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Code Of Princess review

Satirical humour and scrapping aplenty, but it costs a king's ransom

A gorgeous FMV intro sequence kicks off Code of Princess. It's as beautiful as it is derivative: a traditional animé clip, frantic battle scenes and princesses staring wistfully into the middle distance in equal measures. It's vivid, punchy and accompanied by a shrill J-pop tune that sounds, to our ears, like Girls Aloud - albeit Girls Aloud recorded on a massive centrifuge machine. What's not to like about that?

Well, how about the fact that it helps bump up the size of this download-only title to a whopping 9,100+ blocks? Forget deleting the Eurosport channel - we practically had to

hollow out the office 3DS with a whittling knife to make room for this porker.

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While Nintendo's commitment to giving us the choice to purchase the 3DS's entire retail catalogue digitally is to be celebrated, an instance such as this does raise the question of whether some games just aren't cut out for life on the eShop. Perhaps until the day comes that 90,000,000GB SD cards are the norm, it might be an idea if publishers also offered a 'shaved' version that cut out all the non-essential fat?

Royal Flush

Well, there's a rather cruel irony. While Code of Princess: The Executable Program File is about as download-unfriendly as 3DS games are likely to get, Code of Princess: The Side-Scrolling Beat-'Em-Up has been perfectly tailored for portable play. Its closest relations are games such as Streets of Rage or Double Dragon, but the long, sprawling stages of those titles have been chopped up into bite-sized chunks here. Every time you switch your 3DS on you can take in a bit of story and then cut down a few waves of enemies in a self-contained little segment, and all in the time it takes for your local chippy to warm up a week-old battered sausage.

After you successfully clear a stage, your fighter is awarded experience points that can be spent on boosting various attributes - speed, power and defence; all that jazz.

Additionally, extra equipment can be purchased from stores to further fortify your ragtag quartet of warriors. In theory, this sets the scene for the perfect long-tail handheld game - even a brief five-minute session can result in you harvesting a permanent upgrade for your favourite fighter - but some curious design choices undo all the good work Agatsuma has done in ensuring Code of Princess' structure suits 3DS.

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One issue we have is that it never feels like you're getting more powerful. Enemies level

up at the same pace you do (and occasionally even faster than that, leading to difficulty spikes) so all that changes in real terms is the value of the numbers spilling out of your opponents' skulls as you crack them open.

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Comments

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  1. RainbowGazelle Saturday 1st Jun 2013 at 12:24

    I think you're being a bit harsh here. The game's a bit repetitive, but 52%? You haven't even mentioned the 50+ playable characters or online play. Plus it has awesome music. Also, the reason it takes up so much space is because it's a retail game in Japan and America, but crappy Atlus didn't want to publish it here, so the developers did it on the eShop. I'm just thankful we got the game at all. I would say it's worth at least 70%.

  2. TheVelvetRoom Saturday 1st Jun 2013 at 19:13

    I do hope that score hasn't been influenced by your niggles with price and space for what was a retail release in other regions. You aren't really going to chop 20% off your score for Ace Attorney 5 for making you delete some demos off your SD card are you?

  3. SketchSpirit Saturday 1st Jun 2013 at 20:31

    This is a shame, I was genuinely looking forward to this. Damnit.

  4. fisher2007 Saturday 1st Jun 2013 at 21:02

    This is a shame, I was genuinely looking forward to this. Damnit.

  5. parasky Saturday 1st Jun 2013 at 21:11

    We've really gotten to this depth, haven't we. 9,100 blocks is about 4GB, and (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transcend-16GB-SDHC-Class-Memory/dp/B0015AOK1O)

    You can buy a 16bg sd card for under Ł10 nowadays, so complaining about data size in a professional review and using this as a loose and pathetic excuse to get hits from metacritic is deplorable.

    As for the game itself, I will still plan on purchasing it, so you can be happy knowing that this 'review' was taken to heart.

  6. smikey666 Sunday 2nd Jun 2013 at 06:22

    I've got it & I quite like it though I have so many games it hasn't had much hands on time yet. I agree with others some of the reviews here recently have been dropped down for stupid reasons! this for the file size??? I have a 64gb sd card no issue for me. zen pinball was given a lower score because of how you have to mess around downloading it (annoying admittedly but the whole review virtually centered around it) others too have been downgraded for things not remotely linked to gameplay like being too hard for the reviewer (some of us like a challenge)

  7. K-tet Sunday 2nd Jun 2013 at 11:58

    I have one issue with this review. What's the issue you ask? The review itself.

    Clearly the person reviewing this doesn't have much of a clue about hack 'n' slash side-scrolling beat'em ups. 52% based on a repetitive formula, and then criticising the game for being huge in size? No. That doesn't cut the mustard I'm afraid. That is seriously a poor reason. I don't care that it's 'just' a download title for us here in Europe.

    The game is beautiful. It works well given it's being succinctly different from the standard norm. Yes there is quite a strong difficulty curve, but games that are easy and stay easy on a standardised level are boring. I want my games to be as challenging and as difficult as possible, and this works really rather well. I don't mind if I have to grind. Pokémon and the RPG's of yesteryear required a good hard grind here and there just to progress. The sacrifice system is different and has a charm to it. I also like the bitesize levels because it doesn't feel as if you're playing a long level (ala some of the stages in the Golden Axe games). This makes it easier for people to play a couple of stages, take a break, and come back to it later on. I think the graphics are excellent, and the whole polish is more than adequate for the 3DS. It may not be the best game on the handheld and it may not bowl everyone over on the first attempt, but it's certainly one of the better download titles out there. If it isn't accessible to everyone because of the difficulty spike then you're not trying hard enough. Have you seen how some of the younger generations have tried to play through Super Metroid? Precisely. It's not meant to be easy. It's meant to be challenging. Have you ever played the original Famicom version of The Lost Levels? That's not an easy game either.

    So yes, 52%? What's wrong with you? This isn't even worthy of a proper review. Makes me question the journalism standards here sometimes. At worst, the game is worth 70%. It has some flaws and a few niggles here and there, but take them away and you've got a solid game based on a genre that you just don't see often enough nowadays. I'd personally give it 80%: It adds a modern spin on a retro style, and while it has a few flaws here and there, pulls it off rather well. It's worth every penny as it's supposed to be a 'full retail title'. Not a killer app by all means, but a very good supporting title for those that enjoy the genre, or want a challenge with a twist.

  8. rachaeln Sunday 2nd Jun 2013 at 15:52

    I have this game and like the majority of posts on here am also dissapointed by the low score given , matter of fact I have this game as my favorite title on my 3ds. I agree that file size and price shouldn't have played such a large part in deciding the games score , it should have been reviewed on the pluses and minuses of the game play alone.

    If your still on the fence about this game please don't be put off by one narrow minded review, check out other reviews and gameplay footage before writing this off completely.

  9. MatthewONM Sunday 2nd Jun 2013 at 22:02

    Clearly the person reviewing this doesn't have much of a clue about hack 'n' slash side-scrolling beat'em ups. 52% based on a repetitive formula, and then criticising the game for being huge in size? No. That doesn't cut the mustard I'm afraid. That is seriously a poor reason. I don't care that it's 'just' a download title for us here in Europe.


    Actually, Alex is one of the biggest hack 'n' slash fans I know, which is why I gave him the game to review. I trust his opinion completely on this genre (I played the game myself and would have written very similar things). And all the stuff about the size of the game is part of his jokey introduction - don't use it to dismiss all the other points he makes. He explains in quite simple English why he doesn't like the game: simplified combat multiplied by thankless grinding and a truly rotten framerate = not a very good game. Of course, glad to hear that you're enjoying it. Some people have a higher tolerance level.

  10. Alex Dale Sunday 2nd Jun 2013 at 23:29

    To confirm, neither the file size nor the price were a factor in the score. It got 52% I found it to be poorly designed and quite tedious. Which was a shame as I was really up for reviewing this. Certainly didn't come into it with pre-conceptions.



    a loose and pathetic excuse to get hits from metacritic is deplorable.

    Remember this line the next time you see someone moaning about review scores being too high.

  11. K-tet Sunday 2nd Jun 2013 at 23:58

    Actually, Alex is one of the biggest hack 'n' slash fans I know, which is why I gave him the game to review. I trust his opinion completely on this genre (I played the game myself and would have written very similar things). And all the stuff about the size of the game is part of his jokey introduction - don't use it to dismiss all the other points he makes. He explains in quite simple English why he doesn't like the game: simplified combat multiplied by thankless grinding and a truly rotten framerate = not a very good game. Of course, glad to hear that you're enjoying it. Some people have a higher tolerance level.


    I'll give you that on the terms of me being presumptuous. However, while Alex may be one of the biggest fans of the genre you know, I don't know him, therefore I can't trust his opinion, and as such have challenged his review as a fellow gamer. His opening while it may appear joking can be misconstrued (as it has here), and again can be challenged. Just because he has submitted a review for you guys doesn't make his views immune from any form of criticism from anybody else. If I wrote an article for you guys here and others weren't happy about it, they're welcome to challenge my opinion all the same. It's part and parcel of reviewing games: down to personal opinion.

    Again, this works both ways. I don't expect you to agree with my criticism.

    On that final note, I do have quite a fair degree of tolerance in regards to the game.


    a loose and pathetic excuse to get hits from metacritic is deplorable.

    Remember this line the next time you see someone moaning about review scores being too high.


    The argument works both ways. You'll just have to accept that as harsh criticism.

  12. MatthewONM Monday 3rd Jun 2013 at 07:51

    Just because he has submitted a review for you guys doesn't make his views immune from any form of criticism from anybody else. If I wrote an article for you guys here and others weren't happy about it, they're welcome to challenge my opinion all the same. It's part and parcel of reviewing games: down to personal opinion.


    Oh, absolutely. Impossible to be objective about these things. I just wanted to point out that we don't just print reviews willy-nilly - we carefully select our writers and the finished review goes through several different editors who can say whether they agree or disagree with it. If we personally disagreed, we wouldn't print it. We're more critical of our writing than any of you guys!

  13. Alex Dale Monday 3rd Jun 2013 at 09:23

    The argument works both ways. You'll just have to accept that as harsh criticism.

    Oh, of course. Writers cherish feedback and I'm grateful you've taken the time to add your opinions. The first feature I ever wrote, a decade ago, resulted in a snarky letter being sent in (by snail mail!), but I quickly learned that having readers engage with your work is the best part of the job.

    Let's keep it cordial though, eh? We're a passionate team and our job is to deliver hard, honest opinions and this means sometimes you won't agree with them. That doesn't mean you have to be rude and call them 'reviews' in condescending 'thingies' to get the point across. I've been a Nintendo journalist for eight years (GamesMaster, NGamer), so even if you disagree with my review, know that it doesn't stem from ignorance. :)

    Anyway, I was just saying the other day to a colleague how nice and knowledgeable ONM's readership are based on the comments of some of my other work, so I look forward to writing more stuff for you in the future.


    P.S. Code Of Princess' Metacritic average is 67%. Lowest score is 3/10.

  14. K-tet Monday 3rd Jun 2013 at 10:55

    Let's keep it cordial though, eh? We're a passionate team and our job is to deliver hard, honest opinions and this means sometimes you won't agree with them. That doesn't mean you have to be rude and call them 'reviews' in condescending 'thingies' to get the point across. I've been a Nintendo journalist for eight years (GamesMaster, NGamer), so even if you disagree with my review, know that it doesn't stem from ignorance. :)

    Anyway, I was just saying the other day to a colleague how nice and knowledgeable ONM's readership are based on the comments of some of my other work, so I look forward to writing more stuff for you in the future.


    At least you're open-minded enough to not enter full-on defensive mode, so that's good. It's very easy for people to just withdraw in such a fashion where it appears they can't take criticism or people not agreeing with their opinion (as well as blind stupidity and ignorance). It's also good to learn that you've been in the business for eight years as a journalist. I'm beginning to like you the more I know you. That's never a bad thing.

    If I have appeared condescending in any way (which is easy to appear as such online), then sure, I'll hold my hands up with an unreserved apology. The community here does engage with you guys as often as possible and there are a fair few of us that aren't shy of saying why we don't agree with you. As you say, the best part of it is when we engage with you, because that's the whole point. If people read what you wrote and paid no attention to it, then you're doing something wrong. The more heated the debate is, the better engagement you get overall.

    I look forward to more of your reviews.

  15. toffeeman30 Monday 3rd Jun 2013 at 12:29

    sure hope people pick this up. go buy it people

  16. jaco_p Monday 3rd Jun 2013 at 15:33

    I found this review helpful as it referred to the framerate as 'shoddy', the gameplay as 'repetitive and tedious' so there are your reasons for low score. If i was really up for the game i would give it a go anyway.
    I find it strange that the scriptwriters would make light/fun of the some of the standard japanese tropes, as you say, like women dressed in dental floss and have said woman as the main/one of the main characters. That's not like a gameplay mechanic that's integral to the experience of the genre, you know, they could just take out these ridiculous stereotypes for beleivable characters that wear clothes?? am i alone in thinking this?

  17. ProfPikachu Tuesday 4th Jun 2013 at 18:41

    I agree, this game is huge! I probably would download it though if it wasn't so freaking massive :wink:

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