by Chris Davis
reviewed on X360
Like sands through the hour glass…
When the Prince first arrived on the Apple II back in 1989, it was in good company with classic titles such as the original Sim City and Populous. The game was far ahead of its time and universally well received. Five years later a sequel finally arrived that sold well. Unfortunately the third installment, an ambitious 3D entry, was a complete flop that was filled with tons of glitches and some very troublesome controls.
After the 3D debacle, the game’s creator felt that the series was over but Ubisoft stepped up to the plate and negotiated a licensing deal. In 2003 this yielded gamers the re-imagining of the Prince of Persia franchise in the form of The Sands of Time. This game proved to be exactly what fans were frothing at the mouth for and had players coming back for more during the two games that followed. Some fans have been apprehensive about the latest title in the series, stating that it bears little to no resemblance to The Sands of Time. Having played the game I can wholeheartedly say that there is no need to fret.
Prince of Persia follows the Prince on a particularly bad day. After having lost his donkey in the desert -both a motivation and the biggest running gag of the game- the Prince stumbles upon a Elika. Elika is a princess of a nearby temple that is dedicated to keep the evil god Ahriman imprisoned. Through a fit of misguided parental feelings, Elika’s father kills the Tree of Life which ultimately leads to Ahriman’s freedom and the corruption of the entire kingdom. Brought together by fate, the Prince and Elika depart on a quest to put the evil god back behind bars.
Prince of Persia is a charming game on all fronts, none the least of which is the development of the story. It is told through quick in-game cutscenes and dialog between Elika and the Prince. The prince, with his smarminess and Elika’s passion for the restoration of order lead to some very intuitive, smart, and down right funny conversations. The story stands out amongst the crowd, giving us something you don’t expect to find at every turn. It does have a few standard cliches but once you learn more about Elika and her father’s history, you really begin to feel for the characters. The surprising ending leaves many questions unanswered, a telltale sign of a sequel in the making.
Float like a butterfly
The Prince of Persia franchise has been a staple of the third-person hack-and-slash genre. Swift combat, tight controls, and ingenuous ways of exploration have always been trademarks of the series. This latest entry does not disappoint in this area and exploration has even been taken to new heights by offering a new open world. Prince of Persia discards the tried and true method of linear levels, allowing the prince to travel anywhere he wishes wish within the realm of the kingdom. Well... kinda. While the maps have been designed to feel large and open, grim reality is that much of the game is nothing but corridor crawling at its finest.
No Pros and Cons at this time