Fat Princess Review - September 25th 2009

Titan Studio's Fat Princess has certainly been one of the most hyped PlayStation Network games in the service's history. Has it lived up to expectations?

While Titan Studios are filled with experienced characters from other development teams, Fat Princess is their first major release as a new team. As such, the enthusiasm and acclaim that gathered around the game ahead of release was based purely on the package on offer. Fat Princess boasts a gloriously unique art style, which has undoubtedly captured the imagination of many gamers and critics alike, as well as the sort of multiplayer focus that has made classics out of the likes of Warhawk and Battlefield 1943.

The first thing that strikes you after downloading what is clearly an expensive game by the PSN's standards (at 11.99), is the art style; instantly fears over the price are allayed. Using bright cel-shading and a medieval setting, the scene could almost mistaken for Team 17's Worms games. A prowling narration introduces you to the story, which, while brief, suits the game's style to a tee. Two princesses have been cursed by a Black Forest Gateaux, eating far too much of it and becoming overweight. Both princesses are then kidnapped by the two enemy factions, and must be recaptured. The clincher is that each team can keep feeding their resident princess cake to increase her weight, thus making her much more difficult to be captured.

The action can be frantic, but is rarely mindless.

The premise to Fat Princess isn't actually all that different to Incognito's Warhawk or DICE's Battlefield. From a gameplay standpoint, it basically boils down to capture the flag, with some Domination-esque elements thrown in, such as capturing outposts from the opposition team. Where the game shows true individuality, however, is in the class-based gameplay and unique pseudo-RPG elements. Each team has a base or castle that the princess is stored in. Also present in these locations are machines that generate 'hats'. There are five different types of hat representing the game's classes: Warrior, Ranger, Priest, Mage and Worker. Players can switch classes at will by simply requesting a hat from one of these devices, and as such can change their role or speciality depending on the tide of battle.

The Warrior is your run-of-the-mill grunt class. They possess a melee attack that will beat any other class in close quarters, and can be upgraded with a two-handed sword for more damage. Rangers are the archer class, boasting a bow and arrow, upgradeable to a shotgun, which many players love getting their hands on. Priests and Mages are both magic classes, with the former healing (upgradeable to drain enemy health) and the latter damaging (upgradeable to freeze enemies where they stand - a potentially ruthless tactic in a team). Finally the Worker, which may not be the most exciting or glamorous choice, but possesses a crucial ability - to be able to cut down trees for wood and harvest stone from quarries - resources that are integral for upgrading your team's other classes. Workers can also be upgraded to provide an attacking threat, namely bombs, similar in style to a grenadier.

The inclusion of the princesses as the central theme was inspired.

There is a single player mode on offer, which helps to justify the price-tag. It boasts seven chapters, featuring all the online game modes: Rescue the Princess, Snatch 'n Go, Team Deathmatch, and Invasion. Snatch n' Go and Rescue the Princess are basically the same, but the latter requires three successful captures to win. Invasion is more like Battlefield, where you have to protect towers in the wilderness outside your base. Clearly the princesses themselves are the main lure with this game, and so the other modes don't get too much of a look-in.

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