Review – Code of Princess [3DS eShop]

Posted: April 29, 2013 in 3DS, eShop, Reviews

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Many gamers enjoy the complicated mechanics which many games these days offer, with every button on the controller given a specific use. There are, however, those games which do not need all those buttons and a huge catalogue of button combinations to be a good game. Code of Princess is such a title.

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Code of Princess is a 2.5D adventure which has been heralded as a spiritual sequel to the Sega Saturn title Guardian Heroes, thanks to the director and character designer Tetsuhiko Kikuchi and lead programmer Masaki Ukyo of the 1996 cult classic being involved. The mechanics are very similar; you have a left-to-right brawler which can be played on three different layers which you can jump between at your pleasure. Unlike Guardian Heroes there is no branching of the storyline so the narrative takes a linear pace.

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As with most fantasy titles, there is some evildoer unleashing monsters into the kingdom to which a solitary hero, or in this case heroine, must step forward to cleanse the land whilst picking up a few colourful companions along the way. Our heroine is Princess Solange of DeLuxia who takes up the mythical sword DeLuxcalibur after her kingdom is invaded by monsters, and after her family receiving the blame for the monster attack by a rival army she is exiled and sets out to discover why the creatures are behaving so strangely and who is really pulling the strings. It’s hardly ground breaking as stories go but the main meat is in the combat of the characters. Solange, leaving little to the imagination in terms of clothing wields the Sacred Sword DeLuxcaliber, thief Ali uses quick short sword attacks, necromancer Lady Zozo (her body made up of “spare parts”) is the magic user of the group and then there is Allegro, self-proclaimed “bard-hyphen-sage” who uses an electric guitar style weapon for some very nice sounding attacks. This quartet makes up the playable characters for the main quest which is fed to you in cutscenes before and after each mission with full voice acting.

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The scenarios are broken up into short areas lasting a few minutes, usually having to plough through a few lackey enemies before a much stronger “boss” shows up. After each successful mission you receive experience points to level up and bonus points to spend on certain attributes to give your character an edge in a certain area or have lower stats catch up with the rest of the group. Your character may be really strong but really slow. No problem! Just beef up the speed stat and you’ll be a strong faster attacking machine. Maybe your defence isn’t so great now… That’s nothing a few earlier levels can’t solve. Grinding is easily achievable by replaying previous scenarios should the current quest prove too difficult or you simply want to beef up certain stats. It’s even possible to cheat the system for Solange by watching the tutorials over and over as they offer a small amount of EXP every time you watch them. It’s possible to play through the whole game as one character since you only play as one per quest but you would be missing out on the interesting combat options of the rest of the group. The combo controls are generally the same but have different effects and the key is remembering that one button combo can send an enemy flying on one character but will need different buttons pressing for another. These can be viewed on the lower screen so you can see what button combinations are available for each character.

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Although this offers quite a bit of replay action, naturally this treads heavily into the world of repetition as if you want every character to be at a similar level you will need to play every level as them, whether you want to take it all on at once or alternate between characters each level is entirely up to you. New and improved items can be bought from Marco Neko’s store later into the main quest but this can prove a chore as you have to select each character then select the store to see which items benefit who the most. There is no way to change character whilst browsing so you have to go back to the selection screen and go through the motions each time. The touch screen could have been used for this nicely but is sadly neglected in this game.

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Although suffering from a lagging frame rate when there are enemies aplenty the combat is rather satisfying. Pressing Y makes you lock onto the first enemy you hit, showing you their health and doing double damage to them. Pressing X unleashes Burst, which briefly stuns nearby enemies and for as long as your MP will last, do double normal damage, stacking on top of the lock on enhancement. This means you can be doing four times your usual attacks for a short time (or maybe a long time if you keep using your
bonus points to raise your Piety level)

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During missions you can unlock various characters to play in the Free Play mode, where you can play any mission you’ve previously played as any character or enemy you’ve met during the main quest. It offers a less repetitive option of gameplay with several characters with different attack styles compared to the main quartet and it’s immensely satisfying defeating royal nights with a little girl you met during a cutscene.

Local play can see you team up with a friend, either as a co-op or versus mode if you don’t want to fight any more AI enemies. The same goes for the online mode which includes a ranking option for the versus mode if you want to showcase your glory for all to see. However each person needs a copy of the game and unless this title proves a success you may have to forget this option.

With the main campaign lasting just over an hour if you play with one character, you won’t want to stop there. You’ll want to play it more than that, just to see how the other characters respond. It’s not the most varied game when it comes to gameplay but it doesn’t stop it being addictive.

codeofprincess_screens_batch2_02Pr0s
A] Pick up and play controls
B] Simple gameplay
C] Fully voice acted
D] Over 50 characters to play as

Cons
A] Repetitive action
B] Lack of touch screen use

Gameplay – 3
Playability – 3
Visuals – 3
Audio – 4
Lifespan – 5

Final Score

7/10

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