By Spencer . January 23, 2013 . 4:10pm
The mission starts with Soma from Gods Eater Burst and Ryu from Street Fighter talking about what kind of world this is. Players get the following teams (arranged by initial turn order):
Gods Eater team Soma and Alisa + solo unit Lindow
.hack team Kite and BlackRose
Valkyria team Kurt and Riela + solo unit Imca
Sakura Taisen team Gemini Sunrise and Erica Fontaine + solo unit Ulala
Street Fighter team Ryu and Ken + solo unit Devilotte
Units in Project X Zone come in pairs, but you can make a three person team by adding a solo unit. In the demo, solo units are set, but you can pair Space Channel 5′s Ulala with Ryu and Ken if you want.
Project X Zone uses a tactical RPG system. Players move active units like Soma and Alisa on the map using the slide pad. Holding B while moving a unit makes the character dash. The d-pad zooms in and out and rotates the map. You can also use the touch screen to scan the map and view other units on the battlefield. If you want to scan all of the enemy units its probably faster to press L or R to cycle through them. The bottom screen shows the turn order for all of the characters too.
The teams I saw in Project X Zone can attack enemies up to two squares away, so you don’t have to stand up to an enemy to strike them. It’s important to have an ally unit in your yellow (attack) range. This allows you to summon a partner for one attack during a skirmish. If you have a solo unit too, you can have five characters on the screen mauling one enemy. All of your team’s attacks are done with the A button, but you can change the attack if you press up+A or right+A. You call in a solo unit with the L button and a support unit with R. The key to fights is chaining your attacks.
While you can mash the A button, you actually do less damage that way. Every time you press A and input a new command you cancel your combo into a new attack. So, mashing A limits the amount of damage you do. When you get your XP (not to be confused with EXP for experience points!) full, you can do a super attack like Data Drain. Super meter attacks always connect with your combo, but you have to wait until all partner and solo characters are off screen before you can use a super move.
After the first enemy encounter, Sakura and Ichiro show up who Erica and Gemini recognize. Their reunion is interrupted when Ayame, a villain from the Sakura Wars universe, shows up with three alien-like creatures.
Project X Zone doesn’t waste time showing attack animations for regular enemies like Gods Eater Burst’s Ogretails or Space Channel 5′s Moralians. Since Ayame is a boss character, the game shows he whipping your ally characters. When an enemy attacks a unit you can block to reduce damage by spending 20 XP. If you’re an offensive player, you can counterattack for 20 XP, but counterattacks aren’t full attacks. You only get one turn for you and a solo unit to strike. If a character is about to die, you might want to use full defense which completely shields a character from an attack at the cost of 60 XP. Alternatively, you can choose none of these options to preserve XP for a super move, which costs 100 XP to do. Weak enemies do the same amount of damage as healthy enemies, so like other strategy RPGs you want to focus on eliminating units first. Incapacitated ally units remain on the map, but turn green so you can’t move them.
Since Ayame was the targetm I tried to ignore the small fry enemies and moved my units to support Sakura and Ichiro who were closer to Ayame. It took a few turns to move all of my units into battle position, but when they were ready I relentlessly attacked Ayame. Each skirmish whittled down about 15% of her HP (thanks to support units) and after two turns Ayame was finished. Victory, but that was only a slice of Project X Zone.