3/11/2016

HBM Reviews: Project X Zone 2

Xiaomu: This is quite the party we have here. Good thing it can't get any bigger.
Reiji: Of course not, that'd be ludicrous.
Hey guys, I know this is kinda late, but it took me longer than expected to beat this game. But finally, the review is here.

Back in 2005, Namco Bandai released a strategy RPG for the PS2 title Namco X Capcom. It had an original plot that involved multiple Namco and Capcom video game series crossing over to stop a combined threat from their villains. It was a moderate success, but was unfortunately never released outside Japan. Then suddenly, in 2012, Namco announced a spiritual successor/sequel to NXC, titled Project X Zone. This time, it also featured Sega characters, and used more widely popular characters than NXC did. At first, it seemed like this game wouldn't be released worldwide either, but through the efforts of the fans (and Katsuhiro Harada, director of the Tekken series), it was localized a year later, though unfortunately, with some songs cut due to licensing issues. Project X Zone's international success was actually so much so that Namco Bandai stated a sequel could happen.

Lo and behold, 3 years later, here it is. Project X Zone 2 was announced at the beginning of 2015, and this time, was immediately confirmed for international release. Boasting a lineup of even more internationally popular characters, and no cut music this time, it seems to be aiming more at us westerners than anything. Does the sequel live up to the original? Let's see.

The basic plot of the game is the same as the previous two: An evil organization named Ouma is trying to merge the various dimensions of Capcom, Namco-Bandai, and Sega games, and it's up to our heroes to stop them. Led by Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu of the paranormal investigation organization Shinra (no, not that one), the various heroes come together to stop Ouma's plans, and defeat their various enemies, who may or may not have come back from the dead. This time, the twist to Ouma's plan is that they're using some kind of golden chains to merge the dimensions, and keep mentioning something about "harvesting" them. Clearly, this all leads up to something big, but I'm not going to spoil it.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as it was in Project X Zone. You have the classic SRPG overhead view, where you can move your characters, use skills/items, and later on, unleash devastating Multi Attacks on your enemies. Thankfully, this time, you determine the order your characters move, rather than it being determined by speed. When you attack an enemy, it transitions to a battle screen, with your characters on the right and the enemy on the left. You then use the A button, in combination with the D-Pad or Circle Pad to unleash combos on the enemy. The key to getting Critical Hits and racking up even more damage is to hit the opponent just before they hit the ground.
Capcom pls give Devil May Cry 5 kthx
You can also use characters adjacent to the attacking units as assists, as well as equipping assist characters, to increase your combo.In the previous game, if any combination of the assists and the main attackers hit attacks at the same time, it was a Cross Hit, which kept opponents in frozen in place. This time, Cross Hits are only between Solo Units and the main attacker, so you have to strategize a little more. Also, while the previous game allowed you to use all of your main unit's attacks, then one extra, this time you're only allowed up to 3 attacks from the main unit. Any attacks you don't use get a charge, boosting the damage from those attacks the next time you use them. So, while these changes are slightly annoying, they also add an extra layer of depth and strategizing, so I'm not complaining.

This time around, there's an item shop you can visit between levels, which is awesome, as it means that as long as you have enough money, you can buy however many healing items you need. Also, there are now challenge stages to unlock, so you can grind in between levels, if you want. Just these little additions make the game quite a bit easier than the previous one. Overall, the gameplay isn't quite as difficult as the previous game; PXZ1's later levels seemed to drag on forever, and PXZ2 only has one or two levels like that. Even then, there's only a couple levels in this game that are especially difficult, and most of the difficulty is in making sure you accomplish the secondary objectives.

If you liked the script for the previous game, you're in for a real treat this time. The localizers were clearly having fun with this game, as there's a plethora of references, jokes, and memes in the game's dialogue. You'll probably have trouble taking certain parts seriously when, all of a sudden, a character references something like Space Jam (yes, this actually happens). Thankfully, the game doesn't suffer for it, and I think it even adds another layer to the dialogue and characters. It's hard to tell which jokes were in the original game, and which were added by the localization team, but it is a pretty fun ride the whole way through.
Yes, this is an actual line someone says to M Fucking Bison... and it;s glorious.
You may remember how, earlier in the review, I mentioned this game has some more internationally popular character choices than the previous game. Well, some of the characters added include Vergil from Devil May Cry, Strider Hiryu from Strider, Phoenix Wright from Ace Attorney, Ryo Hazuki from Shenmue, and SEGATA SANSHIRO from the fucking Sega Saturn ads! New enemies include Unknown from Tekken, M Bison from Street Fighter, Sigma from Mega Man X, and BB Hood from Darkstalkers. There's even a couple Nintendo characters thrown in the mix this time, specifically Chrom, Lucina, and Tiki from Fire Emblem, and Fiora and Metal Face from Xenoblade Chronicles. Namco-Bandai really took note of who would please fans with this game.

So, how does Project X Zone 2 stack up to it's predecessor? ... I say this game's a slight improvement. With all the new characters, deeper gameplay, and no cut content, I think it's fair to say this game does just enough to beat out PXZ1. It's not by much, but it's enough. Here's hoping a potential Project X Zone 3 (they do want to do it) is just as awesome, if not more so!

HBM, signing out!

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