Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Demopinion: Project X Zone (Nintendo 3DS)

Project X Zone is a sequel (perhaps spiritual or pseudo) to 2005's Japan exclusive Namco x Capcom. This time the terrible two have allowed Sega to join them on their RPG/Fighting Game excursion, although their trademarked blue blur is nowhere to be seen!

This game was pretty hot news back when it was first announced, although it became less and less spectacular the more people got to look at it. By its Japanese launch nobody really cared what happened to this title, and I haven't heard much in the way of cheering about its localization, which releases in the US later this month. Sure, some people got a little bit excited, but bigger and better things have been going on with gaming, in all the areas where this game wants to be: crossover fans have been told about the latest Super Smash Bros. title, fighting fans have been ripping each other part with Injustice: Gods Among Us, RPG fans have literally dozens of new releases to choose from (but I'll go ahead and remark on the HD Symphonia Chronicles release), strategy fans are busy scratching their screens on Fire Emblem: Awakening, and 3DS fans kind of fall into that same group. Not to mention that each of the characters presented in Project X Zone have all had much grander things going for them.

Still, this is a game that I had personally been excited for (although I admit, I am still pretty unhappy with the lack of hedgehogs). Having been a rather active supporter in getting it localized stateside, I figured I at least owed it to Bamco to give the game a go. Naturally, I hopped all over the demo in the 3DS store.

To be frank, I'm an underwhelmed. Sorry, Robin, there isn't even much of a "Whelmed" about this. The graphics are pretty and i wouldn't mind seeing more done with the visual style and the idea, but I don't feel the execution is really worth going out of my way (and my wallet) to play in full. Mainly because this didn't feel like a game I'd play for very long. I couldn't quite get a grasp of what was going on, everything felt very convoluted, over-complicated, and far too fast and busy. It's like the game couldn't quite decide whether it wanted to be a fighter or a tactical RPG. Instead we get a really weird hybrid with combination input battles that only give you the illusion of control, but are really just very pretty animations and explosions that all amount to about the same thing.

I got the impression that they weren't trying all that hard for a game play experience and that this game really is just about explosions and fan service (not the boobs kind, unfortunately) which is a shame, because so much more could have been done with it.

Now maybe I'm wrong and this game is actually really deep, but there's just too much going on for me to even feel comfortable trying to figure it all out. We're given walls of text and fast-paced action side-by-side, and that's very rarely a good combination. Not to mention that the game just seems to randomly decide: "Okay, battle's all done now!" I know there must be some part to this that I'm not getting, because there's no way they could release a game this sloppy, but the fact is, there's just no incentive to "Get" it.

While it's cool seeing all these characters come together like this, the only two I know are Ryu and Ken, and they were kind of the weakest ones there. I mean, I also know Ulala, but she's not really on the map. In fact, this game does the weird (and absolutely hated) thing where it predesignates teams and you are unable to switch your teams around. Kind of a massive problem when the selling point is "LOOK WHO YOU CAN BE! EVERYONE IS HERE!" and then you don't get everyone, or they're actually only designated to cameo roles.

Ultimately this has left very dissatisfied, and I probably won't be purchasing it on launch... or at all. This is one for the Gift List.

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