by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on X360
Prince of Persia Epilogue review
One has to applaud Ubisoft for their ability to reinvent Prince of Persia for as many times as they have. In recent years, every new episode has brought along refreshing new gameplay while staying true to the original spirit of Jordan Mechner's popular game. Last year's Prince of Persia had to live without a subtitle but not without additional content. Prince of Persia Epilogue was released on XBLA and PSN a while ago, continuing the story of our favourite prince and his friend Elika for those who were yearning for more. If you haven't had a chance to play or finish the original game, this is where you should stop reading, as massive spoilers are just ahead.
Bringing Elika back to life had the unfortunate side effect that Ahriman was able to escape from the Tree of Life. Weakened but not destroyed, Ahriman sets out to get revenge. The Prince and Elika manage to escape his initial wrath by escaping to an underground palace which sets the scene for this expansion. This change of scenery brings a whole new feel to the original game. Gone is the gorgeous open world. It is replaced by a dungeonesque environment that feels cramped in comparison. This would not necessarily have been a bad thing, were it not for the fact that it also introduces linearity.
While most of the gameplay remains the same, Prince of Persia Epilogue feels like a game on rails. No matter where you go, there is only one way forward. The palace might have been a tunnel and you would have had almost the same experience playing through it.
Oddly enough, the difficulty factor has increased. I am sure that some people did not like how easy some of the traps were before. Personally, I liked it a lot. It allowed you to set a fast pace which in turn made the game more dynamic. Epilogue's traps often come in pairs, requiring you to string combinations of moves together in order to navigate both without failing. This can be fun, but will certainly leave some players frustrated as it slows down the game while you try, and try again.
When you are not busy navigating traps, you will likely be climbing walls and obstacles, or fighting your way out of a pickle. For the latter, the Prince has acquired a new skill. He can now sprint at enemies, giving him a chance to stun the enemy before they can counter. His enemies can use the same tactic, thus levelling the playing field. Elika on the other hand, has gained a unique power called Energize. With this power, she can temporarily rebuild broken walls. The effect does not last for very long, but when acting quickly, it can help both characters to reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. The only downside of this new power is that it can only be used in pre-determined areas that light up as you come close.
Unfortunately, most of the enemies that you will encounter have been recycled, right up to the bosses and Elika's father who plays a major role in Epilogue. The only 'new' enemy that you will encounter, is a shapeshifter. But even this enemy is not new. The shapeshifter has two forms: Warrior and Hunter. By the time that you will be playing Epilogue, you will have fought both of these numerous times. While it is logical to see some of the original foes return, one would expect some unique enemies, especially when the rest of the scenery has changed so drastically.
Prince of Persia Epilogue feels more like it should have been part of the original game, than a true expansion. The Prince's sprint attack and Elika's Energize ability are fun, but are not enough to keep things afloat. The underground palace would have been far more fun if it had not been so linear. On top of that, the game is short. Very short. I took my time going through the motions, and finished the game in three hours while having a laugh and a beer with a couple of friends watching over my shoulder. The laughing was mostly about how much of the original game has been recycled to put together the expansion. In the end though, it is sad to see that Ubisoft didn't do more to extend the Prince's magnificent adventure.
No Pros and Cons at this time