Project X Zone demo (Preview)

By Mike Andronico , Updated Jun 06, 2013 12:34 PM EDT

Can't contain your excitement for Project X Zone any longer? Namco Bandai decided to toss a bone to those eagerly anticipating the crossover RPG, as fans can now download the official Project X Zone demo from the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

The demo offers up a single battle from the strategy title, which brings together fan favorite characters from the worlds of Namco, Sega, and Capcom. Street Fighter poster boys Ryu an Ken and Kite and Blackrose of .hack fame are just a few of the duos you'll get to wield in this turn based affair.

After a few lines of pretty non-sensical dialogue (this game is heavy on fan service, story not so much), you'll be tossed into battle on a grid-like environment similar to games like the recently released Fire Emblem: Awakening and Sega's Shining Force series. Battle sequences are initiated by moving your character towards an enemy, after which the game will cut to a 2d plane reminiscent of the classic games that each publisher once produced.

Combat is a hybrid of real-time and turn-based, and is as simple as it gets no matter how experienced you are with RPGs or strategy games. After launching an offensive, attacks are done with a simple press of the A button and different directions on the control pad. Players sometimes have the option to call in an assist character, which allows for combo possibilities reminiscent of the Marvel vs Capcom fighting games. Just like in Capcom's recent brawlers, players will be able to use energy towards a devastating super attack that is equal parts flash and deadly efficiency.

Presentation-wise, Project X Zone brings to mind SNES and PS One-era RPG's with its clean, sprite-based look. The 3D effect adds a nice touch to the action, though you might want to turn your slider down after a few consecutive explosions.

Sega, Namco, and Capcom all have rich histories in both the fighting and role playing genres, and what truly struck me about Project X Zone was how well the game found a balance between the two. While a strategy RPG at heart, the improv-friendly combo system often made me feel like I was in the midst of a heated Marvel vs Capcom 3 match. As such, Project X Zone is certainly worth a try for fans of either genre, and even the demo is chock full of fan service for anyone who has had the Capcom, Sega, and Namco logos adorning their televisions over the past decade.

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