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Battle Princess of Arcadias (PS3) Review

/ Jun 26th, 2014 No Comments

Developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America, the side-scrolling JRPG Battle Princess of Arcadias has brought its interesting battle mechanics and customization to the PlayStation 3. While the characters of Battle Princess of Arcadias are static, the gameplay is not. A great character switch-out system reminiscent of fighting games such as Marvel vs. Capcom and a multitude of enemies and boss battles provide fun combat.

Here Come the Archetypes

Character archetypes are a staple of JRPGs and Battle Princess of Arcadias is no exception. The more two-dimensional feel of many of the game’s main characters should be taken with a grain of salt as the dialogue and story engage players.
 
Not as great as Princess Kenny, but I'll take it!

Battle Princess of Arcadias takes place in a world where territories have their own battle princess who is tasked with defending the land from monsters. Players control Battle Princess Plume and her companions as they attempt to restore order to the land.

Plume is a typical naïve youth. Her main assistant is the reluctant hero type, the king is an aloof ruler and so-on and so forth. Cutscenes drag on, especially when players are forced to watch them a second time, but they can be skipped.

Real Time Button Mashing

Most JRPGs use a turn-based battle system but Battle Princess of Arcadias foregoes that for real-time combat. There is the standard flurry of moves focusing on either air or ground attacks as well as a block ability, but combat mechanics can be boiled down to one particular move used in repetition.
 

Nothing reminds me of Christmas more than a fresh kill.

Nothing reminds of Christmas more than a fresh kill.

There is a healthy selection of attacks and combos for players who wish to memorize them, but many are needlessly complicated and thereby lose their effectiveness in the heat of battle. The character switch-out mechanic is incredibly satisfying as players don’t need to micromanage three party members every fight but merely need to switch out their fighter as they see fit. Strategies can be formed in this manner as players can start with a ranged fighter until enemies get clustered, then switch to a melee-based partner and lay waste.

Pretty Pretty Princess

While using a 2-D animation style, Battle Princess of Arcadias still holds appeal visually. The animation is fair and distinction between enemies is easily achieved. Cutscenes themselves appear to use in-game graphics, which keeps players immersed. Characters blend together and even distinct names and personalities don’t differentiate as well as they should considering Battle Princess of Arcadias uses an obvious template for body types of its characters.

The only character who stands out is a goose, so it’s rather hard to forget that character. This can be extremely frustrating during the massive boss battles in which players are expected to command a multitude of similar-looking allies. Some allies are mages while others are archers or even melee-based units. The majority of the group weighs in heavily when deciding whether a defensive ranged strategy or no-holds-bar melee strategy is best.

Japan Really Does Have the Best Music

While graphics may not be the game’s strong suit, music certainly is. A great score and adrenaline pumping battle music keeps the pace flowing and keeps players entertained while button mashing through hordes of enemies.
 

If I have to fight a giant floating head without pseudo-metal then I'd rather just not do it.

If I have to fight a giant floating head without pseudo-metal then I’d rather just not do it.

Simple walking music and basic cutscene fanfare serve their part in keeping the player immersed and engaged, which is especially important considering the game is voice acted only in Japanese. Sound effects for dialogue add a touch of flair as a quick series of notes will be played when a character expresses a distinct emotion. While the game has a distinctly Japanese bit of flair, JRPG fans will find the story-telling aspect endearing as well as engaging.

Prepare For Battle

Battle Princess of Arcadias tries something new with the JRPG genre, namely removing turn-based combat. Turn-based combat has become a staple of the series to a point where players often forget that a side-scroller or other gameplay mechanic can still hold value in an RPG. Games like Mass Effect have demonstrated this wholeheartedly while others, such as Fearless Fantasy, have a long way to go before thinking about adding new mechanics to the turn-based combat system. With Battle Princess of Arcadias, the story and music are engaging enough to entice most, but the simplistic character design and over-the-top personalities detract from the overall experience.

For the $29.99 PSN price tag Battle Princess of Arcadias should only be picked up by dedicated RPG/JRPG fans, for everyone else, the battle shall rage on elsewhere.

 

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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BATTLE PRINCESS OF ARCADIAS (PS3) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall77%

GAMEPLAY7.5

A fun bit of item customization and character combat is to be had in Battle Princess of Arcadias, but tedious nature of button mashing can set in early as the player does not need a solid grasp of combos in order to do well in the game.

GRAPHICS6.5

Every character in Battle Princess of Arcadias looks harshly identical, and while personality and name can help distinguish with main characters, the average foot soldier becomes indistinguishable from the next when does pose a problem during major fights.

SOUND9

The intense battle music, the whimsical travel tracks and the upbeat cut-scene beats pull the player into Battle Princess of Arcadias and help to offset a lot of the flaws with the game. Japan really does have the best music.

STORY8

While the story of Battle Princess of Arcadias doesn't hold any new punches, it certainly keeps the player entertained and hits all the correct notes of a JRPG making it an enjoyable plotline to follow and experience.

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