Looks like Kyle managed to beat me to it this time around but I thought I'd post this review up anyway.
Well, this is a difficult one. I had planned to post this last week but wanted more time to progress more into it to ensure that I had a good grasp of what the game had to offerÖ Then the Destiny beta happened. Oh well, I did progress a fair bit so here goes with a mini review of Battle Princess of Arcadias.
Now, this is where things gets wierd because itís very hard to peg what kind of game battle princess is. Itís published by Nippon Ichi Software but lacks a certain polish to its designs as well.
First, lets go into how the game looks. The story is presented in a stage like setting so if youíve played puppeteer, itís very similar. Graphics are drawn similar to waterpaintings for the backgrounds but with more vibrant colours. Characters are very basic but distinct. Overall, the look is pretty good in stills. Itís when they start moving where there are problems. The characters in particular, are oddly animated. They move as though they are puppets on strings so the arms and legs appear to stay stiff and rotate around a specific point to appear as though they are moving on the spot.
Gameplay-wise, it gets weird. Basically, itís a scrolling fighting game with RPG elements. At itís core, itís most similar to the PS2 Game Odin Sphere with some major differences. Chiefly, there are three different types of stages; Combat, skirmish and Siege.
Combat is the one closest to odin sphere. You control one character and move through the stage and kill all enemies. However, at the start of the stage, you pick 3 characters from your †available cast and can freely swap between them in battle. Most characters have different weapons with different properties but there are a couple of duplicates who use the same weapons as other characters. They still retain original moves though.
Skirmish is a different take on things where you take on an enemy army with your own. Each weapon type allows you to command a unit consisting of users of that particular weapon and their levels are determined by how much money you use to upgrade them and the level of your character which uses the same weapon. So if one of your characters is level 10, you can raise the level of the unit to level 10. This is important! Combat wise, itís fairly automatic as your units will automatically march in the background and attack the enemy. You can give them basic commands just as all out attack or defend as well as swap to the next unit in line but you are also in control of your own character who is attacking units in the foreground. Defeating these will provide small bonuses to your unit. Overall, most of the work is done by your units rather than yourself.
Siege is basically a boss battle. You send 3 of your characters to battle a large enemy and are accompanied with 150 units from your army. With this army, you need to break the shield surrounding the boss and deal direct damage until he dies. If you lose all 3 of your characters or all your units, then you lose. However, your units are replaced at a steady rate so it is possible to keep going even when you have few units left.
Storywise, itís a mixed bag. Many of the individual characters act in tropes and stereotypes (theyíve even put in a chuunibyou sufferer in there) which makes for a lot of comic relief yet the story, at least later on, gets rather dark. Oh, and the king of the country is a Duck. Thought Iíd throw that out there.
Thatís it in terms of game description. From the world map, you pick a stage, which will be one of the three battle types mentioned above and work your way to the end. Characters get experience when you use them and you are able to buy/sell items and weapons from your home base as well as upgrading your troops. Thereís also a limited scope for upgrading your weapons using items gathered during battles but aside from a few special skills which can be unlocked on certain weapons, I havenít really found a use for it yet.
So, how is the game?
Combat Stages! Ė I really love odin sphere and battle princess lacks the depth of the combat system compared †to odin sphere, it does have a large repertoire of moves to stop things from going stale
Interesting Story Ė It takes a little while to get going but when talk starts about songs which control people and force them to fight for the entertainment of another species, things start to get interesting. Itís a shame that there are also many comedy stages and ones which donít really add anything to the plot.
Looks cheap Ė Going on from the odd animation style, it really makes the game look as though it was made on a tight budget. Seriously, it looks more like a doujin game rather than one with a full release on PSN.
Very repetitive Ė this is more of a complaint on the siege battles compared to the other 2 modes but there is an element of this in skirmish mode too. Basically, on every siege battle, you employ the exact same tactics: set your army to defend -> run up to enemy -> guard attack ->get a few hits in to lower shield -> block again †-> repeat until shield is down -> all out assault -> when shield returns, go back to defence -> repeat. Itís pretty much the only valid tactic so youíll use it all the time and these battles can be longÖ
Grindfest! Ė This is the biggest complaint I have in this game. Sooner or later (usually when you hit a skirmish stage) youíll fight enemies with levels might higher than your current ones and you will be slaughtered. So, what do you do? Hit the earlier stages and grind. grind a hell of a lot to raise your level to the point where you can fight on even footing. And that can take a while. Making things harder is that every new character which comes to your team will be severely underpowered so youíll need to work to level them up before they can be used. Itís possible to just take a handful of characters and raise their levels so high that you wonít need to worry about the others, but either way, a huge amount of grinding will be requiredÖ If you donít like repeating stages over and over again to raise your character levels, stay well away from this game!!!
Thatís the tutorial? Ė This game is awful at explaining the intricacies of the battle modes so youíll probably find the first few stages really tough until you learn them yourself. The game explains the basic controls but after that, youíre on your own! Normally, I like games which teach you by doing but in this case, the game doesnít even do that! prepare to flail around randomly until you start picking things up at random.
Thatís about it for Battle Princess of Arcadias. Itís a weird one to be sure and it definitely has its faults but it is mostly enjoyable and it does come at a budget price so at least youíre not paying full whack for it. Still, Iíd see if it goes down in price first before taking the plunge unless youíre absolutely certain that you want to play it. Might take a while but right now, itís not quite a game I would recommend but I wouldnít dissuade anyone from getting it if they wanted to either. The amateur presentation isnít for everyone either. Overall, Itís just kinda meh!
LOOK WHO CAME: