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Fat Princess: Worth the Weight

Fat Princess was announced at E3 2008 and, with the exception of a few feminists, instantly become one of the system's most anticipated releases. While gameplay videos reveal a good short-form version of what the game is about, hands-on time reveals a much deeper game.

For those still in the dark about Fat Princess, it is a team-based strategy for up to 16 players. Traditional gameplay variations like Deathmatch are available, as is a territory-capturing mode called Invasion, but the real magic comes from Snatch and Grab and Rescue the Princess. Each mode features the game's namesake princess and charges groups of players with the task of either capturing a princess or protecting their own. The catch is that the princess can't say "no" to sweets, making her rescue that much more of a team effort.

Again, Fat Princess sounds like a straightforward game, but Titan Studios has managed to squeeze a lot into a simple package. Five classes are available - Mage, Priest, Warrior, Archer, Worker - and swapping out of each is as easy as changing a hat. Each class comes with a set of abilities that are vital to the overall war effort. Mages can cast fire and ice spells, while priests provide healing and protection spells. Warriors excel at up-close combat, while archers do their jobs from the backlines.

Workers are perhaps the most important class in the lot; without them, nothing gets done. Workers gather resources needed for the castle and, more importantly, class improvements and are the only ones capable of repairing the ever-important castle door. In addition to castle improvements, workers can build siege equipment like springboards and catapults. All of the classes are fun to play, but you have to give credit to Titan for finding a way to make even the lowly worker a class people will want to play.

With the exception of the villager, every class is upgradeable. Feeding resources to factories in you castle unlocks new abilities for each class, offering new strategies. Archers trade their bows for rifles and priests earn damage-dealing curses. Of course, advanced classes have their limitations, so players can switch between the two with a button press.

Teamwork is vital to the game's core concept, which may end up being an issue once the game is released. Tasks are best when completed in groups, but if the beta is any indication, there are still a few hiccups when it comes to training the general player populace about the virtues of teamwork. To their credit, Titan has managed to find a few ways to encourage playing nice with others. A.I. bots fill in when human players aren't available and do a surprisingly admirable job of keeping up the flow of the game.

Although the teamwork thing makes me a bit nervous, Fat Princess's good points so far outweigh the bad. If the beta is any indication, PS3 owners will not be disappointed.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker
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