Push the buttons: Project X Zone demo is up

Five-use limit is weaksauce

If you’ve been itching to put the SEGA X Capcom X Namco Bandai strategy RPG extravaganza, Project X Zone, through its paces, you finally get your chance today. “Demo A” — a combat scenario with the teams of Ryu & Ken (Street Fighter), Ichiro & Sakura (Sakura Wars), Gemini & Erica (Sakura Wars again), Kurt & Riela (Valkyria Chronicles), Soma & Alisa (God Eater), and Kite & BlackRose (.hack) — has appeared on the 3DS eShop. Just beware the five-use limit, those stingy bastards…

Having only caught the odd gameplay clip here and there, I possessed but a vague idea of how the action would feel in my hands. And to be honest, it felt kinda blah. You move your characters around the map in turn, enter a one-sided battle against an opponent, then hammer different button combos to execute a succession of flashy attacks that don’t appear to be significantly more effective at dealing damage than the last. Rinse and repeat.

The last Japanese strategy RPG I played was the original Disgaea, but I seem to recall there being slightly more actual strategy to combat back then. After campaigning to get this game out West, I would hate for it to end up being as dull as this boring-ass demo.

The full Project X Zone launches in the US on June 25 and in Europe on July 5.

Tony Ponce