|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Casablanca||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
Nintendo fans have waited years for an old-school Prince of Persia (PoP). After a very successful, cross-platform trilogy in the third dimension (not to mention the latest next-gen release), the Prince returns to the 2D plane for classic PoP gameplay with a DS twist.
The Fallen King closely follows the story of its console counterparts. Corruption has overtaken the land, and it's up to the Prince to rid the kingdom of this ominous presence. However, rather than partnering with Elika (the Prince's counterpart in the latest console outing), the DS game has the Prince accompanied by a magus of the fallen king. Now possessed by Corruption, the king must be stopped before his evil spreads across Persia.
The game's story centers around the God of Light, Ormazd, and his brother, Ahriman. They are extreme opposing forces, as Ormazd is a heavenly being and Ahriman calls himself The Betrayer of All. You'll learn bits of the story by way of scrolls discovered throughout levels, and it's a fairly interesting tale based on traditional mythologies and religions. However, the dialogue is pretty poorly written, and exchanges between the Prince and his magus companion feel out of place with the more serious and elegant story of the two warring gods.
But Prince of Persia is, and always has been, about the platforming, and we're pleased to report The Fallen King brings to DS some classic goodness fans can truly appreciate. There are many familiar elements, but the all-stylus-control scheme definitely breathes new life into the Prince's move set.
Movement of the Prince is done by guiding him with the stylus, and he features full analog control. Keep the stylus close to him, and he'll walk; move it a bit further away, and the Prince will walk fast; even further, and he'll run. To jump, the Prince will require a destination, and by simply tapping where you want him to go, he'll jump to that area. When jumping to walls, the Prince can run up slightly by tapping the area just above him. This is one of the key features of the game (and past PoP games), and you'll navigate many areas of dungeons by moving from wall to wall in like fashion. Jumping from poles and ropes also plays a prominent role in The Fallen King, and like past games of the franchise, timing is often crucial when traversing obstacles.
Surprisingly, the stylus controls match up really well with the PoP gameplay, but there are still plenty of frustrating moments along the way. All of the game's mechanics fit wonderfully with the actions they're associated with, but often screen sensitivity and poor input recognition cause the Prince to miss intended platforms.
However, you'll not only control the Prince during the adventure, but you'll have direct control over his magus companion as well. By simply pressing any button on the DS, you can then take control of the magus and his powers. When controlling the magus, if you simply tap on the screen, he'll shoot energy orbs, which can be used to push enemies back or aid in opening passageways. Additionally, there are myriad interactive objects that have been "corrupted," and as you progress through the game, the magus will gain new powers that will allow you to manipulate objects or propel the Prince upward to otherwise unreachable platforms.
In addition to platforming, you'll be engaging in a fair amount of combat. It's kept simple, but it's surprisingly entertaining. Like Phantom Hourglass, the Prince can attack enemies by simply tapping on them. Tapping on enemies multiple times allows the Prince to pull off basic combos, and by slashing across enemies (or objects), the Prince can perform a powerful sort of charged attack. Later, enemies will sport shields, which you can pull away by using the powers of the magus. Some enemies will guard against your attacks, and only by having the Prince, himself, guard and then parry can you defeat these later foes. You'll also come up against a handful of clever bosses, and though a few bugs in the system make for awkward moments, the boss fights are good fun that will require players to use their noggin.