"Code of Princess looks to pack in a lot of quality beat-em-up content"
I love Guardian Heroes. It's an awesome game, and one I fondly remember from the Sega Saturn. Code of Princess looks a lot like Guardian Heroes, and that actually makes a lot of sense, since it's developed by Agatsuma Entertainment, a team made up of much of the same folks responsible for Guardian Heroes. Fortunately for everyone, Atlus has recently picked up the game for a North American localization, and I had the chance to spend a nice chunk of time with it at this year's E3.
The game features full single player and cooperative play, as well as a cast of four characters that you can tackle the main story with. Cooperative play, available online via the Nintendo Network, expands the roster to include a large number of NPCs throughout the game. Every playable character packs their own set of combos and styles, and I had the chance to play through as several of them. Each character feels unique and fun to play, and trying new ones certainly could lend the game a solid amount of replay value.
Each stage in the campaign is made up of small chunks of story and combat. Completing a stage in campaign unlocks it for free play with any of your unlocked characters. When you first begin a stage, you'll notice that there are three planes that you can hop between to smack enemies around. A lock-on feature allows you to focus your damage on a specific foe as well as attack enemies from an entirely different plane, which was very useful for ranged characters. Characters gain experience and level up between missions, and you are free to customize your stats and equipment as you like.
The graphics in the game are decent, though the backgrounds seem a bit blurry. Character models are very detailed and feature really solid animation that is very evocative of Guardian Heroes. The animations for each character's various attacks are also quite fluid, and bouncing around the battlefield pounding on enemies looks great. One thing I was particularly impressed with was the game's use of 3D. I normally play all 3DS games with the 3D off, but Code of Princess, by virtue of its three planes, looked great with the depth slider all the way up. Objects in the foreground stood out from those in the background in an appealing way that was subtle but well-done.
While I couldn't hear the audio particularly well during the E3 demo, I was thrilled to hear that the game's soundtrack is being composed by ACE+, the same composing team responsible for much of the excellent Xenoblade Chronicles
soundtrack. If their previous work is any indication, fans should be in for a treat when the game launches. Doubly so since much like Radiant Historia, the game will launch with a special edition pack that features an art book and a collector's soundtrack.
Code of Princess looks to pack in a lot of quality beat-em-up content, and the addition of online play only sweetens the pot. If you have even the slightest interest in Guardian Heroes or solid beat-em-ups, you definitely need to look out for this one when it releases in North America in Fall 2012!