Project X Zone 2 Review: The Neverending Battle


The sequel to the insane strategy-action hybrid, Project X Zone 2’s answer to what do you even do for a sequel is to pile on more. Lots more, and that doesn’t really work…

Developer: Monolith Soft

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Release Date: February 16

The original Project X Zone (which is a follow-up to was another crossover game that never saw release here, Namco x Capcom) was a thing of wonderful craziness. You think Smash Bros. is ultimate fanservice? Project X Zone managed to bring characters from all sorts of different franchises from different companies together for an insane and fun if slightly overlong action/strategy RPG hybrid. You had characters from Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, Tales of Vesperia and more all teaming up and fighting some of their greatest foes together. Sure, some were super obscure, and the story made little sense, but it put solid battle mechanics along with wacky humor and the kind of super fanboy team ups you might’ve dreamt of in your youth. Why yes, I do get a kick out of seeing Mega Man blowing up M. Bison!

Of course, then the problem is, what do you do for a sequel? More characters, bigger battles? A story that makes even less sense? The answer to all of these for Project X Zone 2 is yes. Ultimately, I feel not only are there a couple of missed opportunities in Project X Zone 2, but its answer of “bigger is better” is very much to the game’s detriment.

Credit: Bandai Namco /

Where Everything Is Made Up And The Points Don’t Matter

Most of the gang is back together again for Project X Zone 2, but there are some notable new faces as well, namely Strider, Axel from the Streets of Rage series, Chrom & Lucina from the Fire Emblem series and Phoenix Wright. It’s fun and ridiculous to see these characters interact, and Project X Zone 2 has some great ideas about characters from different franchises knowing each other and being friends.

So in a game like this, the story shouldn’t be horribly important, and the problem is Project X Zone 2 is loaded with tons of ridiculous expository dialogue trying to explain what’s going on, and even then doesn’t do a great job explaining it, because I still don’t completely know. Gold chains are coming from the sky, and they do… something? Sorry, I zipped past the 80 lines of text you had explaining this every other chapter. I feel like you could’ve gotten the same point across by just saying the bad guys want the gold chains, let’s not let them get the gold chains, had no further explanation, and still gotten your point across.

Credit: Bandai Namco /

Bigger, Stronger, But Not Faster

Much like the first Project X Zone, Project X Zone 2 features turn-based combat, but with an action twist. When your characters fight, you perform button combos to perform your attacks. You needn’t worry if your not good at fighting game-esque combos, as there is a little timing involved for optimum damage, but the moves are incredibly simple (left+A, up+A, Y for special, etc.). The real strategy comes in with trying to figure out when to best use your supers and trying to stun or poison dangerous enemies with certain moves so they’ll be less of a threat. And it might sound complex, but it plays out very simply; maybe a little too simple, in fact.

More from 3DS

Your units consist of two primary characters (usually from the same franchise) and a solo units you gain as the story goes you can swap out. It’s a decent level of customization, but I would’ve loved the ability to just freely swap all characters, that would allow for some crazy combinations and help keep things fresh during the long battles.

Credit: Bandai Namco /

Not long after the start, every single battle follows the same formula of initially you face a small group of enemies, then we pile on 4 or 5 bosses with tons of hit points. But it’s never challenging, so it just gets tedious.

Regarding battle, I’d say you probably have seen everything Project X Zone 2 really has to offer by Chapter 15 or so, the problem there is that goes on for another 27 chapters. And where the original game had incredibly long battles by the end, Project X Zone 2’s battles start out long and get longer to the point of some taking over 2 hours by endgame. Not long after the start, every single battle follows the same formula of initially you face a small group of enemies, then we pile on 4 or 5 bosses with tons of hit points. But it’s never challenging, so it just gets tedious. They do try to mix it up a bit with some levels having different objectives like not letting enemies near a space on the map or keeping certain characters alive, but again the lack of challenge makes levels with these objectives feel incredibly dragged out. If each battle was say 30-45 minutes, I don’t think would’ve noticed and just had a blast, but this facet of the game makes it an incredible slog to get through, and it makes the novelty wear off all that much quicker.

The saving grace of the battles is the colorful attacks. It gets close to getting boring, but it can also be pretty satisfying pulling off an impressive looking barrage of attacks that take an insane amount of health of an enemy. Your most powerful units can sometimes take out a boss in by themselves in just a couple of turns if you do right, which is usually a satisfying feeling.

Credit: Bandai Namco /

Far Too Much of A Good Thing

6.5. <em>Project X Zone 2</em>‘s emphasis on more, more, more of everything just makes me think how much better an experience it could’ve been if it was less, less, less. Fewer chapters, shorter battles. At around 25 hours, with short, tense tactical battles, this could’ve been a great time. But pushing 50+ hours and each chapter just being a long slog it nearly wears out it’s welcome. But note I said nearly. <em>Project X Zone 2</em> manages to be a perfectly functional experience that I did overall have a good time with, but there’s no way I’d recommend it over the deluge of strong RPGs available on the 3DS (especially turn-based strategy ones) unless you are just dying for some crossover action so bizarre that you’d normally only find it in fanfiction.. Monolith Soft. . Project x Zone 2

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