Thoughts on the Upcoming Release of Project X Zone 2
I wanted to like the original Project X Zone much more than I actually did. Rife with all of the characters I would expect from Capcom, Bandai Namco and Sega, and a thick serving of fan service, the actual experience of playing the game was hugely disappointing. Save for a flashy combat system that had a smidgen more depth than meets the eye, it was a piss poor attempt at a turn-based strategy game. Featuring a stupid story filled with anime cliches and gameplay that was completely devoid of strategy, this was nothing more than 40 hours of mercilessly smashing hapless baddies ad nauseam.
To my surprise, a sequel is in the works. To my disappointment, it seems as though little has been learned from the first game.
Based on the 7-minute Japan Expo trailer, they’re really hoping for players to want more of the same. Like the last game, there’s a heavy emphasis on showing the cool combos that cross-matched characters can pull off together. New to the engine are attacks that give bonuses when they’re triggered together, while there’s also a new bullet-time feature that can make extending your combos easier.
Those are all well and good, but don’t address the fundamental issues with the first game. At its core, it’s a turn-based strategy game devoid of strategy. You have the options to create different pairings of characters, but basically any combination you create will annihilate anyone but the bosses with no problem. Much of the game involves you manipulating characters on a map, but there’s virtually no tactical advantage to where anyone should be other than numbers. If Ken and Ryu were stronger at fighting certain enemies than others, or Chris and Jill could snipe from long range, then positioning would matter more. As is, anyone can plow through with little consideration required as to exactly who does what.
They had a whole 7 minutes in the trailer to even just scratch the surface on improvements to this aspect of the game. Instead, they chose to try and wow players yet again with flashy attacks. Based on this, and the fact that even the combat stuff displayed here showed mostly recycled animations and sprites, the updates I would want out of this game probably aren’t happening. Until Project X Zone 2 shows me otherwise, there’s no way I’m falling for this ruse again.
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