imageThere are two layers to every fight in Project X Zone 2. On the surface there’s a standard SRPG grid with little isometric sprites to move around. There are single target attacks that do the most damage and less powerful area of effect attacks. Attacks from behind do the most damage, attacks from the front do the least. There are XP and SP meters that govern the use of skills, cinematic finishing moves, and character revival. There’s a basic risk/reward relationship where grouping your units allows them to join in each other’s attack and amplify overall offense, but it also leaves you vulnerable to getting smashed by the many area of effect attacks and counters you’ll be facing.

 

So far this mostly sounds like standard SRPG stuff, but it really isn’t all that. This is a game that takes great pains to ensure that you aren’t ever really going to strategy yourself into a hole. Items can be used at any time during your turn, in any quantity, on any character. Any inconvenient flanks or overextensions can just be solved with a couple Apple Gels. The previously mentioned XP and SP meters are global too, and that also helps out. Rather than needing to build up meter on the specific character you need to use this turn, you can just go wipe out some mobs to get the resources you need and then expend them on the other side of the map. There really isn’t a lot of S in the SRPG part of this game.

 

imageThe second layer of combat is similarly light hearted fare. Once a fight is initiated you zoom into a 2D side view and pummel your opponents into submission. The sprite work on display here is absolutely marvelous and the attacks each strain to go further over the top than the last. For all that can look insane at times though, controlling the combat is very simple. You can (under normal circumstances) attack a maximum of 5 times and every attack will bounce the enemy off of the back wall or throw them straight up in the air. So all you need to do is press a button, wait for the extended animation to bounce the enemy in one of two directions, and then press another button when they’re about to land.

 

And if you mistime your juggle and your enemy lands? No big deal. You get item and gold bonuses for racking up big hit count combos and you get a few critical hits for waiting until the last possible second before landing your next attack, but honestly if you wanted to press random buttons that would pretty much get you through too. No exaggeration, it really does not matter very much which buttons you hit.

 

imageAll of that is on purpose. I don’t think anyone is coming to Project X Zone 2 wanting to play a tough as nails strategy game that punishes carelessness and encourages careful planning. I also don’t think anyone is coming to count their active frames and master a complicated brawling system. This sort of fan service vehicle benefits from moving at a quick clip constantly introducing new allies, enemies, and locations. There’s a tendency for people to treat “simple” and “easy” like dirty words, but they really aren’t. This game is simple, it’s easy, and that’s exactly how it ought to be. Sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

Ethan

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