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8/13/2013

REVIEW - Code of Princess (3DS)


When Code of Princess first came out, I was really excited about it. It looked like one of those obscure but awesome Japanese games that always make their sneaky way to portable consoles without many people noticing. I immediately started to pay attention to it until I finally bought and played it. Now that I’m done with it I can say that despite the game being pretty good and solid, I am slightly disappointed with the final result.

Code of Princess is a 2D brawler with RPG stats mixed in. It reminds me a lot of old-school games like Double Dragon or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games for the NES that put us in a 2D space with a single character, or a friend, to fight hordes of enemies and a boss battle here and there. This game is just like that but some aspects make it a modern version of those two I just mentioned like for example 3D effects, a leveling-up system that allows you to freely upgrade the stats you want and an anime-style for the visuals that is very common in many Japanese games in the present.


There’s a story to be told in Code of Princess. The game takes place in the medieval kingdom of DeLuxia and the protagonist is Princess Solange, a very beautiful blonde girl with big breasts and a ridiculously skimpy outfit that uses a huge sword called DeLuxcalibur and goes on a journey to save the land after an evil Queen takes the throne with an army of knights and monsters. In the journey, Solange will make several friends and enemies like a thief called Ali, a bard named Allegro and a zombie-like necromancer girl called Zozo and we’ll get a chance to play as any of them.

The story is very generic and not very interesting to be honest. It’s the usual tale about a princess fighting for justice and good and friendship and eventually winning against evil. Code of Princess tries to add humor to the formula with characters that make silly jokes almost all the time and that don’t seem to take the adventure seriously. In fact, the game itself doesn’t seem to take itself seriously at all, which can be nice but I honestly didn’t find it very funny and the low-quality English voice-acting doesn’t help it get any better. I wish there was an option to play in Japanese. What a shame.


Musically, Code of Princess is nice and some of the songs are catchy so if you’re lucky you should have an OST CD that comes with all physical copies of the game (I think). I believe it’d be very nice if most games these days were sold like this. Code of Princess comes not only with an audio CD, but with a small but pretty art book with the backgrounds and profiles for the important characters in the game and a pretty box with everything inside.

In gameplay, the game is a 2D brawler like I just mentioned. You pick up a character, add some equipment to him/her and then go to a stage to fulfill some objectives like killing all the enemies, defeating a boss, protect someone or just survive a specific amount of time. There are three layers of depth in the stage that can be changed pressing R+Up or R+Down, this allows you to evade attacks, chase an enemy in a different layer from yours or run away if you need to. It’s nice because some characters can take advantage of it when attacking while others, like Solange herself are very linear when fighting.


There are several different stages to visit, like forests, graveyards, towns and castles and they usually have objects to break to grab some items and some can be very long. The stages look pretty but nowhere near what could be considered good graphics in a 3DS game, this brings me to the whole visual aspect. The game is definitely pretty but I can’t help but feel that this looks like a DS game with a 3D effect put in for the sake of it. The characters are just 2D sprites that while well-animated, don’t look very good for a 3DS game. This is a shame because the character models could have been very cool.

Each of the playable characters has their own moves, style and attributes. For example, Solange, the princess, uses a sword so she’s naturally a melee-oriented fighter that deals tons of damage up-close with fantastic combos. Zozo, the necromancer, casts spells with area-of-effect damage that can hurt enemies even if they’re in a different layer. Others are faster, have longer combos, ranged attacks and such. In total there are about 50 characters to play with including silly things like enemy models and townspeople that are useless so in reality, there are about 10 to 15 good characters to play with.


Besides the single-player campaign, there’s a free play mode that allows you to play any stage with any character just to level up or have fun. There are also some extra quests added for challenge. Code of Princess also has local co-op so you can play any stage with a friend and online multiplayer includes both cooperative and competitive play over the net, if you’re lucky to find anyone to play this with.

In short, Code of Princess is definitely one of those nice but very obscure and rare Japanese portable games like I said in the beginning. But this is surely not an underrated gem or a cult classic. It’s a very good game that can be extremely fun by yourself and better yet, if you find someone to play it with. Sadly, the mediocre graphics and voice-acting hinder the experience by a lot. Still, I believe it’s a game that deserves an opportunity and I consider it a very nice addition to anyone’s 3DS library.


Pros:

-          Very fun brawler and RPG gameplay.
-          Lots of different characters to choose from.
-          The game comes with an audio CD and small art book.
-          Catchy soundtrack and pretty anime art style.

Cons:

-          Online multiplayer is a barren wasteland.
-          Graphics are mediocre.
-          The game tries to be funny, but it isn’t.
-          English voice-acting isn’t good.


-          Graphics and Visuals………...5
-          Music and Sound Effects….....7
-          Gameplay……………………8
-          Replay Value…………….…..8


-          Overall Score……………….. 7 / 10

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