PREVIEWSPillars of Eternity Preview
For Obsidian's crowdfunded love letter to Infinity Engine games like Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate, I was impressed by its willingness to pull back the curtain and let me see the machinery behind it.
Yesterday, while cleaning up my media center, I found my copy of Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus, which I bought sometime before Christmas last year. I had been pretty excited about this game pre-release, what with it being the first "traditional", albeit shorter than usual,...
Prince of Persia, the Sands of Time, is a rather spoiled litle prince, who takes more than he gives.
He takes slaves, he takes loot, he even takes hold of a hell of a lot of moves useful for almost any situation. I'm sure he's even got more moves in secret that are sure to impress the harem ladies, but that's another story. He also takes charge in the game, and most importantly, takes a Dagger of Time and sticks it into an hourglass which turns everyone in his father's castle into a bunch of mindless sand zombies that wish to kill him. And then he must try to fix his mistakes.
Be that as it may, he just doesn't give much back. Typical royalty.
The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a platform game with regularly appearing combat segments in it. And the prince is certainly not lacking in ways he can move around in a castle that's set up with more traps than Fort Knox. Strangely enough, the traps are always fully functional, whereas much of the rest of the castle is in a disarray, and often crumbles as you step on it. I think we know which department of the architects got the biggest budget, eh?
In addition to all the different ways he can jump around, the prince has a dagger filled with Sand of Time, the main point of which is being able to turn back time just so that he can avoid getting killed. This initially -seems- like something innovative, but the plain fact is, it's just a more extensive way of having lives, when it would be faster to simply first start just before you died, and eventually start a bit further back. A rose by any other name, and all that. And once you've cracked that illusion, watching the rewind function is only fun the first couple of times.
Slowing down time and even freezing enemies are also nothing new, but they are at least useful in their own rights. And with the prince getting a steady supply of sand as he defeats most enemies, then it's pretty much there to be used. Hey prince, is it not enough that you're going to kill your loyal subjects and guards that just happened to be zombie-fied because of a mistake -you- made, you also have to steal their "life energy" for your own selfish purpouses?
But all monarchy jokes aside, the main barrier from enjoyment of this game is, it all goes so damn slowly. The prince can do a lot of acrobatic moves indeed, but it's as if a light-version of "bullet-time" is actually the default setting. During the platform parts, it's like a Mario game, except much slower. And during the combat parts, it's like a messy version of the Zelda games, except slower. And usually with a healthy dose of framerate dropping once more than two enemies are on screen. Though that's not exactly an unknown thing for the PS2 games in general.
For some reason, many people have actually come to like this inherent slowness. And perhaps I'm the one that needs a good dose of Ritalin when I play platform games, what do I know? What I do know, however, is that this game wore out my patience faster than the Prince could run across the room. It's more than enough to make me wish it'd all been made into a republic already.