A series re-invention that wasnt really necessary. The Sands of Time trilogy are absolute classics, so changing the formula this drastically was always going to be a gamble.
It appears Ubisoft Montreal have tried to distance this entry as much as possible. Aside from switching the visuals to a cel shaded, cartoon style, the characters are also completely new. The 'Prince' is one in nickname only, and opens the game searching for his missing donkey. Here he runs into a princess named Elika, and becomes embroiled in a plot to unleash an ancient evil upon the land.
The prince is painted as a loveable rogue, but comes across as goofy and childish, with some truly awful dialogue. In motion, he's more memorable, even if the controls are blatantly lifted from Assassins Creed. This does take some adjustment, and like that game, you never get the feeling of being totally in control of whats happening on screen. Jumps dont even have to be timed well. There is a nice selection of new moves however, including a ceiling run, and a grip fall ability, which allows the prince to freefall down most vertical surfaces.
Amongst the many changes, the Sands of Time mechanic has been removed. In its place is an unlimited lives system, as Elika rescues you after every fail. This removes much of the challenge; and appreciation of the tight level design is lost somewhat by the stop start gameplay. Furthermore, watching the same rescue cut scene gets boring fast. Another overhaul is the combat system. This release has opted for a cinematic approach, with sweeping views and a more dramatic feel. Multiple enemy battles are out, replaced by a one on one system. Yet, more often than not these become battles of attrition, with poor skills only prolonging the battle. Rather than deepening the system, combat feels simplified, and with much less variety. Boss battles are also shamelessly recycled. Failure at anything just prompts Elika to rescue you. Once again. This hand holding approach is sure to split opinions, but it can all become tedious, especially with the inclusion of QTE's.
More repetition sets in elsewhere. Each section of the open-world map has to be 'healed'. This involves travelling there, defeating a monster, then hammering a QTE until the land is healthy again. This causes light seeds to appear, which need collecting in order to advance to new sections of the map. Repeat until credits roll.
Prince of Persia is a solid adventure game, and may be enjoyed more by newcomers to the series. But the script is less intriguing than Assassins Creed, and the action isnt as successfully implemented as Uncharted.
Overall, a disappointing entry for a classic franchise.
on 25 September 2014
S T O R Y
You play as an unnamed traveller steadily venturing across a windswept desert. After encountering a mysterious woman named Elika, you are both thrown into a strange kingdom where a dark presence lays dormant. The dark presence of Ahriman is released by Elika's father and corrupts the kingdom. All is not lost as you must battle to restore the land, using Elika's divine powers to stop Ahriman's rise.
The story is not at the forefront of the experience, bound by uninteresting support characters and a limited script. The chemistry between the traveller and Elika is surprisingly charming, giving the game greater purpose as you progress.
G R A P H I C S & S O U N D
The cel-shaded visuals of PoP have been wonderfully realised. The environments pop with colour and seamless shading. The land is split into a variety of different domains, each with a distinct architectural style and its own identity. Arabic and Persian structures create a striking backdrop throughout the game. Art assets are boldly outlined and blend well into each level.
The character models of the traveller and Elika are beautifully crafted, topped off with detailed outfits and believable real-world physics. Animations are also excellent, especially when the duo put their acrobatic skills to use and traverse many of the lavish environments. The voice acting from the traveller is a solid component, allowing Nolan North to add a touch of comedy to the traveller's VO work.
It's a shame that the enemy designs are recycled throughout the game, lacking in originality and imagination.
G A M E P L A Y
PoP is a highly accessible game, welcoming both experienced and novice gamers alike. Simply put, you cannot die in this game. Ever! However, the heartbeat of the game revolves around its solid platforming mechanics. You will have to journey to four different lands and free them of their corrupted states, which will in turn help Elika to unlock new powers. Many levels are broken up into a series of platforming challenges, ranging from wall running, climbing up poles, sliding down slopes and swinging across bars. The fluidity of the traveller's movements allow him to deal with all of these challenges with great ease. If you do mess up, then you will restart from the last flat surface point. Things are made a little easier as Elika can help you jump further, and will be able to give you a helping hand if you are to fall to your death. Level design will allow you to stay vigilant when taking on numerous obstacles.
As the game progresses you will collect Light Seeds, which will allow Elika to unlock new powers. Unlocking new powers will allow access to specific levels. Some of these powers will allow the traveller to run up walls, and even grant him the ability to perform distant jumps. The order in which you choose your powers is entirely up to you, as long as keep obtaining a healthy amount of light seeds. Light seeds are scattered throughout levels, which is a great way to test platforming reflexes and reach hidden areas.
PoP also employs combat to give the traveller a deadlier edge. Combat situations with enemies are forced encounters, which will alter the traveller's combat stance and create a designed combat area. The counter-attack nature of the combat is easy to grasp, as it will require you to repel an enemy attack and perform a series of combo attacks. Elika is on hand too to provide magical assistance. Elika can be used to perform combo attacks and push enemies back. The combat really livens up when the traveller's and Elika's attacks are combined to create long lasting combo attacks. Enemies do not take an easy beating; as the game progresses many become surrounded by darkness shields, which are capable of repelling Elika's attacks and rendering her unconscious for a few seconds. The bosses create much more interesting affairs, displaying speed and agility to really test your sword-wielding reflexes.
For all the polish and platforming goodness, the game's combat really comes up short. It lacks depth and will do very little to keep you invested. Enemy encounters are unsatisfying and laughably easy to overcome.
O V E R A L L
PoP oozes visual splendour and dazzling presentation. The story isn't exactly enthralling, but the protagonists grow into it. The graphics are artistically dreamy and paint a vibrant setting for the game. The platforming is a great deal of fun, backed by an undeveloped combat system.
on 27 December 2009
I will not spend time comparing this installment of the Prince with its predecessors, but will focus on couple of main issues I am having with this game.
First of all, let me say that this game is incredibly beautiful. Some of the levels are mesmerizing, especially when you revisit them after a healing. I would be happy if there was a 2 hours movie comprised only of scenes from the game that i could play in the background as some kind of an elaborate screen-saver.
The mechanics of the game-play are not hard to grasp, but very soon after the initial novelty, the moves you will be using throughout the game become very stale. The "identity" move also basically performs itself, so you will often have a eeling that the game plays itself. The adventure and its tasks do not present a serious challenge, except that you might get lost in the start (which is more a frustration than a challenge), since the map you will be using is not very precise, but more of a overview of a general direction you are heading.
My main objection is the fighting though. First of all, the introductory fight is quite easy but does not manage to instruct you in any tangible way about what exactly are you supposed to do. I need to say that I am not expecting a kind of "hand holding" through something that is meant to be understood through playing itself, but the basics should have been better explained, and then the fights themselves made challenging. Like this, the mechanics of fights are vague at best, it took me a long time before I could do some moves with any certainty. The 'whack-a-mole' mechanics of defending yourself also get very tiring and frustrating. Or maybe I am just a lousy player. That I do not know :p
The worst "offender" though was the Epilogue (which is downloadable content (DLC) or even sold with some versions of the game), which present us with the same boss fight over and over... and over and over and over and over... and over... and over again. Now believe me that writing this sentence was actually *more* fun than playing the Shapeshifter boss fights in the Epilogue. Did the developer want to get a small expansion out as soon as possible so they just used whatever they already had? And even though the boss fights are just one aspect of this kinds of games, some variety is expected.
This repetitiveness is probably an outcome of the fact that Prince himself does not ever change weapons or in the fact that he is limited in his movement - he cant jump easily, cant use different speed of walking or running, cant use the environment directly (unless it is designed to be used), etc.
The most disappointing thing for me was that from the beginning till the very end, Prince learned absolutely nothing new, nor did any new abilities open up, which can be explained by the fact that they had to keep the bosses on the same level (since you can choose your own path of playing through the game, so what was the first boss for me could very well be last boss for you), but I still felt that sense of progress of the character itself, besides the obvious progression of the story line, was very lacking.
The biggest pluses, besides the design and art direction: music is excellent, atmospheric and energizing when it is suited for either, the dialogues and the story line are not bad, though sometimes cliche (but hey, no one is expecting Proust in this setting), the characters are likable and engaging, and even though some of his jokes were kinda lame, the Prince is a well rounded game character.
on 6 December 2008
I was uncertain over buying the new Prince of Persia especially as I considered Assasins Creed to be a bit Linear.
I relented under a friends advice and got it and I certainly do not regret that decision. The gameplay is hugely entertaining and hugely addicive, I just finished a solid 5 hour stint of gameplay and the challenges increase as you progress, the game cleverly integrates and utilises both characters including utilising certain duel moves where you and the princess cooperate to complete certain jumps.
The graphics are cell shaded and are certainly something to behold, nobody could complain about the level, richness and beauty of this game on the eye.
I'm going to be playing this to completion I am already nearly 50% of the way through and there are trophies to collect too, something I am chasing, so there is a lot of game here for those who want to 100% it they will be hunting light crystals for some time.
Overall great looking, great playing, good combat, platforming and adventure all mixed into one and if you were 50/50 or oohing and erring over this one I would say get it, it will not disapoint you.
on 2 April 2009
I really enjoy that title. It reminds me a little bit the Assassins Creed, especially when there is a fight. But I really like that "Cartoons" approach, which is very refreshing, instead the high end graphics.
The moves/movements of the characters, are very cinematic and I think that the chorography between the characters is well performed. The truth is that the gamer does not have 100% the control of the character's moves and fights, but that wouldn't be a problem for the most people.
For the funs of Prince of Persia, since 1991 (AMIGA) that game is something that MUST have in their collection.
on 4 February 2009
Like many others, I thoroughly enjoyed the revamped Prince of Persia games. I loved the mix of acrobatics, combat and puzzle solving immensely. Particularly good was the fact that you could do all three at the same time. The stories were good and the locales in each game were also fantastic, with a lot of variety.
Unfortunately, all of the good points of the previous three games are distinctly lacking from this new offering:
1. The story is pathetic, with no character development whatsoever
2. The game is split into three very separate sections: combat, acrobatics and puzzle solving, and at no time shall the three mix in any way
3. The combat itself is boring and ludicrously easy, with very little scope for putting together good combos
4. The acrobatics, although fun for a while, is very repetitive and after a while just gets boring
5. The locations all look the same and there is no real sense of striving towards a goal, just going through the motions again and again
6. The enemies are recycled heavily and although they have their own different characteristics and styles, there is no hint as to their origins or significance
7. The fact that you can't die removes all sense of urgency, even in boss battles as you will always be saved by your companion. This makes the entire game seem like a chore as there is no reward for managing to beat a difficult boss or making a tricky jump as there is no danger of failing!
All in all, this game has the feel of something that has received no real effort during its creation and has only been released to cash in on the good reputation of the previous games and on the fact that the PS3 is relatively new. A very very big disappointment.
on 7 December 2008
With next generation consoles overloaded with grim and dark FPS's or driving and sport simulations Prince Of Persia provides a welcome breath of fresh air.
The story follows a lonely thief lost in the desert following a sandstorm. He searches for his donkey carrying his loot but instead comes upon a mysterious woman, Elika, being pursued by her father's soldiers. He helps her fight them off. She reveals an ancient dark god is attempting to break out of it's concealment and has released its minions upon the land corrupting it. The prince and the princess head off to heal the land using Elika's mysterious power and keep the dark god sealed in. The story twists and turn as it goes on and there's some enjoyable banter from the two leads keeping the story quite engaging. The ending is great as well, bleak yet very touching setting up nicely for a sequel.
Graphically POP is utterly stunning. It looks good when corrupted by evil but once you heal the land and get to a high overlook its absolutely jaw dropping particularity running on PS3 in1080. The cell shaded design and heal the land from evil has been nicked straight from Okami (PS2) but its used well here and gives the game some visual flair. Without these visuals it would feel like a completely different game.
The plat forming is brilliant, fluid and diverse, the difficulty of these sections slowly amps up. From the start you run small walls and jumps but the grand scale of it can't really be appreciated without seeing it in motion, providing thrilling moments particularity towards the end . A stand out example being when you climb up a castle, hundreds of feet up, which is collapsing around you, avoiding the corrupted tentacles trying to grab you, jumping between falling derby before finally reaching to the top, being confronted by a boss and following the fight sliding down the ruins. I've personally never really been into platformers but can't get enough of it in POP.
Your partner through the game Elika is a genuine help, pressing triangle allows her to fling you further while jumping making impossible jumps doable. As the adventure progresses she unlocks more powers activated by power plates dotted around the world. The ability to fly, and you must guide her to avoid environmental obstacles. Dash a gravity defying wall run at super speed. The final two, Rebound and grapple, are essentially the same thing and allow the pair to jump huge distances. Also its now impossible to die in POP as during combat or should you mistime a jump Elika saves you putting you back to your original position, personally I find this refreshing and it helps the game maintain its tranquil feeling though some might find it irritating.
When it comes to balancing platforming and combat in the POP games they never tend to strike a successful balance. The combat in POP is enjoyable but quite superficial. You can use grab, sword, Elika's magic and aerial jump to string together a few combos. Its visually engaging but there's not much depth to the combat system itself, but nonetheless it's enjoyable, if a bit easy. The mixture of the combat and platforming elements doesn't quite hit the mark but it's probably the best attempt thus far.
I finished the game in around 9-10 hours so its longer than a fair few current releases but still a bit on the short side of things. An enjoyable and pretty unique experience. If your a trophy hunter you'll have your work cut out for you in light seed collection which will provide a lasting challenge, once the story mode has run its course. Certainly not a game for everyone, but if it peaked you're interest even slightly I highly recommend checking it out.
on 1 June 2009
Let me start off by saying that I haven't played any of the previous Prince Of Persia games so I'm new to this character.
After reading positive reviews about this game, I decided to purchase it thinking it looked original and interesting. While it is an original game, it is not really that interesting. The game starts with the main character looking for his donkey. He comes across a couple of ruffians that are pushing a young lady around. After stopping the bullies, he follows her to her castle where things are going a bit pear-shaped. The dark forces that are imprisoned beneath the castle are escaping and it's up to you and Elika to stop them! Thus begins a repetative tale of moving through a level and then killing the bad guy.
The graphics are very nice to look at and look even better on an HDTV but this cannot save the repetative gameplay. Jump here, wall run there, repeat until your eyes bleed. After dispatching with the bad guy on the level you then have to heal the corrupted land. You do this everytime, so basically your goal is exactly the same on each level. After healing the land, light seeds will appear and you have to collect them to advance through the game. This slows down the action somewhat but I can't help but feel that this was the game designer's intention to pad out the game length, but it's a little too much collecting for my tastes. The game really picked up in pace once I'd collected every single light seed that I needed but not long afterwards the game was finished. Also, you cannot die. That's right, Elika will save you every time which removes the challenge from this game. So, it's not a case of will you do it but rather how long will it take you. The controls are very simple and a three year old could play this game.
I could play this for an hour at a time before I got bored, so I don't think it's really ideal for a long gaming session but for casual gaming it's pretty good.
on 31 March 2009
Having enjoyed all the previous Prince of Persia games, right from the old PC versions to the PS2, surely the PS3 was going to be something fantastic right?? Wrong! Firstly, the game should be retitled "Irritating, smart-mouthed buffoon in Persia" - nothing princely or heroic about him i'm afraid! The loveable rogue character that was obviously the model for this prince fell way short of the mark and we end up with a childish and irritating boy instead. This kind of character works well in a 21st Century setting like Drake's Fortune, but what ever happened to good old fashioned heroic prince characters. Sorry - it doesn't work for me.
Secondly, although the graphics and music are stunning, and the "sets" are beautiful, the gameplay is monotonous and boring. After you have healed the third or fourth area you realise that the routine is not going to change. Same vines, same slidy platforms, same hoops to hang on etc etc, baddies appearing in centre of a platform (very easily defeated, aided by the fact that you cannot actually die in this game which takes the challenge away completely!).
There are simply no "rewards" to this game, no "oh I must keep playing, I have to see what the next bit is like", because the next bit is just basically the same as the bit you have just done, and the bit before that... You just seem to be bouncing and sliding around ruins, going through the same routine, before moving onto the next area and starting again. You cannot die because Elika rescues you, so there is not even that to challenge you.
I may be showing my age here, but I remember when Prince of Persia had you actually taking part in a story properly, moving from one location and solving problems, killing baddies and finding your way out in and out of places to get to somewhere else to do something else, not just repeating the same action in the same pattern in very similarly set out environments that look pretty but you can't interact with! (would it have been too much to ask to have doors that you could go through?? to actually get inside the rooms of the ruined palace for example??)
After 24 hours this game was traded in for something a bit more intelligent!
I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who likes to think about the games they are playing, or at the least buy a trade in- don't pay full price for it - you will be wasting your money.
Ok, let me make it clear firstly that I am new to the Prince of Persia franchise. This is the first of the series I have played, and I have to say, it's absolutely what the doctor ordered. I'll leave the story review to other writers, and I'll jump straight into a few of the gameplay related things...
Played Uncharted? Played Assassins Creed? Ok well you're pretty much there if you merge the two together. There's a lot of platforming action: wall climbing, running, jumping, and a few enjoyable puzzle sequences not unlike Drakes Fortune. The combat system is brilliant, and takes only a short time to completely master, but a lifetime to find all the unique combos.
The 'not being able to die' thing is really such a benefit, as I see it. Basically, the game never loses its momentum, and there are no annoying 'game over' screens to detract from the experience. It just has a 'get back up and try again' feel to it that I find a pleasure.
Graphics: Actually the art style is quite unique; it's not cell shading like Eternal Sonata, but its not watercolour like Valkyria Chronicles. If you put the two together into a richly saturated, beautifully detailed world with large, well animated character models, you'd be spot on.
Extras: Registering your game on ubisofts website unlocks an Altair (Assassins Creed) costume, adding to replayability, and completing the game once unlocks classic skins, to name a few 'Classic Prince' and 'Farah' as well as an unlockable 'Jade' skin from Beyond Good and Evil. No word on DLC, but storyline extensions seem improbable...
Trophies: Very easy to get at least 50% on the first playthrough, and with a bit of effort, 100% is not out of reach even to casual gamers.