"The majority of strategy RPGs have one major factor in common: they all tell touching stories of war-torn lands. Be it the powerful, albeit poorly-translated tale of Final Fantasy Tactics; the personable adventures in the Fire Emblem series that allow you to fall in love with each and every character; or even the hallowed Shining Force games, fallen from grace as they are today like all of SEGA's once-greats, the stories keep you motivated, and keep you playing. "
The majority of strategy RPGs have one major factor in common: they all tell touching stories of war-torn lands. Be it the powerful, albeit poorly-translated tale of Final Fantasy Tactics; the personable adventures in the Fire Emblem series that allow you to fall in love with each and every character; or even the hallowed Shining Force games, fallen from grace as they are today like all of SEGA's once-greats, the stories keep you motivated, and keep you playing.
Namco X Capcom (That's Namco Cross Capcom)is not like that. In fact, for such a freakishly long game, there's not much of a story at all! It's the year 20XX in Japan, and Reiji and Shaomu work for a secret organization known as Shinra who are working to stop phenomenon known as Quakes from opening portals to other worlds, which would throw Earth into chaos... somehow.
Of course, they fail, and thus a menagerie of Namco and Capcom do-gooders are thrown into a battle to stop the evil workings of the Quakes, and the bad guys behind their creation. Unlike those other crossover games, not everyone is trying to beat the absolute hell out of each other. Like other crossover games though, they still have no decent reason to be banding together outside of "Oh, we're both protagonists in our respective games and I've somehow heard of you despite the fact we've been in completely separate worlds until just recently. Let's team up!" Thank the hells that the actual battles fare much better.
In most strategy RPGs, the battles lack a certain amount of interaction. While Fire Emblem may have its rock-paper-scissors weapon triangle and Final Fantasy Tactics has its trademark Job system, At the end of the day you're still just walking toward an enemy and choosing to hit it with something.
Namco X Capcom is not like that. When you walk up to an enemy and hit it, you cut to a side view battle screen, ala a fighting game or even one of Namco's famous Tales games. Once there, you're given the chance to unleash a certain amount of attacks on the enemy before your turn is over. By pressing the D-pad in numerous directions and hitting circle, you can perform various attacks, the majority of which are based on actions used by characters in their actual games.
You can even be a cheap fuck and hadoken the fools to death with Ryu. It's Street Fighter II all over again!
Only it's not. It's Namco X Capcom, the game with an absolute shithoarde of characters to play as, ranging from popular characters like KOS-MOS, Ryu, Strider Hiryu, and that guy from Ghosts n' Goblins, to people you've probably never heard of, like this chibi lizard-thing named Kurino. Each one has their own unique attacks, but in the end they mainly boil down into about 4 archetypes: the short-range fighter, long-range fighter, a mix of both, or a healer... And even that last one is wholly unnecessary. Practically every character has a self-healing skill they can use by expending MP, which can be restored by performing combos containing all of a unit's available attacks in one turn. Furthermore, nearly every enemy you kill drops a healing item of some sort, so running low on HP is never a problem. Further exemplifying this is your characters' ability to defend. When you face attack from enemy units, it's merely a matter of pressing buttons in the direction that lights up on the screen to reduce the damage you take by half and restore some of your AP, which determine how fast your next turn comes about.
Yeah, this game is pretty easy, but it's also pretty long. It can easily last over 50 hours, with approximately that many chapters that each take an hour or more to complete, you'll be grinding on this one to see the ending. And outside of an Expert Mode and a music player, there's not much in terms of rewards for beating the game, so it's unlikely you'll pick it up again after plowing through it unless you're a huge fan of Namco or Capcom.
But despite its few flaws and niggles, Namco X Capcom is a breath of fresh air for the genre. by focusing on the gameplay over the story or customizability, Namco has managed to publish a game that is interactive in unprecedented ways. If it wasn't for all the Namco and Capcom logos floating about, I'd be hard pressed to think it's anything but a Nippon Ichi Strategy RPG.
And that's probably the best compliment I could ever give it.
Community review by espiga (July 23, 2008)
Espiga likes big butts, and cannot lie.
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