Before I begin to describe the video game Fat Princess, let me state firstly that it executes a vile sin in gaming. Terms like “pwned” and “noobs” and general internet leet-speak are meant to be used by the gamers of PC games like Starcraft and Quake, as part of their…unique gaming subculture. Also keep in mind that Starcraft and Quake became popular in the LAST millennium. Fat Princess features a British storybook announcer narrating a story about you the player pwning noobs. There’s something decidedly square about a game using catchphrases that are stagnant even by gamers’ standards, and Fat Princess does this with the same level of hilarity of a Fred Durst parody. I was starting to worry that going to the options screen would result in a Rick-Rolling.
This should also be the giveaway as to whom Fat Princess is targeted towards; the Super Happy Tree Friends crowd. This game is about big-headed, cartoonish fantasy characters chopping each other up into giant pools of blood and Mcfleshnuggets. I didn’t cackle with glee the same way I’m sure many little kids playing Fat Princess will, but at least the violence fits the playful and chaotic theme of the game better than, say, the pointlessly excessive violence in Prototype.
Fat Princess is a team-based, online, multiplayer competition. As it seems to be the grandest of video game traditions, a Blue Team is once again at war with a Red Team. Blue versus Red could go down as the most historic conflict in human history if you think about it; this battle started in medieval times with Fat Princess, continued through the modern ages in Team Fortress and the two sides will continue to clash in outer space with the Halo games. The conflict in the feels short-lived in comparison.
In regards to this particular war, each side has kidnapped the other’s princess, and many soldiers will fight and lose their lives in the name of rescuing their respective spoiled-brat-heir to the throne. There exists some kind of single-player mode that details why these princesses are such gluttons for dessert, but the actual gameplay of this mode consists of playing the multiplayer mode against bots. Hence, nobody can be made to bother.
When you start a battle of the two primary colours, your mini-person-avatar can elect to put on one of five different hats to assume a class type. Warriors are great close-range fighters, mages cast area-of-effect attacks, rangers fire from a distance, and priests keep the team feeling healthy and reinvigorated with magic and Vitamin Water. Surprisingly, the worker class may be the most interesting of the bunch; workers can gather resources, which are hence used to upgrade other classes and build structures that improve the team’s mobility on the game map. His role may be the most important of the team when you think about it, a nice turnabout of respect from the poor resource-gathering workers of the Starcraft verse.
As far as combat goes, your controls are limited to locking on to targets and aimlessly hacking away at whatever opposite-coloured foe you’ve focused on, until either you or him pulls a leg muscle and dies. I know that this was probably intended, but I can’t help but feel like the dumbing down of the experience makes this game too shallow on the individual level. Unlike in a Team Fortress or Battlefield where a more skilled player can gun down many opponents and even single-handedly defeat a dysfunctional team, the single soldier in Fat Princess can accomplish little besides taking part of a giant mosh pit of blood and blind rage. Since each team can have up to 16 players, the game’s scuffles can involve giant crowds of midget combatants slashing away with no strategy other than “slash or be slashed.”
Rather, the game is intended to be assessed with teamwork and co-ordination. Letting the workers gather the resources necessary to build the key structures, capturing key outposts, planning your attacks on the enemy castle, and over-nourishing your captive princess. The “Fat Princess” alluded in the title refers to how these princesses can’t seem to turn down a slice of cake, despite being handed to them by the enemy. There are a million jokes that can be made here, but I feel like they’ve already been dropped at one place or another. Being force-fed enough dessert will fatten a princess to a point where any enemy soldier’s squat-lift will be tested when they have to heave their respective team’s Majesty back to their castle, thus requiring teammates to lend a hand. There’s a sense of satisfaction in working with a well-coordinated team, making all the right plays and taking the oversized football that is the princess back to your endzone.
There just…isn’t a lot of well-coordinated teams.
At the risk of angering every single person reading this review, let me state that the biggest flaw with Fat Princess is that it’s a Playstation 3 game.
Go ahead and call me a hater of some kind. Hell, I might be after thrashing Killzone 2 and Infamous in reviews. But the thing about the Playstation 3 userbase is that there aren’t enough people playing with some form of communication. Xboxes come bundled with hokey-looking plastic headsets designed for air traffic controllers. PC gamers that haven’t adopted a similar system can at least type messages with their keyboards. Headsets haven’t been made to be readily available for Playstation 3 owners, hence why so many PSN games have an indefinite aura of dead air. The official Sony Bluetooth headset costs almost as much as a new video game too. It’s an unfortunate situation, and Fat Princess comes out the worse for it.
As a result, most Fat Princess battles end in stalemates, with most of your teammates content to suicide-charge the enemy stronghold and die a quick death… over and over again.
There are other modes besides Princess-snatching. I don’t know what “Snatch n Grab” is supposed to be since nobody seems to hosting games for it online. The title suggests a form of sexual harassment. The in-game description is “you rescue your princess three times”, which to me, feels like a problematic mode since most people are still struggling with that first big rescue as is. There’s also a Team Deathmatch mode and a strange soccer game that focus more on the shallow, chaotic combat and thus lose their novelty. And finally, if you’re into that kind of thing, there’s the obligatory capture-the-nodes mode.
I guess Fat Princess has the potential to be a strong team-based multiplayer source of mega-mania. If you’ve got a group of fellow Princess-loving PS3 owners with whom you are willing to align yourself with, then you’ve got a decent little team deathmatch game on your hands. But for the single, individual player looking to kill time by hopping into random online sessions between real life cake, then you’d best leave this princess in another castle.
(Christ, what a terrible line. “Leave this princess in another castle.” At least I didn’t make jokes about the in-game cake being a lie.)