This is a column by Kat Bailey dedicated to the analysis of the once beloved Japanese RPG sub-genre. Tune in every Wednesday for thoughts on white-haired villains, giant robots, Infinity+1 swords, and everything else the wonderful world of JRPGs has to offer.Out of all Namco Bandai's crossover strategy games (and there are even more than you think), I can honestly say that I wasn't expecting to see Project X Zone announced for a North American release.
I knew that it was anticipated in some quarters, mainly for its solid sprite art and crossover with Sega and Capcom. I knew that it would enjoy solid word of mouth with hardcore RPG fans. But Namco Bandai has always been coy with the crossover strategy games, no matter how much buzz they would generate. Seeing one actually get announced kind of makes my head spin.
Now, before I get into why Project X Zone has a chance to be pretty good, I think it's fair to temper expectations a little bit. Namco Bandai has been down this road before, most notably with Namco X Capcom on the PlayStation 2. That game, which is basically the predecessor to Project X Zone, wasn't very good. It had a nice cast, but it took too long to clear individual maps, and it was really repetitive. It had plenty of flash, but no substance to speak of.
Project X Zone borrows a lot from Namco X Capcom, so it's fair to wonder if it will have the same failings. Frankly, the jury is still out on that front. I did, however, get a chance to play it a little bit last week, and I enjoyed what I saw. It may even be a signal of good things to come for Namco Bandai.