Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
Number of Players: 1
US: December 2, 2008
The Prince has changed since I’ve last remembered him from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (I have not played the two succeeding). This time he’s a whole new character with a whole new personality. What does this mean for the series, and does this mean that this game is a whole new experience on its own?
Well I can tell you that it feels like a whole new experience because this time you’re not alone. At the very start of the game you will be introduced to the lovely (yes, she’s flipping awesome) Elika. At first, she seems a little unfriendly and mysterious, but as soon as the story progresses she will open up to you. One of the first things you’ll notice about this game is that it has an engrossing story. From the moment I popped in the disk, I was curious as to where each scenario would lead me. Branching the story so well really made this game sink in fast, which in this game’s case is good, because it will throw a lot of confusing storyline stuff at you quickly. Don’t worry though, because as you play through things get much clearer.
So that's what you do eh?
Driving this story is of course the Prince, and Elika. In my opinion they make a good couple/team and are interesting to pay attention to. They have a good chemistry together and in the back of your head you’ll wonder what is going to happen to them at the end. Hopefully, like me you’ll be hoping for a nice happy ending, but the beautiful thing about this game is that you’ll keep playing to find out. So, opposed to what some reviews have said, I absolutely love the characters, even though there dialogue may be a bit flat sometimes.
The story follows a “light/dark” setting much like I’ve seen in games like Metriod and Zelda. Basically the world where Elika grew up is now covered in corruption because an ancient god is escaping into the world and spreading evil across. The Prince unaware of this at first is dragged into the problem and is forced to fix it with Elika to stay alive. You’ll be working with Elika to drive out the corruption and seal the god.
Now, because you’re not just in control of the prince anymore, but 2 characters the game play mechanics change quite a bit from the old Prince of Persia’s. There are still many things I remember from Sands of Time like wall running, jumping, sliding, pole grabbing etc, but now with Elika a bunch of new abilities pop up in general exploration and combat. Wonderous Elika posses a bunch of magical abilities which provide the prince with a set of different moves. Although, at the start of the game when it comes to general exploration with Elika it will be limited to what she can do, because you’ll have to collect Lightsies to power her up (but I’ll get to that in a bit). At the start of the game the first thing you will do with Elika is a stylish double jump. So where there is a big gap to clear pressing Y will instantly get Elika to grab you and toss you that much further. This is a very basic but always used action in the game. It looks cool, and is damn fun to pull off, especially when you’re stringing together several jumps and at the last moment and it looks like you’re not going to make the last jump but Elika saves the day. You’ll be sure to instantaneously love it.
Elika's magic saves the day <3 <3 <3
If you’re worried that controlling two characters won’t work well, don’t fret because this game executes the co-op team perfectly. Essentially it will feel like you’re just controlling the prince, but Elika will always be right behind you ready to execute her special ability at the press of a button. The only time I ever found her to be slightly annoying is when I jump on a ledge and then she jumps after you and you have to wait for the animation of the prince tossing her beside you. But that’s such a small nuisance that it barley phased me during my game play. Now, Elika can do more than just double jump you, After powering her up with lightsies she can learn 4 new magic abilities that are activated by different colour panels. I don’t want to go into detail on these panels, because that would somewhat spoil the game for you guys, but just know that while 2 of them seem somewhat similar, they all provide a nice gameplay dynamic and have cool animations. For instance, one of the panels will set the prince into a running state (that is auto-locked to a new destination) but you will be able to move the prince side to side to avoid walls and pillars which will get in your way. The game will throw many instances that have several different panels where you will have to navigate through them all. It is stylist fun and beautiful. I’d also like to add that the camera is very well implemented and should never interfere with leaps or general exploration.
When you first start up the game, the controls might feel a bit foreign and clunky. For me there was about a 30 minute learning curve before I felt comfortable performing jumps and wall slides in fast chains. Rest assured though, that going through each of the jumps/slides/wallhugs/ etc it will be fluent, fun, and awesome (once you get used to the controls). This PoP game really has better plat forming sequences than Sands of Time. The sequences of stringing together several jumps and grabs to get to a destination is very cool and progressive, also giving you a nice feeling of accomplishment.
I got you babeh <3 <3 <3
In order to make this game’s combat feel more personal, the Ubisoft team decided to make ALL combat 2vs1. I like it a lot better than just random hacking and slashing in the previous games, because it does feel a lot more personal and engaging. I will dig deeper into this system in a bit, but first it’s important to note that Ubisoft has only created 4 unique bosses in the game. While that seems a bit slim, it still works quite nicely, because each boss has its own personality which you can connect to.
Combat has over gone a huge change from what I remember. Now it’s all about stringing together combos. Each button is mapped to a different action, Your sword is X, Elika’s Magic is Y, Your gauntlet (grabbing) is B, and Aerial attacks is controlled with A. This means in combat you’ll be pressing these buttons in a variety of different combinations in order to effectively take down your enemies. Of course, this game will make sure you’re being creative with your combos otherwise you won’t get very far in combat. For instance, further into the game enemies will be loaded with corruption which will render your sword and other attacks useless, this is when Elika’s magic comes in handy to drive out the corruption and make it able to freely attack again. The bosses will toss up what specific abilities you won’t be able to use as time goes on. It will punish you for carelessness too, if an enemy is resistant to Elikas magic and you use Elika’s magic at them, they will toss her aside and you’ll be Elika-less until you go get her back up. Trust me playing without Elika sucks, she makes the combat flow much better, so keeping her up is crucial.
There’s things about the combat that just really drag down the gameplay though. While performing combo’s looks really good, and there’s lots of options – you’ll quickly find out that the enemies don’t really have a variety of attacks. Each enemy has a bunch of “cut-scene” attacks in which you’ll have to press a certain button to escape from (sometimes rapidly pressing them too). Now, this game abuses this fact, for instance when I’m fighting one of the bosses I’ll get spammed with this “cut-scene” attack numerous amounts of times and I quickly get sick of watching the animations for them. It makes it so frustrating when I just want to start a combo going and every damn second an enemy is using special “cut-scene” attacks. Half the time of battles you fight, you’ll be repeatedly watching these cut scenes. On top of that fact, there’s no real challenge in the battle. If an enemy hits you with a cut-scene attack, even when it looks like you’re about to die Elika will save you. The only penalty for this is the enemy regaining some of its health. Trust me, this will annoy you beyond belief, because that means you’re in for more “cut-scene” attacks.
UGH STOP WITH THE DAMN CUT-SCENE ATTACKS!
It really takes away most of the adrenaline you’ll be getting from the battle because you know if you fail you’re not going to die, you’re just going to have to get stuck fighting the enemies longer. That even just takes away from the intense “I’m going to die feeling” that you will get when an enemy is just about to crush you’re skull. Combat is something in the game that looks amazing, but ultimately fails at giving you a rush of excitement in battle. The mechanics of battle are good, but the overall idea and premise lowers its quality drastically which is a shame because I could’ve seen those battles being really intense.
The game follows the idea of Elika always being there by your side. So that means that not only in combat will she save your ass, but also in general exploration and challenges. If you fall of a cliff to your doom, Elika will be there to grab you and put you back on the ledge you where just on. So that means you CANNOT die in this game. Yep, you are invulnerable, there is little to punishment in this game. Although it seems horrible, I didn’t mind it half the time. Aside from it ruining most of the Combat, it really doesn’t affect exploration as much. The way it works is that if you fall to your doom Elika drops you on the last LEDGE you were on. But most of the time, you are jumping from the ledge, ontop a pillar onto the side of a wall, off the wall and up it to a power plate launching up to the stars then off the wall to a pillar again and so on and so forth. What this means is that if you die anywhere in-between those sequence you ‘ll be put right back on that ledge where you started. So if you’re at a part where you’re climbing a huge tower, you’ll still feel quite punished when you make a misstep and start right back on the ledge at the bottom. So overall, the mechanic of Elika saving you every time doesn’t always hurt the gameplay. It is very obvious that Ubisoft was going for more of a casual style of game play, and that’s much of what you’ll find from Prince of Persia.
There is something in this game that will always keep your jaw on the floor though, and that’s the graphics. This game as most of you know, has a celshaded look. I have fallen in love with it, it is one of the most beautifully artistic games I have ever played period. Everything feels so magical and captivating. You’ll be in places where it may seem like you’re looking miles into the distance. High rise palaces, lush forests, a vast desert – all absolutely wonderful. Even Elika and the Prince are nicely detailed and good looking. The colours in the game are just so dynamic and eye popping. The style of graphics feels so original and is a treat for anyone who has a passion for beautiful landscapes. When you go into corrupted lands, everything is black and blue , but once you heal the land the colours come in and it’s a wondrous sight. To make things more awesome, this game has no framerate problems, so executing perfect timing on jumps is very possible and fun. The animations are all very solid and some of the best I’ve seen. They are also very creative. To make things super clear – I LOVE this games graphics. Fantastic work Ubisoft.
Oops, I dropped my watch down there :/
The whole story experience in Prince of Persia will probably last you up to 7-9hrs, but the game is not exactly done after that. When you “heal” a land of corruption a bunch of bright lightsies will flood the surrounding area. While getting these things are crucial to powering up Elika, after a certain amount collected you would be able to stop and beat the game. But if you’re a true collector you’ll want to stick around and collect all 1001 Lightsies. It will make you want to re-explore the different places in the game numberous times. Even after you heal a land, you may even want to stick around and just collect Lightsies instead of progressing too, it’s really up to you. They put the Lightsies in interesting places, but to my knowledge most of the ones I’ve found now haven’t been too hard to find. Either way, you can think of these things much like music notes in Banjo-Kazooie, collecting them is crucial to progression, but is also an extra fun challenge on the side to get them all.
The soundtrack in Prince of Persia is quite nice, and the voice acting between characters is clear and loveable. Sound effects are also nicely implemented can help keep constant focus on the game – In combat and general exploration.
OMG WE ARE FLYING
If you’re expecting this game to have a wide array of puzzles then you may be disappointed. Most of the puzzles in the game were quite easy and barley felt like puzzles. I would say there is maybe 3 difficult puzzles in the game, so if the puzzles was what made you love the other Prince of Persia’ this game is sure to disappoint you.
Now one last thing I’d like to stress a bit further about this game is that is it created for casual gamers. There are several annoyances and disappoints with this fact. I’ve described some already, but here’s another. I’ve noticed that this game sometimes feels like its treating me like a 10 year old. Especially at the beginning of the game. Most games go through a nice tutorial to get you to understand the gameplay mechanics. In this game, it feels like the tutorial never ends (or leaves you alone). At the beginning for the first 30-45mins it seems – the jumps and grabs etc are all scripted. You’ll come to a ledge and it will tell you exactly what to do. “press Y” watch animation..”press A” watch animation “press Y” watch animation – Etc. It’s really stupid and to make matters worse there is NO option to turn this off. It pissed me off for the first bit of the game, but thankfully it mostly goes away once you progress through the game. I really wish there was an option to turn this off…
Show me the way darling <3 <3 <3
This Prince of Persia has changed much since the last I’ve seen him. This is a great change in my opinion because so many new changes have come into play. Elika is amazing and so is her magic, making playing as 2 way better than it sounds. The graphics are probably one of the coolest things in the game because it feels original and will keep your jaw dropped. Ultimately, one of the biggest problems with this game though, is that it feels far too casual. With a never ending tutorial, no way to die, and unengaging combat you’ll defiantly feel things could be improved. Still, with several different flaws in the game, it still remains to be a very magical, original experience that is sure to please any adventure/platformer gamer. The story and chemistry between the Prince and Elika will also spruce up the experience.
Presentation - 9.0/10
The Story is solid and engrossing. Chemistry between the characters is loveable but the dialogue can get a bit flat.
Graphics - 10/10
Absolutely fantastic. The CelShaded look is highly artistic achieving a very captivating experience. Animations are very fluent and awesome to watch.
Sound - 9.0/10
The voice acting is great. Soundtrack is nice, and sound effects are implemented well.
Gameplay - 8.5/10
Playing 2 characters as one has never been so fun. Controls are tight making platforming in Prince of Persia a fun experience. Adding Elika’s magic in the mix changes up the original style of Prince of Persia for the better. Sadly the game goes to easy on you and in some instances make you feel like a 10yr old.
Lasting Appeal - 8.0/10
The main story is around 7-9hrs but you’ll also be compelled to collect all 1001 Lightsies. You will likely want to play this experience more than once.
Achievements - 6.5/10
All the achievement art is the same, which is a disappointment. Most of the achievements are easy to get, but there are a few achievements that will provide a good challenge for gamers. Still, could have been better.
OVERALL: 8.5/10 - Great
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10 = Masterpiece
No game is perfect, but a 10 is the closest you’ll get to perfection. For a game to achieve a 10 it must be very special and rare. This is a must buy regardless of what genre you enjoy.
9.5 - 9.9 = Phenomenal
Titles that get in this range are fantastic achievements in design, game play, and story - generally all of the above. These are titles at the top of their field and are worthy of a full purchase from your hard earned dollars.
9.0 - 9.4 = Outstanding
A worthwhile experience with only a few minor flaws that do not detract from the game play much. If you are the least bit interested in the series/genre it is recommended for a buy.
8.5 - 8.9 = Great
A strong gaming experience that misses some key elements in a few areas. While still highly recommended for a buy, if you are not interested in the genre/series these games could be rented or skipped.
8.0 - 8.4 = Commendable
A game that has its fair share of flaws but still manages to give you overall enjoyment. If you are low on cash you'd be better off to skip or rent games that fall under this category, although if you did buy it, you'd still be getting your moneys worth.
7.0 - 7.9 = Decent
A title that can be quite fun at times but has significant flaws which drag down the game play, hindering a good overall experience throughout the game. Games that fall under this score are recommended for a rent and only a buy if you are a big fan of the series.
4.0 - 6.9 = Poor
A generic title that doesn't offer anything new to the table with obvious and serious flaws. Games under this category are not advised for a buy although you may be able to squeeze some fun out of them with a rent.
0.1 - 3.9 = Terrible
Titles that ensure a terrible gaming experience. Do not buy or rent, just avoid them at all costs.
Edited by The Colonel, 06 August 2009 - 10:16 PM.