Review by NicBatman360
A fantastic new chapter for the franchise
Try not to think of this game as a continuation of the old series of Prince of Persia. It's not. It's different. New characters, new setting, new art direct, new atmosphere, and no rewinding time. Heck, the protagonist isn't even a real Prince and this game doesn't take place in Persia! That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad game though. It's just different. Being a big fan of the last series, there was a bit of a learning curve to get used to the new direction. But once you start thinking of this game as its own stand alone title, and not related to the old series, you'll come to love it.
While the story isn't exactly revolutionary, it isn't bad. The whole plot revolves around the Prince and his new female partner, Elika, trying to imprison the evil god Ahriman in the Tree of Life. Elika's father has set him free by destroying the Tree of Life, the reason being revealed later in the game. Ahriman begins to destroy the land with Corruption, which Elika plans to stop by healing Fertile Grounds around the kingdom. While adventuring around, the Prince is able to talk to Elika about what exactly Ahriman is planning, the kingdom's past, and Elika's life. Some of this is interesting and reveals a lot of background on the setting. The Prince and Elika's personalities are great and it's fun to watch some of the conversations they get into. The game all ties together to an ending that is far from most cliche endings, and leaves the game open to a sequel.
This is where the game, and really the whole Prince of Persia franchise shines. The core gameplay from the older series is here, only tweaked slightly as well as the game being non-linear, so the Prince is able to explore anywhere in the kingdom whenever he chooses to. There is still all of the wall running, pole swinging, gap jumping, column climbing mechanics, but it all feels smoother than before. The Prince feels faster and moves across obstacles more fluently this time around. Elkia is also along for the ride this time, playing a big part in traveling through the game. Elika is able to help the Prince jump across large jumps, comparable to a double jump in other video games. Also helpful, any time you screw up during all the crazy climbing and jumping and manage to fall, Elika will help bring you back up to the last flat surface you stood on. I've heard some complaints about the fact you can't technically die in this game, but with all the times you're going to get brought back up from falling, you're going to be thankful that Elika was included to make the journey troublesome.
The puzzles are also back from the old games. There's not too many of them, and they're not the most complicated, but they are fun and you might need to stop and think a little to get everything to work.
Fighting is much different from the old games. Instead of taking on hoards of enemies at a time, it's one on one in an enclosed area. This leads to some great combos and cinematic views. There are four available attacks to string together combos, including using a gauntlet and Elika's magic. Fighting can get repetitive though, as there are only a handful of different enemies in the game that you will fight repeatedly, and the same strategy can be used to defeat them again and again. In addition to using combos to fight enemies, you will also need to reflect attacks by pressing a button displayed on the screen at a certain time. Elika will also save you from death in battle. You will go from "healthy", to "weakened", to "grounded" each time the enemy hits you. If you are attacked again while you are "grounded", Elika will save you and bring you back a "healthy" state, but the enemy will also gain health.
Another new gameplay mechanic introduced is magic plates. These glowing circles allow the Prince to get thrown around the environment in different ways after landing on them. There are four that get unlocked throughout the game in any order you choose. There is quite a bit of them in the game, and you will have to get used to looking for them in order to get to the end of a level to fight the boss.
The graphics are amazing. The whole world feels alive and vibrant. The cel-shading is wonderful, and really gives the game a great atmosphere. Everything looks great and feels like a mysterious fantasy world. You really feel you're changing the world as you heal each Fertile Ground. The environment changes from dark and ominous into peaceful and serene with each healing . If you manage to reach a point that is high enough, you're even able to look into the distance to see what other lands you've healed and which ones are still corrupted.
The sound and music is great. It helps bring the atmosphere to the game. It adds to the environment, whether it be corrupted or healed. It can give the game a calm feel, or an urgent one, depending on where you are. The voice acting is also top notch. The Prince is voiced by Nolan North, the same voice as Nathan Drake from Uncharted and Desmond Miles from Assassin's Creed. He really adds to the Prince's live for today attitude.
There is a bit of replayability, which should persuade you to play this game more than once. There are many "Light Seeds", glowing orbs that are scattered around the environment that you are able to gather, which you might not be able to collect in your first play through. You would have to be pretty dedicated to collect all 1001. Also available are PS3 Trophies, which are great to brag about to friends. The Prince and Elika are also able to wear different "skins" during the game, such as he Sands of Time style Prince and Farah, or Altair from Assassin's Creed.
This is a great game that is sure to keep you entertained. I'd recommend renting this game first though. There really isn't too much to it, considering it has no online or multiplayer and it can be complete in about 12 hours. But if you really do enjoy collecting everything in the game and just enjoy traversing the area in that great Prince of Persia style, buying this game isn't a bad choice. The new look of the franchise is welcomed and I can't wait to see others like this one.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Prince of Persia (US, 12/02/08)
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