Code of Princess - Review
Fighting games have never been my thing. Memorization and the execution of the physical movements required to waltz is something I have can have trouble with, and as such, keeping the knowledge of which sequence of arbitrary button presses will beat the opponent before they complete their sequence of arbitrary button presses in my brain long enough to use it is…
It's a bit akin to teaching a feral cat to enjoy a bath. It's possible, but the ensuing trial will almost definitely A) be a waste of time for all involved, and B) require several trips to the hospital afterwards.
On the other hand, the half brother of fighting games, the brawler, is something I've been able to get much more into, something easily speculated by my love of Double Dragon and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game. The structure is a bit looser in brawlers, and while combos can be a part of using more powerful moves, they rarely go past two or three button presses.
So naturally, I decided to play Code of Princess, the 3DS exclusive brawler. Now, somewhere along the grapevine, I heard this game was supposed to be a spiritual successor to Guardian Heroes. Further along the the grapevine revealed this was a Sega Saturn game, and further still showed it was considered very good.
Wikipedi- I mean, the grapevine thus exited, and my purchase secured, Code of Princess arrived to me at a rare spot of free time, and thinking that between Resident Evil: Revelations and Penny Arcade Adventures 3, I may be able to squeeze in my latest acquisition.
I only played Code of Princess over that weekend, and I only played it for about 7 hours, start to finish.
Code of Princess concerns itself with four primary characters, each of whom uses an RPG inspired fighting style. We have Solange de Luxia, wielder of Deluxcaliber, a sword about three feet taller than she is. In combat, she drags the sword behind her when running, and brings it up for powerful attacks, often flinging them into the air and wailing on them Devil May Cry-style.
In addition, we have Ali Baba, a thief who uses ninja techniques such as smoke bombs and quick strikes, Lady Zozo, a necromancer who fights with black magic, and Allegro, and elvish bard that fights with area affect music attacks. Each character is fully voiced, and often speak in a very self aware manner, sometimes even talking about common RPG tropes.
Ali Baba: "Look, it's nothing personal, it's just, you're a bard. And by the way, yeah, it is personal."
Each of the four characters feel distinct, and I enjoyed playing with each of them. The attacks are easily made, with the move list at the bottom of the screen if you need it. Along with this, during the game, you switch between three 2 dimensional planes of play, much like Little Big Planet. This allows you to sneak up on enemies, or even strafe around them, to get into a better position. Overall, the combat is fast, fluid, and most of all, fair. There will never be an attack you can't avoid or a move you made that has a one hundred percent chance of working. It's all in the skill you cultivate, and to defeat the final boss, you'll need that skill.
Speaking of, all the enemies are distinct and easy to recognize, and there is usually at least one enemy that only appears in your current area. The boss fights are particularly interesting, with each boss colorful and characterized enough for you to enjoy their company, but just evil enough you feel justified in destroying them. The first major boss you face, and overdramatic ninja master, was a highlight of the game for me, as he continues to make appearances, even after being defeated.
Finally, there's an absurd amount of extra content. Extra quests, co operative/competitive multiplayer, even unlockable characters as you fill certain requirements. One favorite of mine was Sister Hel, a mace wielding, sadistic battle nun, but literally every character in the game (except maybe the bosses) are available to play as, even NPCs and enemies.
There are only a few major complaints I can make. A) the level up system can be a bit grating, where even if you play with only one character, after awhile, you'll need to grind with them to proceed. Which isn't an issue, but when you have 50+ characters you can play with, it can be a bit stale to continue grinding and grinding away.
B) Even though there is a lot of extra content, much of it is similar. Nothing so difficult as a New Game Plus or a Second Quest is given, just hours of extra missions in locations you've been before. However, seeing as it is extra content, I can live with it not being too extravagant.
However, at the end of the day, Code of Princess is an excellent game. The minor issues don't distract from an overall painfully delightful experience. And it is painful.
I haven't swore that much at a game in a long time.
And it felt good.