Atlus is putting together another slick box set for pre-order customers who reserve their copy of Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, set to arrive in North America on October 1.
Just like Code of Princess and Shin Megami Tensei IV, customers who pre-order their copy of Etrian Odyssey Untold from GameStop, EB Games or Amazon will be treated to a special soundtrack CD and art/design book.
The soundtrack CD featured with The Millennium Girl will include a live rendition of the game’s main theme, a rough version of the theme, and five more tracks selected by series composer Yuzo Koshiro. The art book will also include “comics and notations” from the game.
General Information ~
- Developed and Published by Atlus
- Released on October 9, 2012
- Price: $39.99 (MSRP), $34.99 (Pre-Owned @ GameStop.com)
If you follow 3DStination at all, you probably know that I have been looking forward to Code of Princess for quite some time. To hell with the stupid title; I was on board with Atlus’s 2D side-scroller/brawler/RPG from the first time I saw it in action.
To say the least, I was very excited when I finally got my pre-owned copy on October 9, and I was hoping to see that all the fuss was worth it. Lo and behold, Code of Princess is an excellent brawler and a solid addition to Atlus’s growing library of high-quality titles.
Getting this review underway, here are some of the general qualities of Code of Princess that I liked and didn’t like so much, followed by the usual recommendation and final scores:
I Liked ~
The game design: The combat & RPG-lite mechanics are blended very well in Code of Princess. The result feels deeper and more involved than most brawlers, with the simple equipment/character progression mechanics providing some extra levels of customization and an added sense of reward.
The simple combos: The basic button combos keep the fighting system pretty simple, while allowing the unique styles and abilities of each character to be performed with the same general commands. For example, each character can carry out different strong/weak attacks using different combinations of directional buttons + the A/B buttons. I thought this was very reminiscent of Super Smash Bros., especially when you combine the block/evade moves. The system doesn’t completely mimic Smash Bros., but it feels similar enough to make a direct comparison.
The deeper mechanics: Going a bit deeper, I was intrigued by the “Burst” concept and the lock-on system in Code of Princess. The “Burst” attacks consume MP, but greatly increase your overall attack power – it’s a shame that the MP meter seems to drain so quickly, because your character enters a brief period of ass-kicking unlike any other. The lock-on system is simple enough; each character has a weak attack designated to getting a lock on each target, and locked enemies take more damage than the others. Finally, there is a damage multiplier bonus when you knock enemies into each other, so you can potentially cause a massive amount of damage by locking-on to a boss character and launching smaller, weaker foes into it while using the “Burst” ability.
The various styles: Variety is a major perk in Code of Princess, which features four different characters to use throughout its Story Mode:
- Princess Solange, protector and wielder of the Deluxcalibur;
- Ali-Baba, the tricky thief;
- Zozo, the morose necromancer;
- Allegro, the electric guitar-wielding bard/sage.
The production values: In general, I really enjoyed the presentation in Code of Princess, from its stunning 2D art style and highly-detailed sprites to its plot, music and spoken dialogue. Since I just mentioned the various characters, I’d like to say that the diversity in Princess Solange’s party throughout the adventure leads to a satisfying amount of humor and light-hearted quips from the numerous supporting roles. The plot isn’t terribly compelling, but it serves as more than enough of a motivator to keep you playing through each bite-sized Story Mode quest. The events in the game (in addition to playing through Story Mode with multiple characters) give you more perspective and background for each character, fleshing out the story pretty well overall.
The extended replay value: The story mode lasts quite a while, particularly when you consider that it can be completed by four different characters, each with his or her own perspective on the adventure. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as Code of Princess offers additional modes of play to really stretch out the replay value. First, “Free Play” mode is exactly as it sounds – an option that allows you to re-visit any cleared stage from Story Mode, choosing any of the playable characters at your disposal. This mode is perfect for “farming” additional XP and gold, as these figures “carry over” to your characters from Story Mode. Next, there are dozens of “Bonus Quests” to play, which reveal more about the story and provide more challenging mobs of foes to battle in each environment.
The multiplayer features: Finally – and perhaps most importantly – Code of Princess offers one of the most robust multiplayer components of any 3DS game to date. Not only does the game support both Local & Online multiplayer, it boasts both Competitive (Versus) and Cooperative modes for both options. The lag and slowdown in the online multiplayer is a small force to be reckoned with, but overall this issue does little to tarnish the gameplay.
I Didn’t Like ~
The slowdown: The frame rate slows down quite a bit when the action gets really hectic on the screen; unfortunately, this issue is particularly problematic with the 3D effects active in Code of Princess. It’s too bad, because this is truly one of the better-looking 3D games on the system, despite the fact that the visuals are based on 2D designs. Even the concept of jumping between the ‘rails’ of each stage is perfect for the 3D effect. Sadly, playing with stereoscopic visuals makes the slowdown into a game-breaking issue.
The annoying sound effects: Moving on, the music and spoken dialogue in Code of Princess are actually pretty great, as I mentioned before…however, the sound effects are another matter entirely. Each of the playable characters only seems to have a small number of in-game lines, making the repetitive battle cries get very old, very quickly. Combine this with the generic sword-clashes and combat noises, and you’ve got a game that begs to be muted after just a few minutes.
The lack of single-card play: Finally, I wouldn’t classify this as a ‘major flaw’, but the lack of single-card multiplayer is a tough pill to swallow. This might make me sound pretty spoiled – after all, Code of Princess covers just about every other multiplayer component and feature that you’d hope to see in a 3DS game. Still, single-card play seems like a smart choice for a game like this, where the limited niche appeal may prevent casual gamers from otherwise picking up the game at all. Single-card multiplayer could have easily limited the character selection and levels/equipment of the second player, still allowing them to experience what the game has to offer in a slimmed-down format. Unfortunately, players will need their own copies of the game to enjoy its vast multiplayer features…and that means giving it a shot beyond scoffing at the title, “Code of Princess”.
Conclusion/Recommendation ~ Buy It… (Or At Least Play It!)
Of course, “scoffing” at a title like Code of Princess would be foolish, because ultimately this 2D brawler stands out as one of the finest 3DS games of 2012. Atlus has put together a much deeper hack-and-slash experience than you’d expect, offering not only a lengthy story mode filled with bite-sized quests and four playable characters, but extra game modes and extensive multiplayer features to get the most out of the replay value.
Design/Concept ~ (8.5/10)
Presentation ~ (9.5/10)
Functionality ~ (7/10)
Replay Value ~ (8.5/10)
Final Score ~ 8.7/10
Atlus’s side-scrolling RPG/brawler, Code of Princess, is finally available on the Nintendo 3DS in North America. Initially I wasn’t sure if the game would ever see a western release; sure enough, the “spiritual successor” to Guardian Heroes shipped to retailers yesterday. I picked up my own pre-ordered copy from the local GameStop; unfortunately I have only gotten to play for about an hour or so.
For some strange reason, there is only one early review of Code of Princess that I have been able to find, at least on any of the major websites. On the other hand, the one review is a particularly glowing critique – from Destructoid of all places.
…judged on its own merits, Code of Princess is one of the best beat-’em-up RPGs I’ve ever played.
Whoa. You don’t say?
It’s really that good. That ‘spiritual successor’ label? Totally worthy. This is a beautifully crafted side-scrolling beat-’em-up that has no equal on the 3DS, and the love that went into the localization makes it that much better.
In the 60-90 minutes that I’ve put into Code of Princess so far, I can say that I like what I see. The art style is very appealing, but what is even more impressive is the amount of detail and high level of polish that shines through when you actually play the game yourself (rather than watching a trailer). Seriously, the screenshots and video footage don’t do this one any justice.
Also, in standard Atlus form, Code of Princess doesn’t hold your hand – in fact, even the basic tutorials didn’t do much to explain the finer points of the battle system, so I have been struggling early on with getting the feeling of combat, jumping back and forth between “rails”, learning how to utilize the lock-on system, and so on.
What do you think? Leave a comment below and stay tuned for a full review of Code of Princess as soon as I can publish one.
Editor’s Note: Just before the start of each month, I will “look ahead” at the upcoming games that are slated for release; then, taking into account the general level of anticipation and the “buzz” within the media, I will select a handful of titles (two to four) that could be worth checking out when launch day finally comes around. Every month, this column will pinpoint the “cream of the crop”, so to speak – just keep your eyes peeled for the games mentioned here!
Let’s not fool ourselves; September wasn’t the hottest month for the 3DS in terms of new releases. There was Fractured Soul; Endgame Studios’ eShop gem was definitely a refreshing challenge, but it was the highlight of a month that was more about sitting back and waiting for Wii U announcements than playing new 3DS games.
October seems to be changing a lot of that; other than the release of the latest Pokemon games, Nintendo will be shipping the first 3DS installment of Professor Layton. There are even some exciting third-party games to look forward to. Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at some of October’s most interesting upcoming releases:
Pokemon Black 2 & White 2 [NDS] (October 7)
Speaking personally, there isn’t a single game on this page that I am more excited about than these brand-new Pokemon sequels; Pokemon Black 2 & Pokemon White 2. As a die-hard fan of the series (no joke, walking Pokedex over here), any major change to the formula is interesting – and the thought that these versions are the first actual follow-ups is definitely intriguing. I look forward to the twists and turns of the storyline, which appears to be a point of focus this time around.
With all that being said, I am still the most excited about some of the small tweaks and enhanced nuances that ultimately affect the battle system and the core gameplay – how will the sequels transform the series past the original Black & White versions? Early reviews seem to favor some of the replay value-extending features (as if Pokemon really needed them), such as the in-game “achievements” and the expanded regional Pokedex, which now includes some favorites from the previous Pokemon generations. Finally, I will be playing my copy of Black 2 or White 2 (I’m still undecided on which version I’ll be purchasing) on my 3DS – which brings me to the next exciting October release, which you can check out after this “Legendary Pokemon” trailer for the new sequels:
Pokemon Dream Radar [eShop] (October 7)
This eShop app/game comes out simultaneously and is compatible with Pokemon Black 2 & White 2…basically, Dream Radar uses the AR feature of the 3DS to put Pokemon “into the real world”, allowing you to scan your surroundings for the elusive monsters. As reported in the past, you can catch & transfer Pokemon from Dream Radar to your copy of Black 2 or White 2 – another big incentive to play the forthcoming sequels on a Nintendo 3DS, rather than an older DS system. Here’s a trailer:
Code of Princess (October 9)
Atlus’s 2D brawler/RPG caught my eye several months ago, and I have been following it closely leading up to its release. The fast-paced combat is just one selling point; I was really intrigued by the variety of characters and unique fighting styles that have been featured in numerous trailers over the past few weeks. The multiplayer options also sound appealing…co-op brawling action with RPG-like EXP-grinding? Count me in. The 3DS could always use more RPGs, and Atlus looks to have another winner lined up – stay tuned for a review sometime later this month after I get my hands on my own pre-ordered copy. For now, check out one of the latest trailers:
Professor Layton & the Miracle Mask (October 28)
I have never been into the Professor Layton series myself, but not because I dislike the game – I just never really picked up any of the DS installments; I know I’m missing out. Anyway, Miracle Mask is the first 3DS version of the popular Level-5 puzzle series, and it finally makes its appearance near the end of the month. Check out the video:
I would be foolish to skip out on some of the other games that are also headed to the 3DS this October; these may not be the “cream of the crop”, but who knows…we could see some surprises:
- Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?? (October 23)
- Skylanders: Giants (October 21)
- Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (October 23)
- LEGO Lord of the Rings (October 30)
- Spy Hunter (October 30)
Atlus just keeps rolling out the trailers for its upcoming side-scroller, Code of Princess. As far as I’m concerned, that is perfectly fine.
Today’s trailer focuses on Versus Mode and the competitive gameplay that you’ll see when the game launches October 2. You can check out the footage below:
I posted the cooperative trailer for Code of Princess yesterday morning – check that out if you haven’t already.
What do you think? Are you going to suck it up and ask the guy at GameStop for Code of Princess when it comes to retailers in a few weeks?
Over the last few years, I have discovered that I personally enjoy side-scrolling action/platforming games quite a bit. From the countless “Metroidvania” games (Shadow Complex, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions for NDS) to the stylish, hack-and-slash titles (The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, Shank, Dust: An Elysian Tail, etc.), some of these simple 2D games end up being the ones that I find the most enjoyable to play.
For this very reason, I have been looking forward to Atlus’s Code of Princess for the Nintendo 3DS dating back to the very moment I first read about the oddly-titled side-scroller. In fact, I would put it near the top of my list for “most anticipated 3DS games of 2012″.
Now you can check out yet another trailer for Code of Princess; this time it focuses on the game’s intriguing co-op mode. Up to four players can wirelessly play through the game, and the action looks pretty heated, judging from the footage below:
In addition, the image you see at the top of this post is actually an early glimpse of the fancy art book that will be bundled with the Code of Princess Collector’s Edition.
Aside from its name, what do you think about Code of Princess? Are you as confident as I am that Atlus could have one of the biggest 3DS sleepers of 2012 on its hands? Only time will tell; the game launches in early October. Stay tuned for more updates as they appear online.
Square-Enix gets a lot of the credit for JRPGs, but Atlus has always been the silently effective type. Where the creators of Final Fantasy always seem to be struggling to please its restless fanbase, Atlus is busy putting out great stuff like Shin Megami Tensei and Persona. In fact, they’ve already ported SMT: Devil Survivor Overclocked to the 3DS.
Sure, we are on the brink of seeing three very big releases from Square-Enix – all in the month of July, nonetheless – but the “little guy” in JRPGs has its own exciting new game planned for fall 2012. Recently, Atlus announced that Code of Princess will be coming to North America sometime during that time frame, but wasn’t any more specific.
Fortunately, in the time that has passed, details about the game have been revealed – and they sound a hell of a lot cooler than the ridiculous title. For example, the gameplay is based around side-scrolling beat-’em-up action, where direction-based light and heavy attacks can be combined with special moves to form stylish combos and chain attacks. I hope I didn’t lose you at “princess”, because this damsel certainly appears to be less about “distress” and more about “kicking ass” – less Princess Peach, and more Ryu Hayabusa.
As players move through the stages, carrying out all the glorious melee-based destruction, they’ll need to move back and forth between three horizontal planes. This is necessary in order to attack, position yourself properly, and wipe out all the enemies standing in your path. This concept might sound familiar to anyone who played Guardian Heroes; there are actually former members of that game’s development team working on Code of Princess.
Additionally, the game is infused with RPG-like character progression elements such as earning experience points, leveling up, and customizing characters by equipping weapons, armor, accessories, and so on. Being an Atlus game, the “RPG” part of the equation had to come in somewhere – but alongside the fighter Persona 4 Arena for the PS Vita, this beat-’em-up looks like its most “RPG-lite” project in quite some time.
Moving on, Code of Princess appears to offer some variety, allowing players to choose between four playable characters, each with a unique fighting and playing style. For example, the scantily-clad female warrior on the cover is Solange Blanchefleur de Luxe, who carries a massive sword. Then, there’s the swift and agile thief, Ali Vava. Moving on, there’s a zombie-summoning spellcaster named Lady Zozo. Finally, the most off-the-wall of them all appears to be the guitar-playing elf character, Allegro Nantabile Cantabile.
The four playable characters in the game fit well into the 4-player competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes that have been mentioned by Atlus; I would assume that the multiplayer component supports all the basic local functions, but I really hope this one ends up taking advantage of the Nintendo WFC and all the online capabilities that the 3DS has to offer.
Why not include the same join/drop-anytime concept seen in Heroes of Ruin? How will the StreetPass and SpotPass functions be used? What about DLC? Only time will tell what is in store for this one.
One thing that I’m not worried about; Code of Princess looks absolutely stunning. The 2D sprites and flashy, colorful visuals look great, and will only look better when viewed with the 3D effect enabled. The art design is actually led by Kinu Nishimura, who formerly worked on Capcom games such as the Street Fighter series and Capcom vs. SNK. You can see just how beautiful this one looks by taking a look at the Japanese trailer below:
Check back in the next few weeks for more about Code of Princess; perhaps we’ll see this one after all those Square-Enix games have been put away, and before the holiday season starts to get too overwhelming.