Battle Princess of Arcadias Review (PS3)
Hey, you. What’s the matter? Are you bored of games that take themselves way too seriously? Are you sick of the same old annual sports releases and rehashed modern shooters that come in new shades of brown? Do you yearn for something that’s not afraid to just be plain old fun without worrying about the emotions of footballers or the immense detail of the wheels of your Lamborghini? You should probably check out Battle Princesses of Arcadia then, just try not to let your friends see you buying it with a name like that.
Battle Princess is a 2D side scrolling action game with fairly manic feeling combat mixed in with squad control combat. The gameplay is broken up into fairly short action packed stages, which are seperated by a world map and often a small piece of story. These story segments are never long enough to keep you away from the action for long. Despite this they still manage to get the story across effectively and with pretty decent humour to boot.
As in many action games, smooth controls can mean the different between… smooth action or clunky action, and Battle Princess definitely has this down. You have basic controls: square for light attack, triangle for hard attack. These can be chained together along with the directional controls to create different combination attacks, more of which are unlocked as your characters gain in levels. It’s a simple combat system but controls really well. This system is however unfortunately muddled up with a squad control system that works on it’s own but just slows down the combat when you have to not about yourself but your NPC squadmates.
So these systems, how do they work then. You’ll find the levels of Battle Princess are split into three distinct challenges; Solo, Boss Fights and Skirmishes. Solo is the simplest and yet the one that feels the best to play with, all you need to do is select three characters and take them to battle a pretty hefty number of enemies. Boss fights bring in the squads, which forces you to balance your own fighting with ordering your squad when to defend and when to attack, which gets pretty fiddly due to the aggressive nature of these giant monsters you’re fighting. The final challenge style, Skirmishes, are where NPC squadmates come in to play to the biggest extent. You’re given the choice of a variety of squad types to pit against the enemy squads; all these have a sort of rock paper scissors style approach to what beats what. Once in the stage, the combat is split between the two squads clashing in the background and your character in the foreground fighting. These two combats are only loosely tied to each other as the damage you can do to your opponents doesn’t affect the numbers in the background, rather if you can wipe out your opponents it’ll increase the moral of your troops, allowing them to use scale-tipping special attacks or manouevres faster.
The only real problem with Battle Princess is the character design. In short it’s just plain weird, stereotypical Japanese weird. Your main character is a bright red haired battle princess that’s incredibly naive about anything not fighting; her king is a goose; his royal mage is a tiny ‘too serious for fun’ girl that wears bunny ears and the list goes on. On one hand this is all fine as the story doesn’t seem to take itself seriously so weird characters fit in just fine, but on the other hand it’s hard to really appreciate the game when so many of the characters either fit their stereotypes like a mould or are just offputting.
In terms of graphics, the backgrounds and scenes are absolutely enchanting. There’s loads to look at and appreciate during both town sequences and battle scenes that are all drawn in a charming cartoony style which really helps you feel like you’re in this fairy tale land.
Battle Princess of Arcadias is an incredibly fun game that you should definitely give a shot. The combat systems may clash a bit and it may feel a bit grindy at times but it’s not enough to detract for the enjoyment you’ll get out of the action. Unfortunately I feel that there’s just some sort of stigma with the name that makes me go “Ehh, I wouldn’t really want my friends knowing I’m playing this”. If you’re not too bothered about that sort of thing then by all means get this. Even if you are, try it anyway, the gameplay’s fun enough to warrant a shot.
4 stabby Battle Princesses out of 5