Title: Princess Crown
Release Date: March 8, 2007
Publisher (Developer): Atlus (Vanilla Ware)
ESRB Rating: N/A, Cero A
Pros: Easy to play, especially if you use a guide. Beautiful sprites and graphics. Interesting story. Unofficial ‘prequel’ to Odin Sphere. Also affordable.
Cons: Controls take some getting used to. The frames on the sides of the screen get distracting.
Overall Score: 8/10
Vanillaware and Odin Sphere fans won’t want to miss Princess Crown, purely for the nostalgia value. The port of the Sega Saturn title has some issues but, overall, is a delightful game. After only a few minutes of playing you can see how Princess Crown influenced Odin Sphere and, if you’ve played Odin Sphere, you’ll have no problem navigating Princess Crown.
While Princess Crown is a completely 2D, sprite-based game, it is one of the most beautiful PSP titles. The graphics are very detailed and striking, and the characters are memorable. If you can look past the stark frames, you’ll see a stylish game that belongs in the same catagory as Patapon, Loco Roco, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy and Brave Story: The New Traveller.
Becoming a Proper Queen
While Princess Crown features multiple character storylines, like Odin Sphere, the star of the game is Princess Gradriel. After her mother’s death, Gradriel is named her heir and crowned queen of the kingdom. Since her whole life has been spent in the castle with her two elder sisters, she decides the best way to learn about and defend her kingdom is to do some exploring. So, with her fairy assistant Arlia, Gradriel sets out to explore and aid her country.
Three secondary characters also appear in Princess Crown. They pop up throughout Gradriel’s story, and once Gradriel’s story is completed, each of them have a short storyline. Players also get to experience the life of the knight defender Edward, the Robin Hood-esque pirate Portgus and the apprentice witch Prosperina.
Warning: Subtle Eccentricities May Annoy American Gamers
While Princess Crown is lovely, it is a flawed port. These flaws detract only slightly from the great game that lies underneath. Most of these issues stem from a slightly sloppy porting of the original Sega Saturn game, but they aren’t a big enough reason to avoid playing this game.
The first issue is the display. The game wasn’t altered to fit the widescreen format. Instead, frames show up around the game while you play. You can choose different frames but, sometimes, they just feel distracting. You almost get the impression that if they weren’t there, you’d have more freedom to explore or you’d be able to see more enemies coming.
The second issue is the controls. They are a bit awkward in part due to the natural Japanese control scheme where O confirms and X cancels actions. When you’re first starting out, it is easy to accidentally open and use something from your item bag or block when you meant to attack. If you stick with it, you’ll adapt to it and it won’t be an issue any longer.
Since there’s a comprehensive guide at GameFaqs, and the game mainly is an action/fighter, it is very import friendly. If you decide that you’d like to play Princess Crown, you shouldn’t have any trouble – especially if you’ve played Odin Sphere.
Wonderful Game, Adequate Port
Overall, Princess Crown‘s PSP port is a wonderful game. If you can get over the lack of widescreen presentation and initially awkward controls, you’ll find yourself enjoying a wonderfully innovative adventure. Odin Sphere fans especially would find themselves adoring Princess Crown, as they’d see many of the concepts they loved in their initial forms.
It is a shame that any version of this game never received a US release. Princess Crown on the Sega Saturn or PSP would be a fantastic addition to either game catalogs. Thankfully, the region-free nature of the PSP allows Atlus, Vanillaware and Odin Sphere fans to pick up this classic treasure.
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