T (Teen) Release Date:
December 2, 2008Screenshots: LinkAmazon: Buy Now!Written By:
Matthew PruntyFebruary 12, 2009
- Usually when an acclaimed franchise makes the jump from one generation to the next, the epic journeys of the protagonist continue from where the last generation left off. Considering franchises are all about the trilogy life-cycle, it makes since for some franchise to receive a reboot when entering the next generation. This is the case with Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia franchise. While the Sands of Time, Warrior’s Within and Two Thrones all were gave gamers an in-depth story combined with solid gameplay mechanics, the developers over at Ubisoft felt its next generation debut should be more of a re-birth of the franchise, rather than a continuing story. Gone are the realistic visuals, typical gameplay mechanics, and the classic “Game Over” screen that haunted gamers; for a more artistic approach to the visuals and the gameplay mechanics which creates a more immersive experience than ever before.
In Prince of Persia, you take control of wisecracking, cocky nomad who is out to find his missing donkey Farah, who seems to have wondered off with a boatload of treasure on its back. To some, this wisecracking nomad’s voice may seem familiar and that’s because it’s Nolan North who did the voice of Nathan Drake in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. While roaming the desert terrain, his future partner in crime Elika runs into him as she is trying escape some armed guards following her. Trying to only look out for himself, our beloved protagonist ends up protecting Elika from an attacking guards and an evil-tempered father. After these instances occur, the game officially begins. Depending on how you look at this game, some may find ties to Sands of Time in regards to the game being story driven. However, I see this title more as a prequel to the whole Prince of Persia saga in the since that he isn’t actually a prince, while Elika is a princess out to restore the sacred lands and purge all evil from her civilization.
What makes the union of the two unique compared to other games offering co-op gameplay is the simple fact that Elika actually has a more pertinent role within the gameplay that the Prince himself. Though you never actually play as Elika, you need her abilities to combat bosses and powerful enemies, while also keeping you alive. What’s unique about this game is that you cannot die. If you attempt to make a jump, which the Prince clearly can’t make, Elika comes to his rescue, placing back on the cliff from where you jumped. But if you press the assist button while jumping, she will appear and lend you an extra boost through flinging you further and higher, in order to complete the jump. The combat within Prince of Persia starts off rather simplistic with basic ground and aerial attacks; alongside a blocking and parrying attacks. As you progress through the game, you will unlock new special attacks involving Elika and the Prince, which can be stringed together in order to make devastating combos. And these new attacks are acquired through collecting “life seeds”. As you collect these life seeds, you gain access to new territories, which are locked until collecting a certain amount of them.
One gripe that some may have with Prince of Persia is the simple fact that there isn’t a vast array of enemies to battle throughout the game. There are five bosses, which battle several different times throughout the game. There s the Hunter, The Alchemist, The Warrior, The Concubine and Elika’s father The Mourning King. While some can argue that there was six bosses because Ahriman has a controlling affect on them, while also making an appearance within the game, unfortunately he doesn’t die by the end of your sword, which leaves the game open to a sequel, which was already a given. There are also some lowly soldier enemies you battle here and there. Since the developers are trying to go in a different direction with this Prince of Persia series, the lack of variety with enemies is something that hurts the overall presentation of the game.
Touching back on the visuals, Prince of Persia is a visual delight that should be witness by all. For those who have played Valkyria Chronicles, you clearly can see what can be done with top notch cel-shading visuals. The character models, enemy models and even then immersive environments are all rendered very beautifully, mimicking water-color paintings of Paul Cezanne from the 19th century. The voice-over actors utilized for this game are well verse, rarely offering up repetitive dialog. The casting of Nolan North as the Prince is a huge plus as he knows how to make light of a serious situation, while at the same time ask random questions of Elika that get you thinking. The musical score is very solid, offering up orchestra-quality ballads that fit each and every setting within the game.
Depending on the skill level of the player, and whether they will try to collect each and every life seed within the game, can determine whether the game will take anywhere between 10 to 20 hours to complete. There are a few unlockable costumes, which play homage to past Ubisoft titles; however that’s where the bonus content ends for now. Ubisoft is planning on releasing some extra content via downloads in the coming future, which will add to the overall gameplay and extend the experience several hours. With solid gameplay mechanics, cel-shaded visuals and a well put together voice-over cast and soundtrack make for one sold experience of 2008 that will still be enjoyed well into 2009. 8.8/
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