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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Monday, April 28, 2014

"Not So Fresh" Review: Code of Princess

This is one of the strangest games I've played all year.
Again, I had little new to play on 3DS (What is WITH Nintendo lately?) so I figured I'd expand my horizons with this oft-praised Action RPG published by Atlus. There are many that don't like the awful framerate of this game, but is it awful enough to break the title? I had twenty bucks in my pocket and I knew there was no way in hell I would be finding this in stores, so I downloaded the game and gave it a try.

Do scantily-clad women plague this bug-ridden, quirky RPG? Or is there something deep within the code that makes it unique? Read on and find out.


-The simplistic presentation of Code of Princess means its absolutely fantastic for quick, pick-up-and-play sessions. Drop in, kill things as fast as you can, and reap the rewards!

-Behind its shallow-looking gameplay lies tons of complexity, and the variety of playable characters means you'll be experimenting with every aspect of these functions. In story mode alone, you have a party of four very unique characters, but the free play and online choices are staggering.


-If a game runs at a steady, yet clunky framerate, I can get with it. But when a game runs at an absolutely abysmal framerate and then has brief moments of silky-smooth gameplay, it's insulting.

-The difficulty curve in Code of Princess is more like a difficulty Shuriken- because it's a ninja and he's one hard enemy in an otherwise not-too-challenging game.

-As cool as playing as a DRAGON sounds, the online community is dead for this game. Getting to play as a DRAGON elsewhere is not as cool as smoking people as a DRAGON online.


Code of Princess isn't some genre-defining, end-all-be-all game. It isn't trying to be, either. Instead, it takes the idea of being a portable RPG and boils it down to its base elements- enemy encounters that are brief and emphasize speed-running, cutscenes that are easy to overlook and don't get too heady, and quirky characters that will keep your attention for a cutscene. And that's great.

While the combat system is surprisingly fun, the issues with effects and framerate are really what hurts this game. Any sort of effect outside of melee attacks is extremely broken, with crazy hitboxes that often spread. However, this sometimes results in hilarity when you let off an explosion that ends up destroying everything on the screen-including yourself.

But that's ultimately what kept me playing. When the game gives you the opportunity to unleash punishment upon everything in sight, you can do so with absolute glee, setting up fun combos and dealing massive damage. But there are also moments where the game can get intense- partially because of the struggle to input commands in light of the framerate drops, but partially because enemies begin to punish you if you allow them to keep up pressure or don't do so yourself.

What sells Code of Princess for me is the astounding amount of characters you can play the slew of additional missions with. Just about every character model seen in the game has their own moveset- yes, even granny. While some are generic, others are deliciously unique and fun, and the sidequest opportunities are also really varied. And when it comes down to it, Code of Princess isn't trying to be a serious game- it's just fun to play around with. Sure, you'll have some minor frustration with the framerate, but it isn't enough to ruin the game. Almost, but not quite.

Final Verdict: Unabashedly silly and bizarre, Code of Princess can get away with a lot of flaws because of its insane amount of replay-ability and satisfying beat-em-up controls. However, if performance is extremely important to you, stay away from this one. Also, try to get it cheap.

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