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Prince of Persia (2008) Member Review for the PS3

Master_Craig By:
GENRE Action 
DEVELOPER Ubisoft Montreal 
T Contains Alcohol Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

I've yet to finish the new Prince of Persia (2008) for the PS3 but I've decided to throw up a review about it, since I'm already half way through the game or more. More I'd say.

Prince of Persia (2008) is first of all, not a sequel to the Sands of Time trilogy. It has nothing to do with that. In fact, Prince of Persia (2008) is an entirely new game, a new franchise so to speak should Ubisoft continue to develop more games along this road. The Prince of Persia franchise has taken a new direction, but is it a direction that the Prince can easily get to, or will he slip along his wall run to fall right into oblivion?

That being said, the Prince in this incarnation of Prince of Persia is, unlike the Sands of Time version, not a prince. He is not royalty. He is introduced to the story as a nameless drifter, a man who could be considered a thief of a bandit, traveling the lands in search of treasure to fund his self indulging ways in the nearest city. While caught in a desert storm looking for his donkey named 'Farah' (did you see what they did there?) which is apparently carrying a hell load of gold, the "Prince" runs into a mysterious, beautiful woman named Elika. Next thing we know, the Prince is suddenly caught between a war between the forces of light and dark, aiding this Elika woman in stopping the dark god Ahriman from unleashing his wrath upon the world. We also discover Elika possesses magical powers of light, and is in fact a princess. An actual princess.

In order to save the land from the ever growing "Corruption" thanks to the dark god's power, the Prince and the actual princess Elika must travel through this abandoned kingdom to locate the "Fertile Grounds", which then Elika uses her magical powers of light to heal each found Fertile Ground.

Unlike the Sands of Time trilogy, Prince of Perisa (2008) allows players to choose their own paths. It does not offer as much freedom as one would assume, but at least it isn't always from point A to point B like the previous titles of the series. The Prince and Elika travel through these lands in a platforming fashion similar to the previous games, from climbing, to wall running, to ceiling running, to a lot of leaping. It keeps in touch with the previous Prince of Persia games and the animations do look brilliantly realistic (especially how the Prince and Elika help one another out through these acrobatic feats) but it is quite linear, as the player must follow a certain path whilst traveling through these lands. It is not as free roaming or revolutionary as say, 2007's Assassin's Creed.

The presentation has taken a new change, with the camera sitting a bit further back than normal and the graphics have adopted a cel shaded, almost painted touch. It is absolutely beautiful to look at. The beginning environments seem rather bland, but upon approaching the major temple of the game, one can't help but think "wow" as they watch the Prince and Elika run through the magnificent desert. It is truly, a gorgeous game. The orchestral sound track fits perfectly hand in hand with the game's overall presentation.

The combat has been redone as well. Now instead of fighting groups of enemies, the combat in this game focuses on one on one duels (two on one if you include Elika). The Prince loosely wields a long sword with one hand while raising his free gauntlet-clad hand up in the air as a makeshift secondary weapon. The player usually finds themselves fighting the enemy in an arena style fashion, circling around them while using the four face buttons to perform attacks, such as sword slashes, gauntlet grabs, acrobatic moves as well as using Elika's considerable magic.

Combat can be repetitive after a while though. A lot of the Prince's and Elika's attacks seem very extravagent and cinematic and while it looks cool to see, it doesn't really feel like you're doing these moves. Toss the enemy up in the air using circle, and then press circle again to make the Prince automatically jump in the air, grab the enemy and toss them down to the ground. It looks cool, but it doesn't feel very challenging. Quick time events make an appearance to avoid certain attacks and do certain attacks, such as sword collisions and up close and personal grapples.

Speaking of challenge, Prince of Persia (2008) doesn't really offer that much challenge, at all. The main reason is because of Elika. Elika is an ally who as the developers have promised, does not get in the player's way, but she makes the game a little too easy. With Elika by your side, you cannot die. When you slip and fall, Elika uses her magical powers to swing down, catch you and bring you to the last flat platform you were on. If you fall in a pile of Corruption goo, she'll do the same. In combat when the enemy is about to deliver the final blow, the Prince can either save himself via a quick time event or, if the player fails, Elika will automatically save him. Granted if Elika saves the Prince the Prince will not recover his health and the enemy will recover their own, but at the same time it feels very unchallenging that the player cannot die, at all.

The intention of one on one duels is to most likely make the fights feel more "epic" and important, in a way, and true that it is something games do not do very often (with the exception of fighting games, for obvious reasons). But when the player cannot die at all due to their all powerful magical friend always saving them? These one on one duels lose their meaning and don't feel as important, or as threatening. Strangely though... it is somewhat refreshing to see a game that does not feature a game over screen.

Elika does provide other assistance other than combat. Outside of battle when she and the Prince travel she is able to guide the Prince to the next area marked on the map, or even act as a cool looking magical double jump to reach further distances. Provided the player stands on healed Fertile Ground, Elika can even teleport the player back to the main temple or other healed Fertile Grounds. These assets that Elika offers are to be greatly appreciated.

When ever Fertile Ground is healed, the land changes to a brighter and more colourful setting, along with spawning many Lightseeds. These Lightseeds are to be collected in order for Elika to be given new powers to access new areas that the player could not reach before. These powers to access new areas gives the game a very Metroid feeling, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but, when there are over one thousand Lightseeds to collect and the necessary amount to have is just over five hundred? It seems kind of pointless, unless you plan on unlocking costumes to use in your future games, should you play in the future that is.

Would you plan to play in the future? Other than trophies that do nothing and unlockable costumes which simply change your appearance, there isn't much reason to come back to Prince of Persia (2008) once you've finished the apparent twelve hour adventure. The storyline is good, and the voice acting fairs well, but there isn't much reason to go back. With the introduction of such a powerful character like Elika, there really was potential for some kind of co-op mode.

Prince of Persia (2008) is a great ride while it lasts, even if it does feel unchallenging or if it feels like someone is holding your hand the entire time. It's a good start to the new Prince of Persia franchise... just a somewhat easy one at that with missed out potential. If you're a fan of platforming action/adventure or/and the Prince of Persia series then this game is for you, but if you're not, then maybe you could watch somebody else play this instead.

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