Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fat Princes beta: first hour impressions

Note: I hit this up a few days ago. I tightened some parts up and I'm posting it up from here in Seattle, en route to Hawaii. Check it out and I'll be back next week with more fun.

As I dropped earlier, I was able to get into the Fat Princess beta test. I'm good like that, I guess, seeing that this is my fifth beta I've participated in. But you don't want to hear about that.

But first, a description of the game. From Wikipedia:

"Fat Princess puts the player on a team consisting of up to 32 male and female cartoon characters, with the main goal in the game to rescue their team's princess held captive by an opposing team, although team-deathmatch and other online modes are also available. The player can choose from ten dessert-themed levels such as Coco Cliffs and Black Forest.

At the beginning of the game, each of the teams will already have their opponent's princess held captive. In order to make their opponent's task in rescuing her more difficult, the player can give more and more food to the princess they have captured, so that she will become fatter and heavier, and the opponent's team will need larger number of players to carry her.

The game's mechanics have the player control a standard 3D, cel-shaded, character at the fort, castle, or stronghold. There are five machines at the player's fort, each producing hats. Depending on which hat gets picked up and put on, the player gets different abilities. The game consists of five classes: the mage, priest, warrior, worker and archer. Each has its own set of unique weapons and play style."

That's the facts. Now I will say that ever since Sony showed this game last year, we haven't heard much about it. Something I think Sony should take to heart. Much like Killzone 2, keeping the game under wraps gives the developers more room to move and make the game, rather than constantly answering questions about why ths game will 'save' the PS3. The game looks really good. It runs very well with all the chaos running rampant on the battlefield. The menus, like everything in the game, are full of humor and tongue in cheek moments. There is a custom character menu, and as you play the game, more and more custom parts become available for you little avatar. Some are really funny and cool. I'll say that a Mr.T-like mohawk should show up at some point. The backgrounds give you an idea what the game is going to play like and again, everything so far was very well laid out. There is an option to play online and to play LAN style offline. I jumped online and dove head first into the fray.

The general combat is very open ended and seems to cater to alot of different play styles. The two gametypes, Deathmatch and CTP are standard fare for the multiplayer online games, but it's the class system that makes everything come together. The hack and slash, all in your face, on the front line type players will dig the warrior class. More background/support players will dig the priest and the archers. The key to the game is upgrading your hats, which makes the worker the backbone of the game. The fast paced nature of the game and the non-binding style of play (you are able to change classes on he fly by picking up different hats on the battlefield as well as in you castle) make for a quick and crazy game and alot of fun. If you play with flattening out anyone in your path or using strategy to break down the enemies castle doors, you'll have a good time playing.

The blood and gore can be turned off for people sensitive about such things, but the game gets BLOODY quick. It's a trip to see head popping off an enemy as you chuck a bomb from you upgraded worker. It starts looking like Braveheart after two or three minutes. Choke points, like a bridge in the middle of the map (only one mag in the beta so far) make the players start thinking quick about teamwork.The team that has a priest and some archers are going to fair better than the team that has nothing but warriors. I found myself, like in most online games, backing up a fellow player (that later friended me so we could play the beta more at a later date) going over said bridge in the middle of the map. Just over the bridge is a mini castle that your team can take over for points. Both teams seem to meet here to rumble. We went into it two on their four and did ok. He was a priest and I was a worker and we smacked them down, took over the mini and head over the next bridge to the enemy main castle where we were met by about eight players that completely destroyed us. Not a game to 'go it alone' for sure.

You get points for almost every action in the game. From getting resources for your hat machines to shooting and killing enemies to picking up the princess, it adds up and unlocks items and other goodies we're told. It looks ripe for DLC like maps and possible new classes. It really fits into the perception that PSN has different game experiences then your arcade rehashes. It seems like this is going to be beating up the bandwidth on the Playstation Network soon.

For someone that enjoys team based online games rather all out war fragfests, Fat Princess is going to take alot of time from me. Hopefully, the trophies and challenges will be interesting provide some more ways to play the game outside people's comfort zone. I really dig the game after an hour and I do plan on buying this one day one. Hopefully, girls don't take this too personally. It's campy fun. Bloody, campy fun.


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