from different games. While it was not perfect at the time due to flaws such as a slow-paced progression, the newly released sequel somewhat improves upon it, while still making the combat system fun and intact. For many fans of the first game hoping that the sequel will be a major turnaround for the franchise, prepare to be somewhat disappointed as Project X Zone 2 does very little to make it a must-have title.
One of the things that makes Project X Zone an appealing title is the characters that appear in the game. From various different gaming companies like Sega, Bandai Namco, and Capcom, several of their key franchise characters make an appearance in this game. The majority of the returning characters from the first game are here like Chris Redfield, and Strider Hiryu, while there are a few new additions to the game too. One big surprise for me is seeing Fire Emblem characters appear in the game like to Chrom and Lucina. Not to mention Metal Face from Xenoblade Chronicles also makes an appearance as well. With so many characters from different games, Project X Zone 2 is great fan service to many of the franchises that are featured in the game.
With so many characters that are playable in the game, players are able to pair their favorite characters. It really doesn’t matter which characters that you pair with as they can go solo for the most part or pair them with other characters from different franchises to see if they work well together or not. At the beginning of the game, players will be forced to team up with certain characters but as you progress through the later chapters, players will gain more freedom with their units. Unlike the limited customization from the first game, the sequel now gives the player to buy skills via the CP points that they earn in battle. With the CP points, players will be able to boost characters’ attacks and purchase skills that they can use. As with other RPG games, customization is a big thing and it’s nice to see that sequel finally adopted it. The only downside that I still find to be apparent in the game is the lack of weapons and other items that can be equipped. Sure, there are accessories but it would be cool if each character has a unique weapon that they can equip.
When it comes to the story, it’s not the best that you will see in a RPG game. Just like its predecessor, the story in Project X Zone 2 is quite stale and dull. For those who have played the first game, the sequel continues where it left off. With gold chains now appearing all over the world, portals from different dimensions are appearing. Characters from the past are coming to the future, vice versa, or to wreck havoc. The characters from the different franchises will work together to find the source and put a stop to it once and for all. While the premise sounds somewhat interesting, going through with the story will be a slight drag. Assuming you can go through the twenty hours of gameplay, the story that the game offers is something worth seeing and much better than the first game.
As far as gameplay goes, it plays somewhat the same as its predecessor. The game is structured in several chapters with a lot of conversations. As it ends, players will engage in a grid-like battle system similar as to what is expected in a strategy RPG game. During battle, the characters in party can do several moves and combos. To make it more fancy, players can do special attacks by pressing the L or R buttons. In terms of combat, it’s more of the same with the addition of the CP points that players earn at the end of each fight.
Visually, the game looks appalling and not much has been improved. Sprites from the first game have been reused, and so are the environments. For those who have played the first game, players will notice that nothing has changed and it looks like the developer reused a lot of the assets, which is quite disappointing as I was hoping that the game will look a lot better this time around. Though, it’s nice to see new characters like the ones from Tales of Xillia appear in the game. As for its soundtrack, the music is quite catchy and an improvement from its predecessor.
If there are things that I am most annoyed about, it’s that there are too many conversations in the game. While conversations are quite beefy and heavy, there are times that it gets annoying reading through it. For the most part, the conversations are dumb, and it’s better to skip it and head straight to battle. The progression is slow at times and the big drawback of this game is the repetitiveness.
Fans of the original game who are looking for something unique in Project X Zone 2 will be disappointed. Sure, the game offers a brand new story but the stale storytelling can be a drag. Though when it comes to the combat system, it’s quite fun and enjoyable, especially seeing some of the most favorite characters from key franchises of several companies.
[Editor’s Note:Â Project X Zone 2 was reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]