Prince of Persia Review
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Ubisoft Montreal continues its successful development with the Prince of Persia franchise.
- Elika is the best AI partner ever created
- Unique combat system
- Platforming animations are brilliant
- Compass ball sometimes goes in circles
History is a key word when discussing a franchise like Prince of Persia. The series, which made its debut way back in 1989, had a profound impact on the videogames industry, influencing much in the way games are both made and looked at to this very day. While the Sands of Time is worthy of the praise and merit it’s received over time, a lot of gamers have expressed doubt in regards to the new direction the series has taken with this latest instalment. Luckily, Ubisoft Montreal did not drop the ball with this title and the developers have created a winning formula with great voice acting in order to deliver a truly entertaining experience.
Prince of Persia starts off like you’d expect any action-adventure, platformer to begin. The noble, yet selfish hero meets up, or in the Prince’s case, gets landed on by the girl before aiding her in achieving her goals while realizing his own self-worth. Upon first meeting, our two main characters go back and forth in dialog in regards to moralities while fleeing from the princess’s pursuers. Once they arrive at the Temple, which keeps the world in a state of light, the Prince quickly realizes what exactly he’s gotten himself into. Apparently, Elika’s father feels the need to unleash the Dark God Ahriman unto the world once more covering it in darkness and corruption. As expected, it’s up to you and Elika to return the world into its proper state by visiting fertile grounds and releasing the light back into the world.
Elika seems to be the focal point to every gamer’s quandary when discussing Prince of Persia. This is in large part due to the abilities she possesses and lends to your character. A couple examples of these abilities include the inability to truly die or lose a fight. While both of these ‘issues’ are true to the fullest extent, they don’t completely overlap the frustration one experiences when continually missing a jump due to poor timing or misdirection. Sure, Elika picks you up and returns you safely to a platform, but the frustration of needing to be saved is on par with the same frustration that comes with dieing. As for the battlegrounds, Elika steps in front of you in order to prevent the final blow that sends the Prince to his resting place. Fortunately for your opponent, if Elika needs to get involved, his entire life bar is rejuvenated and you must essentially restart the fight.
On top of these two potential complaints, Elika is everything a gamer could want out of an AI-based partner within this setting. She never gets lost, obstructs your view or causes you to backtrack to find her. Like a lost puppy, Elika follows you to the ends of each fertile ground with the same determination that flows within you. Not only does the young princess prevent you from pushing up daisies, but also she enables you to clear large distances that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach, as well as supplementing battles with various magical abilities against troublesome enemies. This only helps further the solid combat design recreated inside the walls of Ubisoft.
In order for Prince of Persia to be successful at engaging the player through its fighting mechanics, the developers and designers needed to take a second and realize what they were trying to achieve. Even though titles of the past have included an open fighting style similar to that of God of War, Ben Mattes and his team decided to step back one pace and then take three steps forward in creating a unique combat template found only in the Prince’s latest adventure. What you end up with is a one-on-one system in which each battle feels a tad more significant than your standard one-on-30 duel.
The system is also very user-accessible and any casual gamer can sit down and benefit from its simplicity even though there is an underlying combo system to be discovered. While fighting, there are five buttons that you utilize in order to be successful and chain together some impressive combos. Square allows you to slash with your sword, circle gives you the ability to use your gauntlet, X performs aerial assaults, R2 allows ... (continued on next page)