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Prince of Persia Review

May 21, 2009

I’ll admit it. For some reason or another, I just never got into the whole Prince of Persia genre. I never played the SNES version and I missed the relaunch of the series for the PS2. I did however get to play the Wii port that released a while back and thought it was pretty decent. Well, finally I picked up the latest Prince of Persia and in the first 30 mins I thought “This is a really good game.” Unfortunately, these thoughts wore off very quickly.

Story

This game starts off with action right off the bat in that you are working with a Princess Elika to rid the village of the Corruption and heal the land. After this, cut scenes will tell the story a little bit along the way, but you’ll learn much more by talking to Elika along the way.

Gameplay

The gameplay follows the traditional Prince of Persia scheme of running, jumping, wall-running, climbing mechanics to traverse the land. You’ll be able to wall-run, jump to another wall, have Elika assist you in a longer jump, and even climb ceilings using rings as handles. This works very fluidly for the most part and is pretty intuitive without too many flubs.

The combat also works fairly well in that you are automatically locked on to your enemy during a fight. You can use the Square button to use a sword attack, X for an acrobatic move, O to grab the enemy, and Triangle to use Elika’s magic abilities. You are also able to block and dodge attacks as well. All of this works extremely well without any major hiccups. You will be able to string combos together depending on how you choose to attack your foe and you can also time your blocks to deflect their attack, leaving them wide open.

Sound cool so far? Well, it is. Except for the fact that as I’ll explain below, all of these great game mechanics are overshadowed by repetition and lack of enemies/environments. Read on…

The way the game works is that it is divided into 4 main realms. Each realm has 4 sub-realms and one “main” realm. You go to each of these areas on the map, climb or descent to some area, fight an enemy, heal the land, and then collect light orbs. This was kind of cool the first few times because you climb some neat areas, the enemy fights are pretty fun, and finding the numerous light orbs was kind of fun in that some were challenging to find. Find enough light orbs and you can unlock Elika’s magic powers which allow you to reach other areas via magic plates (think magic springboards).

Well the problem here is that if you’ve done this in one area, you’ve done them all. Every area features the same setups of run here, jump here, climb here. You are lucky if you get to fight 2 or 3 enemies in each area, and making it worse, is that with the exception of the main “boss” enemy when you go to heal the land, if you reach enemy spawns quick enough, you can actually prevent them from spawning. It is entirely possible to run through each area with only having to fight a boss.

Continuing the problems is that there are basically just 4 or 5 enemies in the game. The main enemy that spawns is the exact same in every level and I believe there were 4 main bosses. The bosses slightly vary each time but again, if you’ve fought one, you’ve fought them all. Adding to the drag is that all platforming elements are removed when you fight enemies. It’s not like previous titles where you can wall run and at the end, attack an enemy. Instead, every single battle you are stuck in one area, locked on to the enemy, and cannot use your surroundings. It totally ruins the whole platforming premise of the series by doing this.

Same thing with healing the land. Once you beat the boss and heal the land, light orbs appear, usually around 45 of them. You’ll have to traverse every area of the level to find them all. It was fun and exciting the first few times, but grows tiresome as you have to do it for every single area you come to.

Graphics/Audio

I dig the cell shaded art style in Prince of Persia. The characters look great as well as the enemies you fight. The detail is incredible in the character models, the color use is great, and overall it’s great to look at. The environments are hit or miss. When at the Palace, the sky looks great as well as the surrounding area including the Palace. When you enter the areas, some look incredibly gorgeous while others are very bland and look tacked on.

The voice acting is great overall in this game. You might recognize the Prince’s voice is that of noneother than Nathan Drake from Uncharted. It’s a bit weird but he delivers a good performance. There’s not a ton of music to experience in the game which can be a bit of a drag.

Conclusion

Prince of Persia is a good game for an hour or two. After this though, the game continues to spiral downward from repetition and lack of variety to the point where it will become a chore to play the game anymore. Personally, i got about 5 hours in and I just can’t do it anymore. I’m almost halfway done with the areas and the game just doesn’t get any better. I’m still traveling to similar areas and even having to revisit areas I’ve already gotten past, just to reach new areas. I’m fighting the same characters over and over and over and I don’t get to battle often enough. Platforming alone just doesn’t make a game good.

I’d recommend Prince of Persia as a rental but nothing more. From what I’ve heard, the game is only 10-12 hrs long, and with how terrible the repetition is, you’ll be bored before you reach the end. Again, I love the art style, the combat, and the platforming mechanics, it’s just a shame the game doesn’t have enough spice to allow you to enjoy them all.

Decent

Decent

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