Prince of Persia is a game following a legacy of fantastic titles. The Sands of Time trilogy was by far one of the best set of games on the Playstation 2, Ubisoft had a lot to live up to, but instead of creating yet another sequel, this game is all new. What’s really cool is the all new story, but the most important thing, is the new Prince
The game is set in ancient Persia, but then again where else would it be? It drops you in after a short cinematic where you take control of the Prince, whose name is kept anonymous throughout the entire game. You almost instantly meet Elika, a girl who takes your side throughout the story. Throughout the game you and Elika will run, jump and flip through some beautiful environments and settings while you battle the corrupted henchmen of Ahriman, The God of Darkness. You’ll also be cleansing the land of his evil essence and trying to seal him back where he came from; no one wants him around.
The PoP games have always looked impressive, and the Sands of Time trilogy were some of the best looking games on the PS2, but this new title blows them out of the water. Using a completely different style of graphics they’ve improved upon the visuals tenfold. The game looks like it takes place within a painting; the backgrounds and scenery are spectacular, combined with the incredible detail on the characters clothes and expressions in a cell shaded fashion. All this creates a combo of style and beauty that will entrance you for the entire length of the game.
The game play hasn’t changed much, it retains much of the feel of the SoT series, with subtle changes to the acrobatics, however the combat has been completely rehashed. The acrobatics are essentially the same, wall runs and jumps all make a return but the new Prince has a shiny new toy. The Prince now wears a clawed gauntlet that allows him to slide down walls, this is primarily used to slow your descent as you don’t fall and break your legs. Elika also plays a part in the acrobatics, she can use her magic to double your jump, allowing you to reach places the Prince alone would have no hope of getting to, and she herself is very capable and agile so you don’t need to be keeping an eye on her all the time.
The combat is the main difference between this game and the previous installments, while before the Prince would have to fight off hordes of enemies, now you take them on one at a time, in fantastic cinematic duels. You have four main combat options, Sword attack, Acrobatic attack, Gauntlet attack and Magic [Elika] attack. All four of which can be chained into combo strings, this gives you a nice bit of variation in the battles, just enough to get you through the game, but not enough to stave off boredom.
Elika plays a great part in the game control, she allows you to double jump during acrobatics, and she plays a great part in combat with her magic attacks. She isn’t one of those secondary support characters that get in the way; she loyally follows you around without bothering the flow of game play except for when you press the “Elika button”; although she does occasionally surface for other reasons. I would evaluate her main purpose in the game is a safety net, if you fall when jumping or wall running, she catches you, and if you’re knocked off a ledge she catches you.
If you get defeated in battle, she knocks them away with magic so you survive but with your opponent regaining their health. I can imagine you are seeing a trend, one that results in death being removed from the game almost entirely.The whole point to this system is to continue the flow of game play, as a game over screen can often frustrate even the best of us, causing us to give up on the game. But here you can keep playing for hours without even noticing the passing time.
Prince of Persia is a platformer at heart, and while the previous games entailed lots of enemies to hack through and frustrating puzzles, this installment lacks those primary features that made us love the previous games. Throughout the game you encounter less than 5 puzzles; you’ll miss sitting and thinking over a lever or cog puzzle, but don’t fret as the platforming makes up for the lack of logic needed for the game. The hordes of enemies are only missed about halfway into the game, when the one on one battles slowly become repetitive and tiresome.
The sound is nothing short of spectacular beautiful; it’s calming and relaxing and fits the style and scenery of the game perfectly with tense suspenseful battle music it all slides together perfectly. From the moment you start the opening sequence, you’ll start to love the Prince and his cheeky banter, and he’ll make you chuckle a fair few times before it’s over, all in all the sound and voice acting are superb.
The game is unsurprisingly easy, once you get past the initial clumsy fall you’ll sink into the controls wonderfully and the game will be completed in around 10 or so hours, depending on your level of completion. Prince of Persia is easy enough for the casual gamer but satisfying enough for the hardcore fan to enjoy, with only one difficulty setting it would have to be. Unfortunately there isn’t much replay value in the game, except to go back and get achievements or trophies you missed; there is no other real incentive to play through a second time.
Prince of Persia is wonderful and anyone with a 360 or PS3 should pick it up. It’s one of the best platformers in our current generation and by far one of the prettiest. It’s worth a buy or at least a week long rent and you will enjoy every moment of it. Ubisoft have created yet another masterpiece in the series and I cannot wait for the sequel.
Reviewer’s note: The Playstation 3 version was tested for this review
Absolutely stunning, one of the most visually breathtaking games out there.
Flows smoothly throughout the entire game, but combat lets it down slightly though.
Great music and hilarious dialogue coupled with top notch voice acting.
No real incentive for a second play through, unless you really loved the game.
A great addition to the franchise, it doesn’t disappoint.