For those that know this game, if you are wondering how I managed to play this, let’s just say it involves computers, bricks, a duck, and Chappelle Show DVDs. That’s all I can remember when I went insane trying to find the game since I am not techsavy. For those that don’t know, Namco x Capcom is a Playstation 2 game that stars several characters from both Namco Bandai and Capcom. Now we covered some games from both sides, Capcom moreso regarding…THAT game, but this game actually doesn’t feature some of the more well-known characters people might have wanted, excluding a few choices of course. The game sadly was stuck in Japan, and according to research, it was because developers thought no one would be interested in the story. Granted, when you have Street Fighter, Tekken, Darkstalkers, Stryder Hiryu, Mega Man Legends, Xenosaga, and Ghosts and Goblins all in one game plus more, you know I would want to know more! To be fair though, much Super Robot Wars, licensing issues can also impact games like these, so the fact that we are getting Project X Zone is a miracle. Thankfully, we have a translation of the game that is playable, though that requires a lot of searching.
All characters are listed here, and going into each backstory, we’re going to be here all day, so let’s just speed through this game. And if you are interested, you can check JewWario’s video regarding the game. This is Namco X Capcom!
The story stars two original characters: Reiji Arisu and Xiaomu, two agents of a corporation called Shinra–
Ahem. Anyway, the game stars those two characters, original characters from Namco X Bandai, as they are on patrol one day, but much like with many other characters across the different worlds, they encounter distortions, and strange creatures leaving nothing but chaos and destruction. As if that isn’t bad enough, many organizations like Shadowloo and great demons like Gilgamesh and Astaroth are also dead-set on conquering everything, and that all includes an enemy from Reiji’s life known as Saya. Together, and over the course of your journey, you fight alongside many well-known and not so well-known characters, as well as fight against them, in an attempt to stop the villains from conquering or destroying all life.
The story I have to admit is a mixed bag. That’s not to say I don’t like it. On the contrary, the conflicts with each character and the worlds are interesting, the original characters are likable, but not always featured in every stage and story segment, so they don’t come off as hogging all the attention, and even some of the more obscure series manage to shine really well amongst some of the more popular series, adding both balance and entertainment; managed to get me to love the Stryder series even more! That said, some of them feel downright pointless because of their limited roles. This mainly comes from Resident Evil and Dino Crisis, which had absolutely little impact, and at best, a giant dinosaur. Xenosaga also felt added on just for the sake of it, as none of the main enemies aside from Gnosis appear, and their role is also very limited. It just loses focus on everything, makes no sense, and not all that entertaining to be honest. Also, Resident Evil characters are apparently from an obscure game to boot, leaving even less of an impact. Soul Calibur is the most disappointing one. While the characters do have more of a role, it’s not that much. The focus is on the sword in the game, and even then, the characters chosen are questionable. While I have nothing against them, I am just surprised not to see characters like Siegfried or Nightmare, who have more a connection to the game, at least from what I have seen when I played a SC game. Moreover, the translation for the game is really poor. Sometimes dialogue goes off the screen, and there are so many grammar errors, that it might explain why I can’t remember how I even played the game!
Visually, the game is decent. There are no epic cut-scenes between characters, so anything in the opening? The only cut-scene. Everything else like action and such usually takes place on the battle map, and while I do think it is kinda lazy just to do that, it is at least effective, especially character portraits and the music, though there is something off about the character portraits, but I don’t really know why. Attack animations are also wonderful to watch, especially ultimate and multiple assaults, especially characters from different series work together to defeat their enemies. Music comes from various series, and added pretty well, playing and changing as each character gets their own turns. Even that annoying music I hear from the Xenosaga battles is actually used pretty well and much better. Bosses and enemies though seem to really lack their own themes sadly, minus darker tones in the music.
Now for what everyone is interested in: the gameplay. It does feel kinda aged sadly after I got done playing SRW OG Saga Endless Frontier, but still entertaining. You play on over 50 stages, which includes the Prologue stages mind you, and you can play up to 16 character units on a map, similar to Super Robot Wars, though this time you can see smaller versions of the characters, while maps usually contain various graphics/images. Some characters are paired off with others to help balance or give new attacks, while others remain as solo units. The idea kinda works, but at the same time not as much, as the characters don’t attack at the same time, save for maybe ultimate attacks; this seems to be remedied thanks to Project X Zone. The best way combat can be described is kinda like a tactical fighter, though far less complicated than actually playing a normal fighting game and trying to memorize a ridiculous 180-hit combo that will break your thumbs. Some characters are also not really balanced well, especially KOS-MOS, who is broken to the point where I nearly wanted to solo the final stage with her because of how ridiculously over-powered she can be.
Why didn’t I? Because each stage also takes hours to complete, usually between one to three, and unlike the SRW games, you cannot skip over enemy attacks. When the enemy attacks, you are forced to choose a variety of options, and while evade is an option, unless it is a character specific skill, it will most likely fail, and your character will lose quite a bit of health. There is also the option to guard and not guard, though not guarding tends to be suicide, as guard seems to reduce damage by about 75%, though not guarding does give you the chance to have your turn sooner. There is also a button-timing minigame with the D-pad, in which you regain AP to gain your turn faster. At first, this isn’t so bad, a way to get you involved. Then it becomes tedious and annoying, stretching out those battles to the three hour mark. And that’s if you manage to beat the stage. If you lose, you have to do it all over again, much like in SRW, you can use this to grind for levels. That said though, I don’t think you really need to. I managed to beat the game just fine, and without even losing a character too. Things can be easier thanks to character counters as well, so if a boss attacks your character, and you can keep up the special gauge either through spirits or something else, some bosses become laughably easier.
Though don’t take that as the game being easy. On the contrary, it can be quite challenging, as you have to combo enemies a certain way to get combat bonuses and more experience while keeping them in the air, maintain your health, watch out for other enemies, etc. Spirits thankfully return from SRW and lend a lot to this, as you increase stats, and in combat, you can gain back health and MP through performing every move a character has at least once, so on top of air-juggling, you have to do that as well to gain more of an edge. Some characters though were incredible hard to air-juggle with, particularly because as you level up, attacks tend to change up, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worst. Still, air-juggling isn’t a real necessity, usually more for getting more EXP. Multiple assaults are also available by combining certain characters together, costing MP to perform, but are more to just finish off opponents as opposed to dealing any real damage. Then you also have to worry about the faint gauge, similar to the stagger system in FFXIII, in where the more you are hit, the more of a chance you can be dizzied and lose turns, as well as be vulnerable to attacks without being able to guard.
Customization is very limited as well, but very simple, in that you gain items through battles and treasure chests on the map, as well as purchasing items from the merchants in the game between stages. Each character or paired team can equip up to four accessories to improve stats, and consumable items to help restore lost health, faint, and more. All of this might seem much, and can even seem difficult to use, but using really was second nature. It might take some time to get used to it, especially with certain character units, but what you get is an enjoyable game where the only real bad things are the story’s inclusion of rather pointless characters/series, and the fact that stages can drag on for long, making this game close to 70-80 hours to complete. There are few extras, but nothing like a extra final stage, which saddened me. Then again, my chair was relieved from me not having to play anymore.
Overall, Namco X Capcom manages to accomplish what it set out to do: build a good game surrounding a lot of characters, though has a lot missteps with stages dragging for so long and pointless characters. That said, even though it does use a lot of seemingly complicated gameplay methods, it is pretty easy to get into, keeps the player engaged, and even all the stages make sure every character gets some use for one thing or another. Even if the stage limits do feel a bit restricting, it still feels right in not glorifying a single character above them all, even the originals despite them clearly being the main stars of the game. It’s not perfect, not even close, but it is an entertaining game if you can get your hands on it.
Namco X Capcom gets a 4 out of 5.
Next time, we won’t be diving into the other SRW game. Rather, I must approach a series that has caused me nothing but headaches, even as I grew to like it.
I’m Final, and I need to prepare the booze. Time to go fetch Falvador again.