Game-A-Week: Prince of Persia

Title: Prince of Persia

The Gist: The Prince of Persia 2008 is a reboot of the Sands of Time series and features its main character the prince encountering a princess who’s being chased by guards. You then get tied up in her attempt to stop a great evil known as Ahriman from unleashing itself upon the world. After failing to stop Ahriman from escaping the Prince and Princess must set about imprisoning him again. This is done by healing the now corrupted areas of the game with the help of the princess. Various enemies under the control of Ahriman will try to stop you on your journey and you’ll encounter an array of puzzles to solve along the way.

Pros: From the first few moments of the game I was laughing along with the dialogue, it has a great sense of humour that gives the story a tongue in cheek approach which is a nice change from the average ‘stop the evil one’ plot found in most adventure games like this. The graphics for this game are still impressive today and I really appreciated the cell shaded art style that wasn’t done so heavy as to remind me of Zelda: The Wind Waker but rather accent a sort of fairytale aspect of the game. The movement mechanics for the character as he jumps from place to place made it obvious this was created by the same guys as Assassin’s Creed, except this game seemed more fluid about them. Combat against enemies almost turns into a Street Fighter with swords mini-game but it works well, the ability to block and have the enemy block against your attacks makes the fight interesting and keeps you on your toes.

Throughout the game I encountered black goo, which is some sort of essence of Ahriman that reacts to you as you approach it. I got curious and essentially teased it, watching the black goo reach out for me as I drew closer until it seemed to grab me! Thankfully your AI partner the princess uses her magic to pull you from the gooey ending. The princess will constantly use this saviour technique and applies to any and all actions that might result in your death, falling, combat and the aforementioned black goo. I found this mechanic a little intrusive at first as it essentially makes you immortal, however I began to appreciate it when falling down as it was preferable to merely reloading from an earlier save point.

Cons: The downside to the princess saving you constantly is that you’ve almost no motivation to defeat your enemies as you know you’re safe having the princess to save you. From my point of view I wonder why the pair don’t simply walk everywhere to do what they have to do, anything that gets in your way can’t kill you anyway so why bother getting involved in a fight. It’s a pity that this is the case as the combat itself feels like a strongpoint of the game and it’s been put to waste. I’d have preferred the ability to have the saviour mechanic as an option so that some players could have an easy mode, others something more challenging.

Musical Note: The soundtrack to this game is brilliant. It reminded me constantly of some of my favourite music composed for the series Battlestar Galactica or the soundtrack for the film Avatar, definitely an adventure filled score from the start with evil undertones for the darker story elements of the game. The composer Inon Zur was responsible for the scores of popular games such Fallout 3/New Vegas, Dragon Age’s 1 and 2 and even Crysis. If anything it’s inspired me to track down more of his music collection.

Hunger Level: Really liked this one so I’ll definitely be loading this up soon. If anything I wouldn’t mind fitting this into my current gaming obsessions of Pokemon, Star Craft 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Conclusion: Really great game and doesn’t require you to have played any other Prince of Persia game before it, has its own stand alone story and allows you to experience the essence of the Prince of Persia series. The game really felt like Zelda and Assassin’s Creed had a baby. I’d recommend anyone liking either game to give this a go. I’ll definitely want to give the other Prince of Persia games a try and quite glad that I picked up the collection on Steam recently for a really good price.

“One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-A-Week’ @ Black Vinculum”

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