At first, we expected this game to be a classic beat'em up like Streets of Rage or Final Fight. As it turns out, the game has short levels, with each one starting with some short conversation between characters.
It's a hack and slash game set in a 2D plane where you can jump between three layers. Your objective is most of the time to beat all enemies or simply beat the boss of that level.
There's a concept of chaining attacks here, combinations. To do so, you have to combine normal (weak or fierce) moves with special attack moves. Special attacks can be performed by combining an attack button with a few taps of the directional buttons. Each character mostly have four to six different moves, most of which are just stronger or more advanced version of the other.
A few other things you need to keep in mind when playing this game are the stats, your character's natural attack stances and the enemies you are fighting. Stats can be upgraded after every level you finish. It's up to you how you distribute the points.
As you progress in the story, you'll be able to recruit new party members. However, new recruits don't join you in battle as NPC's. You'll still be fighting alone for about 99% of the time. You will need to play in campaign to play as Ali, Zozo or Allegro, and in free play or bonus quests if you want to play with the rest of the characters (Drakkhen, Tsukikage, Sister Helga, etc).
Enemies are a mix of humans and monsters (not human-monsters, humans and monsters). When fighting humans, they are mostly knights or ninjas. Monsters can vary from undead creatures, walking trees, flying dragons, etc. Most enemies are gullible enough to just make you press the attack button repeatedly. However, bosses are very smart and requires more thinking to beat (they can kick-bu**, I guarantee). Harder battles will also require you to re-think your strategy and change your equipment. It's good that you can replay previous missions so leveling up isn't much of a problem.
Every character you meet, ally or foe, is added to the character roster in versus mode. For allies that you meet during the game though, you can use them anytime in both the campaign and vs modes. Using a different character in campaign mode puts together some of the missing pieces of the story (or just gives a different vantage point), plus the chance to play with different fighting styles/moves.
We find the graphics a bit blurry and doesn't work very well in stereoscopic 3D mode. The characters seem to be made of 3D models, but the camera never switch to any other view, making it look like just plane 2D. There's also a very bad framerate issue in this game, especially when a lot of enemies fill the screen at once and you have 3D on. It's also quite ironic that none of the 2D anime cutscenes were in 3D.
The plot isn't exactly what we'd call great. It's shallow, and it's cheesy. There's an interesting twist in the story towards the end, but it isn't something to get excited about. Much of the narrative are also just found in the beginning and towards the end of the game. If you're thinking of buying this game because you think it has sexual themes like Catherine, forget about it. This is something totally safe to show your wife or your girlfriend, just don't stare on Solange too long.
Code of Princess mostly used physical controls, even for navigating the menus. The touchscreen is used only to display the command list or stats during battle. It's ok, but we could think ways to make things easier for players. Like auto-executing moves for example, with a single touch on the screen like in Super Street Fighter IV 3D. Still, the game offers a relatively simple control scheme and it's easy to learn.
The soundtrack is one of the strong points of this game and it doesn't disappoint one bit. The voice-over actors and actresses did a fine job, it sounds like a typical Western dubbed anime. So for those who got the launch copies with the soundtrack and art book, consider yourselves really lucky.
There's a lot of different modes available in this game for online and local wireless mode. Sadly, there's not a lot of people playing the game online, making it feel so lonely to play this game.
Code of Princess isn't a total disappointment. It does deliver some moments of fun, and you'll somehow keep playing until you finish the game. It's really sad how the game's only community quickly dried out, and the slow performance gives us doubt with the developers of this game (i.e. should we buy another game from them?). Still, we'd like to thank Atlus for publishing this game and satisfying our curiosity.
If you're the type who likes to experiment combos while beating up multiple opponents, not concerned with a shallow story, and don't mind finding the online lobbies empty, then this game is for you.
Rating for Code of Princess
|Game Info:||Platform: Nintendo 3DS|
Developer: Agatsuma Ent.
Release Date: 10/09/2012
Price: $39.99 (Buy It)
Rating: T (Teen)
No. of players: 1
The GoodThis review was based on the North American retail version and played on Nintendo 3DS XL.
- Addictive combo system
- Lots of characters
- Simple controls
- Great artwork
- Beautiful soundtrack
- Blurry graphics
- Intermittent framerate issues
- Dead online community
- Shallow storyline
- Cannot play solo with NPC allies in campaign mode
- No 3D support for cutscenes