Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review #91: Code of Princess

 Your experience may vary.
 Code of Princess is a beat'em up game, think Final Fight, in which you, as Solange de Lux, warrior princess, must save the world and kick a whole lot of butt while doing so. It's a simple game, with simple mechanics and a lot of different ways to play it.
 The game Single Player's component is made up of three different options: Story Mode, Free Play and Bonus Quests. Story Mode has fully voice cut-scenes during each of the 31 different acts(They are quite short) and has you play as one out of four characters, Free Play lets you play those 32(There's a scenario exclusive to different pairs in story mode) quests as any unlocked character and Bonus Quests which has 40 plus different quests for you to tackle. It seems like a lot, but each stage is only a couple of minutes long, barring a couple of lengthier ones, but they are the exception not the rule. The Story Mode is especially short, rounding up about 2-3 hours not skipping the dialogues, but it's a blessing in disguise. Finishing Story Mode allows you to use any character on the Bonus Quests, so you can play as the rest of the cast as soon as possible. Multiplayer, on the other hand, has a Versus Mode and a Co-Op both offline and online, but I won't delve too much into them(I couldn't really play them, but I don't care much about them).
 And you do want to play as the rest of the cast, because you might not like any of the four heroes. Y'see, characters vary a lot between each other, and have completely different styles. Ali, for example, doesn't get a Strong Attack string, but instead a lot of Skills, Zozo is a mage, so most of her moveset uses Magic and you can't just attack willy nilly. Characters are VERY different, and you may end up with a completely different opinion on the game depending on who you play as, so play around with the cast until you get a character that you like. Each character can be further customized as you level them up, you get points to spend on whatever stats you want, plus, there are loads of items with special effects to personalize you characters even more.
 Battles take place in multi-plane stages, usually three but they tend to vary, and you can change plane at will by double tapping up or down while blocking. Double tapping left or right while blocking produces a dodge. For offense, you get a Weak Attack and a Strong Attack. Some characters get strings on each button, some get special attacks done by imputing commands with the directional pad before pressing a button, and what have you. Every character plays very differently so buttons may produce different results, and while there are tons of characters, only the more human ones(And those that play a part in the story) get fully developed movesets, the rest feel like filler. You can increase the damage you deal by locking onto the enemy, by executing a lock attack(Y button) or by using Burst, which makes your mana drop at a steady pace, but you regenerate red health and gain double attack damage. Couple a lock on with Burst mode and your damage increases exponentially.

 As expected of this type of game, it can get repetitive, so they tried to spice things up by adding escort missions every now and then. They are impossibly vexing as the AI is borderline stupid, and very much suicidal. They tend to run straight to the enemies with no regard to their health, and you can't heal them, Ali is a must on this stages as she can taunt the enemies and draw aggro towards herself. Some stages can also get pretty hard, on the outset, so you'll have to mix and match your equipment to gain an edge, I actually liked this, made it pretty satisfying to get a character build that could deal with a once impossible mission. Funnily enough, once you level up your character to the late 50s, you can create some very powerful builds, the weapons that grant health regeneration while bursting are quite good.
 Don't let the cover of the game fool you, while the main character looks all kinds of stupid, the rest of the cast are more or less tasteful, even if the designs are nothing special. The graphics use pre-rendered sprites, think vanilla Donkey Kong Country, and they look pretty dang good, with pretty fluid animation. The backgrounds are a bit on the lame side, but they aren't hideous, at least. Don't bother with the 3D as the FPS will drop to unplayable levels. On the sound front, it gets the job done. Voice acting is surprisingly good, every scene is voiced, mind you, while the music is pretty serviceable.
 Code of Princess caught me by surprise. When I first started the game, I found it pretty lacking, as Ali was the only character whose design I liked among the main four, but her style just didn't mesh with me. Then once I started playing with one of the bonus characters on the Bonus and Free Quests, I started having fun. A lot of fun. So even if your first impressions are disappointing, just wait until you get to play around with the rest of the cast, characters play so different from one another that you are bound to find one that suits you.
 7.5 out of 10

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