Hack-and-slash your way to victory with Code of Princess EX
Nicalis brings the unique combination of hack-and-slash beat ‘em-up action along with the depth of role-playing fun to the Switch with Code of Princess EX. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS back in 2012, Code of Princess EX has plenty of upgrades to get excited about.
In addition to new HD graphics, Code of Princess EX features smarter AI, a local co-op mode and gameplay enhancements—just to name a few. With a colourful cast of over 50 unique playable characters, gamers looking for a fresh unique experience will want to give Code of Princess EX a try.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Studio Saizensen
Genre: Hack-and-slash, role-playing game
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
A land threatened by chaos
Code of Princess EX starts out with a mixture of gorgeous cut scenes and in game graphics that tell a story of exile and chaos. The Kingdom is under heavy attack by the Distron army and monsters. With no choice, Princess Solange is forced to flee the Kingdom with the legendary sword known as DeLuxcalibur.
Determined to honour her father and keep the DeLuxcalibur from falling into the wrong hands, she sets out on a journey to find the cause of the attacks and to restore peace. Along the way, you encounter one of the most colourful cast of characters that I have seen in recent memory.
Dialogue between the characters can be quite good at times with comical banter back and forth. At certain moments, it has a certain level of cheesiness that I felt added to the games overall appeal. Though you won’t get any epic background on any of the characters in the game, I felt the story telling was the right balance given the type of game Code of Princess EX is.
Hack-and-slash gameplay with a twist
Code of Princess EX mixes hack-and-slash gameplay from games like Hyrule Warriors and Attack on Titan, with role-playing elements to give the game its own unique charm. You can level up your characters to increase their stats, and buy equipment such as better armour and weapons. Each character comes with various attack combos that they can pull off.
You can even move between three different planes on the battlefield. While at first I was intrigued by this ability to move up and down between the planes, the novelty quickly wore off. I wasn’t to keen on the fact that you have to press up or down along with a button to move between the planes. As a result, 90% of the time I would just battle on the default central plane. While each character does have their own set of moves and combos, the combat felt repetitive after a while.
You meet up with and also unlock characters as you progress through the game. However, I never really felt a need to use anyone else but Princess Solange while I was playing by myself. Additionally, I felt it was kind of awkward that, no matter how many people you had in your party they never came out on the battlefield to help you out. It would have been nice to see at least one computer controlled member of your party help out.
The upgraded visuals in Code of Princess EX really stand out. The incredible hand drawn environments look and are better animated than those on the 3DS. Although, I must admit the game does look better when played on the Switch’s screen rather than a large HDTV.
As mentioned earlier, the game sprinkles in various superbly drawn and animated cut scenes to help tell the story, which I absolutely love. Even these, look sharper and more colourful on the Switch.
Oddly enough, the Nintendo 3DS version of this game included English voice acting, and Code of Princess EX does not. While it would have been nice for those that wanted the option, the Japanese voice acting is superb and more than makes up for it in my books.
Playing with a friend is twice the fun
Code of Princess EX features a wide variety of co-operative and competitive game modes both online and off. Local offline play is fun in that it allows a friend to play right along with you in campaign, free play and bonus quests. Free play mode allows you to play any of the campaign levels you have beaten with any character that you have unlocked.
Additionally, bonus quests are side quests of sort that necessitate specific requirements in order to beat them. I was a tad bit disappointed that these bonus quests didn’t really expand much on the overall story or the characters themselves.
Online play allows you to play with up to three other players in co-op or versus modes. There is even a leaderboard where you can see how you rank against the rest of the world. While these multiplayer modes do not add much in the way of new content, they do increase the replayability of the game. In the end, I felt that I enjoyed Code of Princess EX more while playing with a friend than I did by myself.
Code of Princess EX is not a game for everyone. It’s a game that fans of the hack-and-slash genre will enjoy. The cast of characters will have you laughing and sometimes cringing with delight as they interact with one another and the environment around them. One thing to note, our heroine Solange is fairly scantly clad. While the game does not contain nudity, it is worth mentioning her attire.
I loved the hand drawn backgrounds and the unique style of characters contained in the game. Combat is fun, though it can get repetitive after playing for prolonged periods of time. If you are thinking about picking up this game and are necessarily a fan of the genre, I highly recommend playing with a friend.
If you are looking for a game that will offer you a unique experience with some Japanese flair, Code of Princess EX is right up your alley.
+ Value priced
+ Fantastic animated cut-scenes and hand drawn environments
+ Unique cast of over 50 characters
+ Fun to play with friends
+ Excellent Japanese voice acting
– Battle can become repetitive after a while
– Not a lot of online players to connect with
– Changing between planes is awkward
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5