Code of Princess Review
Code of Princess Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Agatsuma Entertainment/Bones
Pub: Atlus
Release: October 9, 2012
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: N/A Fantasy Violence, Partial Nudity

The story, too, falls flat in comparison. Guardian Heroes was a game of branching paths and multiple endings. While Code of Princess does have multiple endings, they’re accessible via a single choice one doesn’t make until the end of the (incredibly short) game. Prior to that, the only branching is when the four lead characters get separate. Who you choose to play the next level with changes what that level is, but everyone’s back together by the level after that, so it’s fairly moot.

The writing, however, is enjoyable, with a kooky sense of humor. It’s very self-aware and refuses to take itself overly seriously. It has a proclivity for puns, too, which serves it quite well. The writing, in fact, may be the best aspect of the game.

Code of Princess Screenshot

It certainly isn’t the multiplayer, though. Versus mode is a wash, falling prey to the same problems the game has with regular combat, rounds generally going to whoever gets the first hit. Given that a locked-on ranged character can hit you across tracks, though, it’s pretty obvious which characters the versus mode favors. Co-op, meanwhile, suffers worse slowdown than the main campaign. I also couldn’t tell whether I was getting hit by friendly fire or if I was just woefully unlucky most of the time. It’s too slow for its hectic multiplayer to be engaging; it just comes across as frustrating. Also, you will not find anyone to play with online; you’d need to play locally, which means knowing someone else who purchased this game. The multiplayer isn’t worth that, I’m sorry to say.

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Code of Princess frustrates and antagonizes me. I was so excited for it, counting down the days to its release. I talked it up to my friends, hit the store as soon as I could on release day, brought my 3DS with me so I could pop it in as soon as I had the case open. It comes with a soundtrack CD, you know. I’ve always been a sucker for those. I haven’t bothered to listen to it, though. The game was just that painfully disappointing. It’s its own fault, though. It was touted by its team as a spiritual successor to Guardian Heroes, one of the best Saturn games of all time and a great side-scrolling beat ‘em up in any context. The comparison, though, only holds up at the shallowest level of the surface, falling apart as soon as one scratches that away.

Shelby Reiches
Lead Contributor
Date: November 6, 2012

On the one hand, what’s there is generally gorgeous. I mean, it’s almost unbelievably so. It’s been far too long since a game has been animated so beautifully. That said, it takes its toll on the 3DS, to the point where the graphics become the thing that makes the title almost unplayable.
The controls are generally good (except during the constant slowdown, when they become sluggish) and laid out in an intuitive manner, but there simply isn’t enough to do with them. Characters are limited and, as such, you’ll just be falling into the same routines again and again, hoping you don’t mess up.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Undoubtedly the best part of the game, it’s well-voiced, sound effects are generally meaty and enjoyable, and the game came with a soundtrack CD for a reason—the music is to die for.
Play Value
After a brief campaign, your options are to play through every mission again with new characters, try a seemingly endless list of cookie-cutter monster challenges (not very compelling), or hop online and hope to stumble across another player in the already-dead online community. I suppose you could play locally with someone, but there are so, so many co-op games you’d be better served wasting your time with.
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • An Action RPG and Side-Scrolling Beat ‘Em Up Combined - Blending combo-heavy fighting gameplay with components from classic arcade side-scrolling beat ‘em ups and the character development and growth of an RPG, Code of Princess truly blends genre lines, giving hardcore gamers an all-new twist on some of their favorite game types.
  • Cooperative and Competitive Multiplayer Modes! - Up to four players can take on challenges cooperatively or battle against one another in competitive play. Both modes are available locally or online via Nintendo Network.
  • All-Star Development Team - With Kinu Nishimura, the character designer from the blockbuster Street Fighter series, and ACE, the composer responsible for the music from the popular Wii RPG Xenoblade, fans have every assurance that Code of Princess is in the hands of some of Japan's best development talents.

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