‘Project X Zone’ is a delightful collision of worlds

When I first heard about “Project X Zone,” I couldn’t help but think of what a strange combination of cast it featured.

Street Fighter” and “Shining Force?” “Resident Evil” and “Xenosaga?” “Resonance of Fate” and “.hack?”

Why would somebody combine the Capcom, Sega and NAMCO Bandai universes into a single game? And how would it work?

It is a strange world, but it all kind of works. Of course, interdimensional beings are involved, tearing holes in the various universes and causing all kinds of crossover.

In many ways, the story really only serves as the means to an end — simply a method that allowed the creators to make a game that featured such an eclectic and awesome cast.

I have to admit that it really makes it a lot of fun, and playing through has shown me quite a few characters I didn’t even know existed; now I want to play those games, too.

Project X Zone Cover“Project X Zone” plays like a tactical RPG (a la Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics) combined with something like a fighting game.

I say “something like” because everybody has the same buttons to be pressed and the enemy doesn’t fight back during these particular scenes.

Battles take place on a map, generally a location from one of the various universes involved. I jumped from the mall in “Dead Rising” to The World from .hack in an instant.

Moving around on the maps is done on a grid, and each character can only move a certain number of spots. Once you’re in range of an opponent, you can initiate combat.

Each character you control on the map is actually a group of two, sometimes with a solo support character. Chun-Li and Morrigan, for instance, make one team. Another is made up of Ken and Ryu. Sometimes the teams may cross game borders, but they all seem to remain in the same universe.

Support characters can be placed on any team, with only one per, and help out during combat. Some of them also add abilities that can be used out of combat. These can be used to heal or give you more options during the battles themselves.

Actual combat plays out in an interesting manner. You have a series of buttons you can press that cause your fighters to do certain actions. Each of these will either knock your opponent into the air or against a wall, allowing you to combo them together if you time it right. Because of this, you’re given options as to how you want your battles to play out. During combos, you can also call in your solo character, or even a nearby pair of characters as support, to help finish off the enemy.

It took very little time to figure out how everything worked, but putting together a good combo using all of the available options makes for a very satisfying feeling.

It’s not really a fighting game and it’s not quite a full-on RPG, but it’s definitely a fantastic mashing of both worlds, along with all kinds of other great stuff.

As fun as the game is, the cherry on the top is all the fan service. It’s really awesome to see Mega-Man fighting alongside some people you’d never imagine.

My summer project: Trying to play every game from which each of these characters come.

Wish me luck.

This article was originally posted at TheMonitor.com.

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