Say you have several groups of good friends. Work friends, neighbourhood friends, online friends; each group great in their own way. You throw a shindig to get them all together. Why? It doesn't matter, as long as everybody gets together and has a good time. That's Project X Zone 2. Top GIF from the Japanese version of the game, because I stole it from Richard.
It's also the original Project X Zone, for that matter. The 2012 tactical role-playing game brought together characters from Namco Bandai, Sega and Capcom in a flashy, funny, almost completely nonsensical battle for the fate of all realities. I'm guessing the same thing is happening in the sequel? I'm several hours into last week's 3DS release and I've no idea. And I don't really care. I just want to see three generations of Tekken's Mishima clan arguing about which one of them is going to kill the other two while Morrigan from Darkstalkers summons Phoenix Wright to attack demons.
I've exactly the same feelings for Project X Zone 2 as I did for the first, which makes sense as not a whole lot has changed. The cross-dimensional storyline, as many excuses to bring together characters from different intellectual properties, doesn't make much sense. There are gold chains popping up in various places, dimensional rifts are appearing in the world. Characters from different dimensions and time periods are hanging out together, now and then kicking the arse of enemies of similar origin.
It's not the game's narrative that's important here. It's the interactions between characters who shouldn't be interacting. It's "What would happen if Goro Majima from the Yakuza series met Morrigan and Demitri from Darkstalkers?"
It's obvious from the start of the game that Project X Zone 2 is built around these quirky character interactions. An early stage features every ninja in the game's roster, from Strider to Virtua Fighter's Kage-Maru. They just keep popping out of this dimensional gate and talking about time nonsense and it's a beautiful moment. It's one of many, so far.
There are new characters and fresh interactions, but otherwise not a lot has changed. Combat is still an each timed-button pressing affair with plenty of opportunities to pile on with support characters. I will say that playing on a New 3DS is recommended, as the 3D effects during fights are quite lovely, with layers upon layers of spectacular sprites doing incredible things.
Let's see, what else is new?
Nintendo joins the fray this time around, with a pair of Fire Emblem Awakening characters (and one from Xenoblade) making this the easiest Fire Emblem game ever.
If seeing these displaced characters interacting fills you with joy, then this is a game worth playing. Without those moments Project X Zone 2 would be a relatively easy, mildly boring tactical role-playing game with a stupid plot. If you want depth, there might be another 3DS game coming out soon that's more your speed. If you want goofiness and spectacle, then welcome to the party.