This is Tom. See Tom game. Game Tom, game! A confirmed bachelor with a confirmed Bachelor degree, he spends his time critically scrutinising the hard work of others. His turn offs include people, places and things!
February 12, 2016
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Monolith Soft, Banpresto
I’m not sure what I was thinking taking on Project X Zone 2. Touted as a tactical role play game and boasting a massive cast, some characters of which I actually recognised, seemed to be all I thought I needed to jump into the fray. So, armed with my TBS skills (that’s turn based strategy), my 3DS and a couple of Final Fantasies under my belt I was ready to jump in. Or so I thought…
“This is exactly what happened last time I gate crashed a party. “
For those of you familiar with Project X Zone, my following attempt to review this title may be nothing short of insulting. But for those of you with no context of this game I warn you: THIS IS NOT AN ENTRY LEVEL TITLE! This is some hard-core anime nonsense. Even anime people would say this is some nonsense… and that’s perspective!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure this is a beautifully written game, an artful and inter-sweeping storyline, consisting of no less than 58 playable characters from an entire genre of Capcom, Sega and Bandai Namco games. But the actual battles and action sequences are short lived, and do you know what is between those 5 minutes of tactical gameplay? TALK! SO MUCH TALK. One line at a time. Even the Japanese voice actors gave out after a few lines into each scene. And aside from the occasional bit of saucy innuendo I have no idea what they are talking about. This is exactly what happened last time I gate crashed a party. And that’s it, I HAVE clearly gate crashed a party and EVERYONE wants to be seen. My presence doesn’t even feel unwanted, it’s unnoticed.
From what I’ve surmised, portals and gateways have been opening in ‘worlds’, and through it the various big fish of these not so small ponds have been dragged through. Teaming up characters from across titles, it is their mission to stop this… but first lets talk about it for 20 minutes!
Battle is an interesting hybrid, and while it may be common in the genre, it was a new experience for me. Primarily turn based, while enemy attacks happen on the map screen, protagonist characters attacks do so via a mini game akin to a classic beat em up. And man do they. While I feel like the word excessive feels redundant in titles like this, it’s the only word I can come up with. The visual is fun, the attacks well-coordinated between characters, and the weapons just plain cool.
Now I can’t leave off without mentioning the areola in the room. With so many recent topics regarding female representation in games, for those of us not familiar with these Japanese titles it’s easy to forget how much that is a western discourse. And if the conversation is happening in Japanese game culture, I’m not sure anyone is really listening. How these sorts of titles are given a PG rating is beyond me, and highlights that the absence of actual gore or full on nudity does not mean that there aren’t some serious adult themes in play. Did I enjoy such themes? AB-SO-LUTELY! But found myself on more than one occasion remarking ‘wow, did he really just say that? That innuendo needs pants, or at least a modesty screen’
Fans of the genre will most likely rejoice, and rightly so. This is a solid yet wacky romp of a title, and no matter who your favourite characters are they are given ample game time. But for me, Project X Zone 2 is just exhausting. And without any personal connection to the intertwining characters, ultimately disengaging.