by Howie Howard
previewed on X360
Prince of Persia is developed by Ubisoftís own development house in Montreal and it can be played on the major game consoles with the Xbox 360 version coming first followed by the DS, PS3 and the PC at a later date. Ubisoft is using its Assassinís Creedís Anvil game engine and the graphics and look of the game is markedly different from what we came to expect from the earlier games. The prince goes about his business in a surreal way and it almost feels like everything is taking place in a giant hand drawn watercolor painting.
The world of this new prince is fantastical and filled with magic galore. However the prince himself does not partake in any magic. He leaves the magic up to his companion Elika, while he goes about his swash buckling work in a way that rivals what you can expect to find in a pure fighting game. The camera zooms in at just the right moment and the detail and sounds of swords clashing is simply wonderful to behold. Itís that good.
This Ďhelp from a companioní is a brand new concept in the Prince of Persia world because previous games always featured a solitary prince fighting against evil all by himself. The game player cannot directly control Elike but she does do her thing exactly when needed, and needed she is. During the adventure the prince and Elike come across many obstacles that require a tandem effort in order to overcome. We all remember that the prince himself was always a great long jumper. However in this new adventure Elikaís help is essential. She snaps her fingers at the right moment and both adventurers loop and spin their way across what would be an impossible jump for the prince by himself.
I mentioned above that the object of this game is the need to fight corruption. What exactly does corruption look like? Corruption in the new Prince of Persia looks like an all-consuming goo that literally swarms over the enemies and Ahrimanís lieutenant bosses. They use it as a weapon and as you progress in the game it becomes more powerful. It also does not go away. When you defeat a lieutenant to progress to the next level you do not kill him or his corruption, he just slinks away only to reemerge even more corrupt and powerful later on. In this way each level becomes more difficult because new layers of corruption are constantly building up and added.
In addition to this level bosses wrap themselves in this blanket of corruption normal weapon attacks do not damage. Thatís where Elikaís powerful magic once again comes into play. You canít control her directly but she does come with a button to activate her when the need arises. This tactic serves to remove the constant need for sword button pushing in order to get through battles. I would also like to mention that every battle is a one on one affair and as in other games you wonít be mobbed by a hoard of enemies that need killing.
Prince of Persia is the kind of game that has been providing wholesome entertainment for a generation now. I was a young person when it first came out almost 20 years ago. It amazed me back then and it amazes me now. Itís an adventure that can be enjoyed by every member of the family. It doesnít matter if you are young or old because the prince always manages to provide the goods and the goods are something that is often missing in games that come out these days.
Other games are based on shoot emí up action and oftentimes bloody gore. The Prince of Persia is not like that and never has been. Nobody dies they just get locked up in a tiny prison cell never to see the light of day again. Some of us may complain about this fact but itís the way games should be. The prince may fail many times at a given task, however he never dies. He just gets relegated back to the beginning of the level by what seems like magic. Yes, that isnít realistic but then again the Prince of Persia is a fantasy that takes place in a magical land. I wish there were more games that emphasized skill and thinking instead of just a quick trigger finger and a stomach for gore. Enjoy!