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.