Project X Zone Review
Project X Zone Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Banpresto, Monolith Soft
Pub: Namco Bandai
Release: June 25, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: N/A Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Suggestive Themes
Simple Yet Difficult
by CheatCC Staff

Project X Zone is Namco Bandai’s latest tactical strategy outing on the Nintendo DS. Based around a paper-thin story that has all dimensions and time periods accidentally connecting to each other due of an evil organization, Project X Zone allows you to take control of some of Namco Bandai, Sega, and Capcom’s biggest stars as you battle your way toward stabilizing the dimensional multiverse.

On its surface, Project X Zone is a fairly standard tactical RPG. You move your characters around a grid, attacking enemies and trying to reach a mission goal before your opponent manages to kill a key character. Your goals are simple, usually killing one boss character or wiping the battlefield clean of all foes. If you were to take Project X Zone on face value, that’s about all you would see, and yes, it is a little repetitive.

Project X Zone Trailer

However, Project X Zone spices up the tried-and-true tactical RPG formula, with a battle system that is just dripping with anime awesomeness and hyperbole. When you decide to attack an enemy, you are presented with a 2D battleground, almost reminiscent of a fighting game. By pressing a direction and a button, you launch your character into a volley of attacks, which looks to combo your foe to death. Every character starts with 3 attacks and conversely can perform 3 attacks in a single battle scene. By leveling up, you eventually learn more and, as a result, perform more in battle.

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Chaining these attacks together is the name of the game. Each attack causes your opponent to enter a unique hit-state such as wall bounce, launch, flip out, ground bounce, and so on so forth. Your goal is to execute the next attack of your combo before the opponent hits the ground. If you manage to do so at the last available moment, you will score a critical hit and do extra damage. However, if you fail, your opponent will get a chance to fall out of your combo and begin blocking your attacks. Blocking opponents take 0 damage until their blocks are shattered by repeatedly attacking them.

Project X Zone Screenshot

To make comboing easier, you can call on support and solo units. Each unit in Project X Zone is a two-character team like Ryu and Ken or Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. However, you can assign a solo unit to each group, which not only gives then one extra attack, but also gives them a variety of new skills and passive bonuses as well. If you call in a solo unit during battle and hit the opponent with your main team at the same time, the opponent will be cross stunned, basically holding him in place at a specific height and making it very easy to combo. The same can be done with a support unit, which is essentially any other unit that is within the eight squares surrounding the unit you are controlling. Support units can be called to do a series of attacks and then leave, but hitting the opponent at the same time as a support unit causes a cross-stun state.

Successfully comboing the opponent builds the Cross Gauge, which is essentially your MP in the game. The gauge can be used for a variety of different things, including out-of-battle skills, ranged AOE attacks, and most importantly your opponent’s super. Out-of-battle skills tend to be things like heals, range increasers, movement increasers, and other buffs, though they are usually not worth Cross Gauge, which could otherwise be spent on a super. AOE attacks take 100% of your Cross Gauge (which can build to 150%, for some reason), but they don’t do nearly as much damage as a normal combo, so they also aren’t worth it. Supers, on the other hand, deal an incredible amount of damage and don’t cost an attack to use. They also increase the experience you earn at the end of battle, so there is no reason not to use them.

Project X Zone Screenshot

Cross Gauge is also the only way to defend yourself in the game as well. Every time an opponent attacks you, you will be given three options. You can either defend for 20% of your gauge, which reduces the damage you take, counter for 20% of your gauge, which allows you to hit with one solo and one main-unit attack after the opponent hits you, or full defend for 60% of your gauge, which reduces your damage to 0. If you don’t have enough gauge to do any of these, you are forced to do nothing and take the full force of an enemy attack, although you can choose to do this in order to conserve your Cross Gauge as well.

Project X Zone is kind of a beginner’s strategy game. For example, picking up treasure or breaking objects on the battlefield doesn’t actually expend your turn. So you can put a unit halfway between an enemy and a chest, run to pick up the chest, and then attack the enemy in the same turn.

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