One of the most frustrating things about Treasure, as a company, is that despite being incredibly successful at introducing new IP’s that are well revered by fans, they always seem to choke when concocting follow up games. There are exceptions, of course. I felt that Sin & Punishment: Star Successor was pretty decent, and I had a lot of fun with Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury. But despite a successful re-release of the original Guardian Heroes, the only true sequel the game has is absolute garbage. Why am I talking about Treasure in an article about an Atlus game, you ask? Because despite having no connection to Guardian Heroes, their latest release, Code of Princess is basically its spiritual successor (they brought back the original team members), and it’s everything the failed GBA sequel should have been.
In the demo, there were a large number of scenarios from different parts of the game, each showcasing different scenes. So the only thing I could muster from the storyline was that it was about a princess whose kingdom was about to be overthrown, and although she doesn’t take kindly to fighting, must take up a legendary sword and do battle. Along the way she is joined by three other comrades, and all four form the basis for the characters you can play as.
Once you select a scenario and engage in battle, if you’ve played Guardian Heroes, you should feel right at home. You have three planes that you can move between; if an enemy is in the background you can jump back there to attack them, and likewise move towards the front if that’s where they are located. Unlike other beat-’em-up style games, you can only damage the ones that are on the same plane as you. In this way, it acts much like a fighting game, allowing you to do motions with the control pad/joystick that you otherwise wouldn’t if your character would be constantly moving up or down. After each battle, you are awarded experience that can be used to level up your character and improve specific parameters, like strength or magic. You can also earn items that can be equipped to improve them further.
I did notice that the various battles I participated in were relatively short compared to the lengthier stages of Guardian Heroes, but this could both be because of the fact that it’s a demo, and also that it’s a handheld game. If I have to have my beat-’em-up action in short bursts, then I’ll take it any way I can get it. Code of Princess releases in North America this fall for Nintendo 3DS. Excuse me while I go pre-order.