Project X Zone’s demo released last night in North America and I’ve sat down with a couple of hours play time with it. Is it worth your download space and does it hint at a promising experience later this month when the full game releases?
Well that all depends on your gaming preferences. As a gamer that experiences a wide variety of genres, but whose heart holds a special place for RPGs and SRPGs, it’s something that’s entirely up my alley. However, if you’re a fighting game fan this game may also be for you. The fact is that Project X Zone is a wholly unique beast, that on paper SHOULD be a mess, but somehow manages to be fantastic.
You probably already know Project X Zone as that crazy smash up of gaming characters from Sega, Namco Bandai and Capcom. What you may not know is that the combat takes place in a grid, similar to strategy games, and like that genre you’ll be using skills and moving your characters around the board to attack enemies. Unlike typical entries into the strategy field though, when you enter combat you’ll actually move to a 2D area where timing and flashy attacks will be the order of the day.
Each pairing of characters has a number of attacks available to them which are executed simply by pressing the A button and different directions. Simplistic though it may be, timing is key here as launching enemies up into the air and working to keep your enemies staggered and rack up a large amount of hits is key to doing the largest amount of damage. In each battle you’ll also have the option of using a solo support character with the L button or bringing in other characters on the grid by doing a support attack, though it isn’t always the best plan to bring Mega Man or Dante flying in and when you do you’ll have to incorporate them into your combo cleverly.
With over 40 playable characters (with over 200 featured in the game), there is a staggering amount of depth combo wise to be seen here. Luckily players who’ve never touched a fighting game will be right at home as everything is strategy and timing based. Though combos and action of sorts abound, it’s all managed very well and balanced by skills you can use outside of battle. These skills are used by expending points from your characters experience bonuses. Characters level up throughout the game unlocking new attacks and such, but after each successful combat their combat multiplier grows. You can exchange this to heal characters, extend ranges, or even grope your chest in true anime fashion.
While the demo explains well the way to control your characters and the basics there is still a lot left unexplained. I’ve played the demo 3 times and while I have most of it down pat, there is a lot I’ll still learn when the game comes out later this month. Of course the demo itself only lasts one battle, and depending on your tactics, will take you around an 30-50 minutes to knock out.
Even though the demo has it’s moments of being unclear with some of it’s features, it succeeds in the fact that it made me excited for the upcoming release and insured a purchase. If you like SRPGs, fighting games, fan service, or just seeing Mega Man and Dante fighting side by side; you’ll want to pick up the demo from the eShop now and check it out for yourself!