by Virgin Wolf
reviewed on PS3
New Game, New Look, New Prince
I heard many conflicting opinions about the new Prince before my purchase. Some of my friends had tried it out, but were left with a bad taste in their mouths. However, I realized that with any revamp of a series, there are always going to be some people who want to go back to the old ways. As such, I didn't pay them much attention. Instead, I looked at what the game was offering, and it’s unique strengths and weaknesses. I made the right decision – the new Prince of Persia (POP) is worth a purchase.
I'm not going to stand here and spout that it was the best game ever, but POP was some of the most fun I've had with an adventure title since Uncharted. Coincidentally, Nolan North (the voice of Nathan Drake) lends his talents to the new Prince as well.
The Story so Far
The story begins with our new Prince looking for his donkey while lost in the desert. He stumbles upon a barefooted girl in tattered clothes named Elika who is being chased by unknown men. Out of simple curiosity, he follows her and ends up embroiled in a battle between two gods, Ormazd and Ahriman. Ormazd, the “good” god, imprisoned Ahriman a long time ago. Now Ahriman is escaping, and it is up to the Prince and Elika to undo the damage he has wrought. While this isn't the Prince’s top priority, he has to uncorrupt the land if he is to find his way home.
The story, while seemingly cliché-ridden at first, holds surprising depth. Prince of Persia accomplishes this with an optional conversation system. You'll get a few necessary cut-scenes but beyond that, it's up to you to decide how much of the story you want to hear. If you do want to hear more, you'll learn the history of the civilization, Elika's past, and the past lives of the Corrupted that you must fight. It really helps invest the player in the final act, which is simply breathtaking to behold.
Some have complained that the Prince and Elika don't really look Persian, and that the Prince sounds more like Indiana Jones than a mid-eastern swordsman. However, when playing the game, these small touches aren’t missed. Sure, it would help with the realism, but this is already a fantastic portrayal of Persia as it is. An analogy is how some movies don't bother with accurate accents. It's to allow the audience to imagine what's going on. In a way, you can say that the accents are hidden, that they're "translated" for the player so he can get a more in-depth view. It might be a cheat, but it works for me.
A Watercolor World
The graphics are drop-dead gorgeous in this game, especially the environments. They’re drawn in a unique, beautiful art style that seems like the Prince is moving through a watercolor painting. It runs at a max resolution of 720p, so if your TV can support it, you're in for some eye candy. It's so incredible that I put down my controller and just sat still for a while, watching as the camera panned over the gorgeous vistas. The motion of the Prince, as he jumps here and there, is perfect. Each animation flows smoothly into the next, making the Prince as much of the art as the environments are. The character models are also well detailed, though the facial animations tend to repeat a lot during conversations.
The one distracting thing about the character models is the Prince's stomach. His abs are supposed to be defined but they look flat and strange. There is also some collision tear, as the Prince's scarf sometimes passes through Elika when she’s riding on his back. Instances like these happen a few times, but overall, they’re not that big of a deal.
No Pros and Cons at this time