Prince of Persia, released on December 2, 2008, by Ubisoft, has a lot of pressure on it to live up to previous installment’s mark of excellence. Five years ago, this Prince of Persia would have been a ground breaking title, however, with such games as the new Ninja Gaiden games, TMNT, the recent Tomb Raider installments, Mirror’s Edge, and others, there aren’t many new gameplay innovations from the Prince.
The Prince of Persia series is supposed to be about acrobatics and flow. With relatively choppy gameplay, especially for the Prince of Persia series, there are quite a few disappointments. Additionally, the release of Ahrimin (the main bad guy) at the beginning of the game seems to be one of the dumbest acts in the history of video games. Cliches, while often hard to avoid, should at least be delivered in a unique way.
The water-color styled graphics were long awaited, but in their actual implementation, they feel very pixelated. While I am sure this new graphical style requires a lot of the processor, it certainly doesn’t look that way. The style, while definitely unique, doesn’t quite seem up to snuff. The dialogue, on the other hand, is witty and well delivered. Being one of the best aspects to Prince of Persia, the voice acting is very well cast and performed, and the comic relief actually fits in quite well with Prince of Persia.
The combat systems feels awkward at first, but is something I did finally warm up to. Eventually, if nothing else, you will see how cinematic the combos are. Elika, Prince of Persia’s “sidekick,” offers a lot of depth to the gameplay. While Elika isn’t actually playable, she can be called in to use her magic at any time using the “Y” button. She can also aid in making long jumps, as she will grab your hand and launch you much further than could be accomplished by a simple jump. The lack of a double-jump is kind of puzzling, but with Elika’s assistance, it is acceptable to be without this now staple gameplay mechanic. Elika also serves as the means by which players can continue after making a fatal mistake. Elika will save player bringing them back to just before the fatal error.
Boss fights in Prince of Persia are entertaining, with excellent models for the level boss’. One interesting aspect to these fights is that there a moments when the enemy can kill you instantly. Should this happen, Elika will save you, but the enemy will regain much of his or her health at the same time.
The “level select” screen is similar to the level select from Super Mario World combined with that of Super Mario 64. With only a few areas available at first, more and more areas are unlocked as you progress through the game. Light Seeds are gathered throughout the game and used to unlock new areas. Similar to Fable 2’s breadcrumb system, a magical “compass” spell can be used by Elika to show you where you need to be heading for your current destination.
Overall, Prince of Persia is a good gaming experience, just not quite what I was expecting. Despite its downfalls, Prince of Persia promises to be a deep and enjoyable experience. Also, for those looking for Gamerpoints, a string of 60 or so Gamerpoints can be gained in just the first 5 or 10 minutes.
Enjoy Prince of Persia, and check back with The Minus Factor for more gaming news, achievement guides, and tips. To subscribe to The Minus Factor, or to see more articles, click HERE.
To see the achievement list for Prince of Persia, click HERE.