Project X Zone 2 (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Az Elias 16.02.2016

Review for Project X Zone 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Despite lacklustre sales in Japan, it's the success of Project X Zone in the West that was enough to tip the scales in the favour of a sequel to the Bandai Namco x Capcom x SEGA strategy mash-up. Project X Zone 2 is fan service at its best, with too many familiar faces from the world of video games to count, including a host of characters that weren't present in the first title debuting here. It may have arrived at a tricky time, though; with the next chapter in the Fire Emblem series right around the corner, does Project X Zone 2 have what it takes to vie for the cash of strategy fans?

It should be made clear from the off: just like the first game, Project X Zone 2's core appeal is its fan service, and it does nothing to hide that fact. This is a dream collaboration, but the strategic gameplay elements flounder, particularly because a first playthrough is remarkably easy. Rather bizarrely, two tougher difficulty modes can only be used after beating the game, which raises questions. Chapters flow a bit quicker and the story is a lot easier to follow this time around, but why the difficulty is so gimped to begin with, not allowing for the choice from the get-go, is strange.

As with the previous 3DS title, don't expect any riveting deep plot here; the priority is on delivering a humorous and outlandish storyline, and this is successfully achieved through an excellent English translation, where interactions between the dimension-crossing characters never fail to produce witty banter and laugh-out-loud moments. The source material has been used to great effect, highlighting just how much the localisation team understands the characters and franchises it has had to work with. With well over 50 playable characters, and then factoring all of the villains into the list, there is no shortage of nods and dialogue that will raise a smile or two.

Screenshot for Project X Zone 2 on Nintendo 3DS

With such a huge roster, it's a guarantee that personal favourites will cause the biggest rushes of nostalgia and most excitement. Seeing Shenmue lead Ryo Hazuki make his appearance for the first time in this series, as the iconic main theme plays, was particularly gratifying for me, especially with the continued references to his series as the story moves on. There will always be such warm moments with the selection of fighters on offer, but it's also a neat touch that many characters recognise or have heard of each other upon meeting, emphasising that interconnected game worlds aspect at the forefront of the plot; and as long as that is the case, anything is possible for future collaborations!

Speaking of which, Nintendo IP representatives enter the fray, including Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Fiora from Xenoblade Chronicles. It's a good move from many a perspective, with the former two being an obvious fit for this type of game, but now that this door has been opened, it only raises expectations and desires for a potential third entry… Dare I say: Link and Zelda..?

Screenshot for Project X Zone 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Battles and mechanics are largely the same as first time around, with a handful of little changes. Tile-based arenas taking the shape and form of various locations from the variety of video game series involved are traversed, with characters moving a set number of spaces each time. Unlike the previous title, character order is not pre-determined; when it is the heroes' turn, each unit can be flicked between before choosing which to move first, freeing up some degree of strategy. On enemy contact, battles transition to a new screen and three attacking moves can be put to use before the encounter ends.

Certain units are always paired together, such as Yakuza's Kiryu and Majima or Resident Evil's Chris and Jill, and solo units can be freely linked to a pair unit to create a three-man team. A linked solo unit can use their single attack on top of the pair unit moves, and if another ally is in close proximity to the currently used character on the map, they can also jump into the action with a support attack. Choosing when to activate solo and support moves is more about determining how best to get the most damage out of the team, where good timing rewards with critical hits and locking the enemy in place for a brief moment.

Screenshot for Project X Zone 2 on Nintendo 3DS

This is fun and flashy stuff, but rarely does it clamber into levels of hardcore strategy. Where Fire Emblem makes every square-based movement count, and equipment is organised to best take advantage of enemies' weaknesses, Project X Zone 2 doesn't strive to go much further than simply proceeding to engage with the enemy as quickly as possible and laying on the attacks. That's not to say some careful planning isn't involved; by not using a certain move in battle, it will charge up to be more effective next time around, so deciding to go for the weaker status-inflicting commands, or opting to save up a charged strong attack, are some of the finer points to take on board. It's all relatively simple stuff in the end, though, and although that is a great thing for anyone not big on strategy games and simply wanting to have fun with these characters, it's a drawback for enthusiasts looking for more of a challenge.

Make no mistake, however; Project X Zone 2 is enjoyable, and being able to pair up Ryo Hazuki with the Yakuza duo, or Phoenix Wright with Chrom and Lucina, watching them literally lay into zombies, is all sorts of glorious. Such a game has the power to even make you want to look into purchasing represented series that haven't been played before; there are so many personalities that it's likely mostly everyone that plays it will discover great newfound titles on systems both classic and modern.

Screenshot for Project X Zone 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

A delicious helping of fan service and cracking character diversity and interactions between one another is the reason to own Project X Zone 2. As anyone that has played the previous entry or Namco × Capcom will be fully aware, the appeal is in so many beloved characters, new and old, from up and down the industry coming together in an ultimate all-star SRPG, with references fans of the represented series will appreciate. The repetitious and overdrawn nature of PXZ has carried over here, and it rarely feels like much strategy is involved, but even with these issues and its naturally nonsensical plot, it would be remiss to overlook PXZ2; the very fact it exists is reason enough alone to pick this dream collaboration up, if not as a decent backup to the latest Fire Emblem entries.

Project X Zone 2 can be bought from today in 3DS card format, or digital eShop codes can easily be purchased for any region.

Image for

Also known as

Project X Zone 2: Brave New World




Bandai Namco





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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