hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Project X Zone

Review: Project X Zone

2:00 PM on 07.09.2013 // Kyle MacGregor

A love letter from Japan

Project X Zone seems like something that probably shouldn't exist. It's a strategy role-playing game sporting an expansive all-star cast of prolific characters from the combined libraries of Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega.

That sounds more like the stuff of fantasy than an actual game you can play. And yet, here it is.

Project X Zone (Nintendo 3DS)
Developer: Monolith Soft, Banpresto 
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Released: June 25, 2013 (NA), July 5, 2013 (EU)
MSRP: $39.99

Project X Zone focuses its attention almost entirely on two things: combat and fan service. Despite being an RPG, much of the what one might typically associate with the venerable genre has been pushed to the wayside in favor of a much more streamlined experience. Battles flow seamlessly from one to the next, with little in the way to break up the action. 

Oh sure, there's a story. It's a bizarre little tale involving time travel, alternate dimensions, and a syndicate of bad guys doing bad guy things. It's forced, needlessly complicated, and, to be honest, not really all that important. The narrative merely serves as a pretense to thrust the casts of franchises like Resident Evil, Tekken, and Valkyria Chronicles under one amazing roof; and that's all that matters.

To their credit, the characters seem to acknowledge the absurdity of the plot. Teetering on the verge of parody, Monolith Soft seems to halfheartedly thumbs its nose at the incomprehensible plots which seem all too common in JRPGs these days. The comedy is backed up by sharp dialogue, laden with inside jokes from many of the franchises from which Project X Zone draws its cast. Characters make fun of one another's inappropriate outfits and reference localization oddities that should garner at least a few laughs from enthusiasts of Japanese games.

It's evident that the developers possess an extensive knowledge of the source material, showcasing a clear adoration for Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega's various properties. The entire package is one big tip of the cap to fans. From the expansive roster to the clever dialogue and detailed gameplay animations, Project X Zone really goes the extra mile to make certain players know how much it respects these beloved characters and franchises.

Missions take place on a grid and players are given an isometric view of the battlefield. Small teams of characters are represented by a single avatar and utilize this map for strategic positioning. It's all fairly typical of the genre, but diverges radically from the standard SRPG fare when it comes to the combat itself.

Project X Zone places more of an emphasis on action and style in comparison with some like Fire Emblem: Awakening. Rather than planning attacks out ahead of time, players take on a more active role in skirmishes. Each pair of characters has a variety of moves and set number of attacks per turn that can be executed in succession at the player's leisure. Think of it more as a stripped down fighting game than an elaborate game of chess.

At first, Project X Zone seems like a fairly shallow experience, at least in contrast with its peers. However, the game possesses more depth than players might initially give it credit for. While button mashing can go a long way, it can be a great deal more engaging than one might initially imagine. Much of this comes down to timing and choosing one's attacks wisely. Finding a way to knock an enemy off its feet then juggling them in mid air to negate their defenses is the key to an efficient victory.

Over the course of a battle actions will contribute to filling a meter that is shared between the entire party. This can be saved up for a devastating super attack powerful enough to help fell boss characters quickly. Alternatively, the meter can be used to great effect for lifesaving defensive maneuvers and counter attacks that can help turn the tide of battle.

Solo characters that aren't tied to a partner can join up with a team to form a trio. Rather than acting in unison with the rest of the group, they have the ability to execute a powerful attack once per turn. Nearby allies can be used in a similar fashion, piling on for an assault that can include up to five characters at any one time. These scenes are hilariously chaotic, as groups wail on an unfortunate foe in unison with a cacophony of fists and swords.

The battle animations were clearly the focus of a great deal of time and attention. Lovingly crafted, the developers pulled character's moves straight from the source material. It makes the combat such a joy to take part in. Chun-Li can be pulling off a kikoken one moment, transitioning into a spinning bird kick in the next, and seconds later you get to witness a horde of Servbots rushing in with a variety of bizarre attacks. It's amazing.

As much as I loved Project X Zone, it's not for everyone. The story is incomprehensible. It can be pretty repetitive. And those lacking a strong attachment to Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Sega's iconic characters might want to stay away. That said, this is a love letter from Japan that just about any RPG fan should seriously consider checking out.



Project X Zone - Reviewed by Kyle MacGregor
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Kyle MacGregor, Associate Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidKyle Tips
World-renowned selfie photographer. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Nathan D avatarNathan D
"Everlasting. True love. I am yours." -Rule of Rose T^T
Shinta avatarShinta
MGO's pretty fun! I suck at it though. I mostly hang back and just mark enemies and get the occasional sniper kill. It's pretty fun to be semi-useful with a very hands off role like that. Love my avatar character guy too.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Fuck Insecticons
nanashi avatarnanashi
they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
AARRGGGHHHH!!!, GODDAMIT!, fucking SOMA has crashed 3 fucking times in a row and I always lose ~20 minutes of playtime!, playing the same section over and over kinda ruins the tension! >.<'
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
N-Not that P1 isn't perfect the way she is! Isn't that right sweetie? Yes it... Oh, now don't you go and listen to those P2 fans! They just go around spreading rumors and pretending Hitler was just a handsome gentleman in sunglasses, that's what THEY do!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Persona Q has made me realize I really want a Persona 1 remake on 3DS in a similar style. A lot. A loooooooot. You listening, Atlus?
Super Mario Maker, the announcement of Sonic Lost World for Steam, and remembering all of the mods that got made for the PC version of Sonic Generations makes me wish SEGA/Sonic Team would make their own dedicated Sonic level creation game.
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey, is your fridge running? You better catch it. I mean, it has all your food, and without food, you die. Like, forever. You don't wanna die right? If you die, how will you watch The Good wife with your favourite bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Go.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
My local Best Buy is drowning in Marth & Dark Pit amiibo
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Spooky yet totally true gaming fact: the bushes and the clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same exact shape. #Spooky
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
It is coming fast AAAAAAH
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The newest PS4 update finally got rid of that bug where I'd get the "you can customize your power options" message every time I turned on my console!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Should I just pass on MGSV? I haven't really liked any of the games after Snake Eater, and it's being used as a money sink at the moment.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
[Youtube][/youtube] All the episodes are on youtube now. Also I never knew they got to do a season 3. Pretty cool. Now back to Transformers. Scored a gc to my favorite thai place too. Pad ahoy bitches. It's been too long.
ashamasha avatarashamasha
i have almost all the pieces i need to build my own Arcade machine... and the last one arrive this Saturday! Soon, one my childhood dream will became true!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Interviewer: Konami, why are you selling cosmetic DLC for MGSV? Konami exec: I breathe through my skin.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Project X Zone

  May 09

Can you handle this Project X Zone character spotlight?

It's almost my entire childhood in two minutes

  Apr 11

Project X Zone rocks out with an English trailer

Also, Limited Edition copies are free at launch

  Apr 05

Project X Zone hones in on a June 2013 release

Release date confirmed for North America

  Jan 21

Preview: Project X Zone is boob jiggling fan service

There are many sexy, chiseled muscles to look at, too

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -