Project X Zone: Early Impressions

Project X Zone is a weird game. The last time I played a cross over game was on the DS with Jump Ultimate Stars I picked up in Best Buy. It was all in Japanese but it had some characters I liked from different animes all fighting against each other a la Super Smash Bros. I remember that being fun so I gave this new game a try.

Oh no! Not a dimensional vortex!

Project X Zone is a SRPG that combines characters from a whole bunch of different games into one. The story so far is bulging and filled with a lot of exposition. Characters talk to each other and greet new ones that show up to fight. It can be a lot of dialogue before, during, and after battles. One thing that keeps them interested is that some of the scenes have spoken dialogue in Japanese. It keeps things from dragging too much.

Just imagine all that text in English

The flow of battle begins each turn with moving a unit in range of an enemy then attacking. On the battle screen, you have the characters displayed on the top screen of the 3DS and your moves listed on the bottom. The combat at first seems button mashy because of all the action that is happening. However that is not the case. Just pressing the "A" button gives you a 6 to 7 second attack.

Timing the next attack will keep the enemy juggled up in the air. Your attacks build up your combo and keeps the damage going on the enemy. Which in turn fills your XP, or Cross Points, for special attacks. Not to be confused with your experience points you gain. It looks odd when you are spending your XP on attacks and counters. Don't worry, they're totally different bars.

While I do know some of the characters in the game, there are many more that I don't know in the game. It's good then that the game has a database for all its characters, good and bad, plus info of locations and organizations of the games. This is helpful when characters talk about their worlds and you have no clue what's going on.

Hey Arthur! Nice boxers

This game is all about the fan service. Story interactions, the special attacks and even some locations and music are from other games. Its all over the top and goofy. And I like.

My favorite character is Frank West (Dead Rising). He has his camera and has even managed to take some erotic pics for PP. He is teamed up with the lovable zombie Hsien-Ko (Darkstalkers) and getting support from a dude named Bruno (Dynamite Cop) who looks like Bruce Willis. It's all just nonsense. I'm about five hours in and just starting chapter 5. Some might not like the light strategy involved in the combat but it's enough to keep the game going crazy adventure through different worlds. Watch some gameplay videos and see if you would find this kind of game enjoyable. I did.

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My current state of affairs: Deceased (State of Decay Spoilers)

I got a story progression bug that doesn't trigger the final mission. That might be a sad ending to my experience with State of Decay, but really, it played more into my personal tale of surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Very important if you don't want to get torn apart

My survivors had highs and lows. Like when Alcoholic Hipster learned first hand that there is a reason Cardio is rule number one. Let us not forget that one time when the Pack-A-Day Deadbeat proved his worth by taking out a Big Un. Those suckers really take a beating and a couple cars. How about Ed, that goofball, who started out being useless with even a 2x4. He became one of the pack's top dogs with his shotgun and iron crowbar combo. The list goes on. Hailey, my athletic powerhouse, hiking back to base with 4 M14s in tow. Oh, that was a good day. Maya, the leader, would often disappear and go missing but still managed to come back and bring order to the group. And oddly enough, while quick with a gun, she found more enjoyment getting up, close, and personal with a blade.

All these little stories added to the main narrative. But things changed after Maya helped Sergeant Erik blow up barricades guarding the army's position. It was painful for him exploring the fairgrounds and realizing that he and three of his men were left behind. The sarge promised that he would find a way to get us across other barricade blocking the valley and the highway. However day after day pasted. The sarge would be seen sitting inside a barn with his troops eating out of cans. Their stockpiles had dwindled down nothing. It was pitiful. He couldn't find a way for us. He had lost hope.

My group, on the other hand, was doing well enough. Constantly going out for necessities, rescuing runners, taking out infestation. But soon enough, it became a cycle. They were just surviving day by day. Eventually, they would run out of supplies and either try to find a way leave the valley or kill each other, if they hadn't already done it. I figured this is what happens when you're not the hero of the world. When you're just one of many on the sidelines dealing with the catastrophe by any means possible. Sure, someone could be out there trying to find the culprit or finding a cure. My survivors, on the other hand, have no choice but to wait and holdout until help arrives. Even though deep down, they know it wont.

Yeah, that's pretty F'd up but that's how my story ends in State of Decay and I like it. But who knows, maybe hope does prevail. But that's another story.

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My current state of affairs: Decaying (Spoilers)

The apocalypse started easy enough. The zombie outbreak had come to this neck of the woods and Marcus survived his first encounter. With his buddy Ed, they find other survivors holed up in a ranger station. Marcus decides to help them scavenge the surrounding areas for supplies. During which, he and Ed save an off-duty soldier named Maya. A very spunky individual. She is led to the safety of the ranger station. But like everything in the end of the world, it's all relative. They soon arrive to find the building compromised and Ed manages to takes a nasty bite from a zombie.

Marcus, Maya, and a bleeding Ed leave the campgrounds in search of help and answers. Fortunately, they find a little of both with Lily. With her radio, she leads the trio to a church where other survivors have gathered. The place seemed solid enough. The walls are reinforced with barbed wire. A watch tower guard looks out over the perimeter. What was iffy were the survivors. Marcus and the group needed to prove to some that they weren't freeloaders. So begins their journey of survival.

Planting sun flowers and setting up some lawnmowers could work in some places. Not here. Here, zombies are fast and burst through windows and doors. Scavenging for anything makes noise that can attract these unwelcome guests. Large groups roam the streets looking for their next meal.

Risks however are needed. The search for food, ammo, medicine, and other materials will keep the group alive and happy. Marcus and Maya tag team the duties to keep the base up and running. Marcus collects construction materials to build more cots to accommodate the surge of new people they rescue. Maya takes some of the frustrated or scared people out on zombie killing walk to talk things outs or help them out of a jam. These two become very influential and strong warriors. Marcus, is natural leader, takes the de facto leadership role. People come to trust and depend on him. Things were going great. If only they stayed that way.

While searching a house for food, Marcus was radioed by Lily. She reminded him to go pick up the doctor for Ed. Marcus was tired. He couldn't journey into uncharted territory in such a weakened condition. He decides to finish up clearing one last house before heading back and getting Maya to run the errand instead. Luckily, or more appropriate unluckily, for him, he found coffee. And without much thought, he drank it, perked up, and was ready to go. He acquired an old pickup truck into the country side to meet up with the doctor. It was suppose to be so simple.

Met up with a pair of brothers that didn't want to give up the doctor just yet. They couldn't move their injured little brother so they needed to fortify the old house they were currently occupying. And guess who they volunteered to help. Marcus had not time to argue. The zombies were coming.

They boarded up all the windows and prepared to be besieged. A shotgun could be very useful in a situation like this. Sadly the brother too drunk to see straight took it and proceeded up the stairs to provide covering fire. Big help. Two were left downstairs to contend with the frontal attack. From fighting off the zombies that broke through to continually fixing the barricades things were going alright nonetheless. Especially with the help of Sober Brother and his trusty pistol. Marcus should have brought a gun too.

Guns are very loud and with limited ammo around, they are only suppose to be used in extreme emergencies. Marcus never needed one. Maya carried one that she never used. Melee strength was good enough to take on a couple of zombies without much trouble. Why then would you encumber yourself with such a noisy boomstick? In hindsight, while it might take up space in your limited inventory, it's better to have one and never use it than to need one and not have it. On this day, Marcus needed it.

A horde is tough to battle with. Stamina drains with each swing of a melee weapon to cut each zombies down. Scratches and bruises reminds Marcus that he came ill equipped. The brothers, however, weren't as cruel as they seemed. They had provided him with some equipment. Molotovs made from their homemade gin. He had no time to explain how bad of an idea that was. Hopefully they weren't going to be needed.

Then the Neighbor appeared. Instead a shooting at him, Drunk Brother commented on how big he always was. The Neighbor came a knockin'. Well not literally. It was more of a hard slam as he could not fit through the door. With each slam he splintered the defenses. With no other choice, Marcus jumped out one of the broken windows to stop him. Having no experience with how dangerous a cocktail can be, he tossed it at the behemoth. Some of the substance did end up splashing him. Which in turn lead him to run around to put it out. This left Marcus further away from the house. And big fat mean zombie in the way of him and safety.

A breath felt like a lifetime. Pistol shots rang out. Pop pop. The beast became distracted. That was his chance. He ran. Slipping by and through the doorway. But that fat man had some reach. Grabbing Marcus by the collar, the zombie pulled him out. And in one fell swoop, he was lifted up and torn in half...

Fade back in. And Whatever His Name is trembling. He should be. That high skill of TV Trivia might not be applicable to surviving the zombie apocalypse as he had hoped. Good luck.

Time passes since the loss. The group has packed up and left the church for bigger accommodations and the group has grown. Well in that they are stronger and haven't killed each other. A big plus. Maya took up the role of leader and managed to keep things running even though zombie and human alike persisted to cause anguish. As the sun rises over the corn fields and morale keeps ever dropping, Maya can't help but wonder what challenge this new day will bring.

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