Review – ‘Vanguard Princess’ The Fan Service Fighter

GameStop, Inc.
Not sure if it's fair to bring guns to a fist fight

Not sure if it’s fair to bring guns to a fist fight

Vanguard Princess is a 2d fighting game with an entirely female cast. You are able to choose from 10 different characters and pair them up with a support partner to create a unique team. It is available on Steam for $4.99 and the director’s cut download is available for free and will re-input the explicit content removed from the Japanese version of the game.

The game has a similar control system to that of Street Fighter, making use of the quarter circle, half circle, z movement, mechanics, but with only 3 attack buttons (light, medium and heavy). They also have a crucial parry system that plays a big part against later opponents in the one player story mode and likely against more advanced players. Combos are easily strung along without being unbalanced of infinite without needing intense memorization or pin point accuracy. The support character adds another dimension, however it doesn’t seem to be much of a game changer; many rounds go without either side really using the support character at all. Overall Vanguard Princess (VP) is a solid fighter through and through.

Only 2 choices in the menu

Only 2 choices in the menu, if you can look past the bust

The big appeal of VP is easily the fan service of the fighters. It is very reminiscent of Dead or Alive, in that the characters are busty, scantily dressed, women who jiggle. I am a bit opposed to how scantily dressed some of the support characters are, as the support characters all appear to be female children.  The animation and artwork is very well done, and are employed perfectly to highlight the “attributes” of the characters.

The game itself is a solid fighting game with a decent amount of depth into story and mechanics.The story mainly takes place in the form of character cards and text monologues. The quality of the artwork is very well done, although its primary use is for fan service.

I don't approve of the outfits their parents chose for them

I don’t approve of the outfits their parents chose for them

Where the game fails is in the details: The menu is not intuitive, it only has two options but the difficulty to go back a step is a frustrating trial an error of pressing the buttons. I used a wired 360 controller to play the game, as most games on Steam are optimized for it, and it works perfectly during gameplay. However, it almost seems to have no back feature in start menu settings, and the right thumb stick is used as the pause/start button rather than the actual start button. This would all be okay if you did not have to change the input of the controls every time you started the game. It also does not give you the option to use the controller’s d-pad and forces use of the main analog stick. This might be a personal pet peeve, but I cannot accurately perform the moves in the Street Fighter control scheme with an analog stick and I believe that is why all the special edition fighting controllers are just d-pads. Playing on a keyboard makes it near impossible to complete even some of the basic special attacks.

The lack of options in the start menu during gameplay is also a let down. In a complex fighting game, or most fighting games, the start menu has a move list. VP does not have a move list available during gameplay, the only move list available is displayed when choosing a character in story mode. In their attempt to not copy Street Fighter too much, the combos don’t intuitively follow the direction of the characters; like quarter circle forward to attack forward. Instead VP uses the most complex versions of the d-pad possible. This really is not that difficult, but considering how intuitive most fighting games movements are, it seems unnecessary to make it so “different.”

Lastly, the game starts off in what I believe is a 640×480 window. It can be expanded to full screen but it does cause quality loss in the image. It is worse than trying to stretch the 4×3 formath into 16×9. The benefits of the artwork is loss when playing full screen on higher resolution monitors. The loss of the game options are also loss in full screen and a search for the right button to shrink the window back down ensues. There is also no option to exit the game other than X-ing out the box, which is impossible to do in full screen. The Steam integration also seems non-existent other than being in the Steam Library and being able to be launched from there. The shift + tab ability is not there nor is screen shooting.

I had to censor that

I had to censor that

Vanguard Princess is a fun fighting game, that offers a decent amount of depth in its fighting engine for all fans of the genre. VP also boasts solid artwork that rivals that of Guilty Gear and King of Fighters, as long as the game is played in the initial window. The major downsides are the flaws in the gaming navigation and options. Luckily these have little to do with the actual game itself. However VP also does not bring anything amazingly new, unique, or noteworthy to the genre. It does not have anything to make it really stand out other than the exposed crotches from the director’s cut. For these reasons, I give Vanguard Princess: 5.5/10

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