More Tactical RPG Action in Project X Zone 2 - PreviewChris Matulich , posted on 13 October 2015 / 4,922 Views
When Project X Zone first released I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. All I really knew about it was that it was a big mash-up title featuring characters from various Sega, Namco, and Capcom games. But as soon as I got my hands on it I was instantly hooked. When the sequel was announced it was instantly on my radar and I couldn't wait to see how the mix of tactical RPG and fighting mechanics would be improved. Unfortunately, it looks like Bandai Namco didn't really change very much for the sequel if my hands-on time is anything to go by.
The demo I played showcased a single mission which featured a number of familiar faces from the previous game, as well as a couple of new characters. Much like every tactical RPG that's come out before it, movement on the field is performed on a grid, allowing you to position characters behind enemies in order to deal more damage. Project X Zone allows for allied attacks, which can be performed as long as a friendly character is close enough when an attack is made, which adds an additional layer of strategy to proceedings and that carries on here.
Where Project X Zone differs from other TRPGs is the battle system. As in the previous game, attacks take cues from the fighting genre, and you can combo up to normal three attacks, as well as partner attacks and special moves. In the first game, juggling the enemy in the air would allow for more damage and prevented its shield from recharging, and again Project X Zone 2 is no different in this respect. It's always entertaining timing your attacks just before enemies hit the ground (also causing critical hits), and it makes for a successful blend of genres.
Besides the inclusion of new characters like Lucina & Chrom from Fire Emblem (which also mark the debut of Nintendo characters), most of the changes are aesthetic. In fact, it seems that characters from the first game even use the same attacks. Rather than trying out a new game, it felt like I was jumping back into the first one with some added DLC. This doesn't by any stretch mean that the sequel will be a poor game, but some gameplay refinements would have been welcomed. I enjoyed my time with the demo and Project X Zone 2 seems to be coming together quite nicely but I couldn't help feeling underwhelmed.
The art style from the first title has been maintained and attacks are flashy and over the top, with special abilities showing mini-anime cutscenes that are surprisingly crisp on the Nintendo 3DS. But again, not much has changed besides some costumes and other minor aesthetics; the two games look almost identical.
I enjoyed the mission I was able to play in Project X Zone 2, but I was certainly left wishing for more substantial changes and additions. I'm excited for Project X Zone 2's February release on the 3DS, and anyone that's a fan of the genre should be too, but if you're expecting major advances on the original you should probably start tempering your enthusiasm.
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