|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||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 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Aside from saving you after missteps and helping in combat, Elika makes her presence known while traversing the garden. She serves as both a double jump, extending the distance that you can leap, and as the key to a multitude of scattered magical plates. Once activated by Elika, these plates function similarly to those found in many Sonic the Hedgehog titles. You will jump onto one and grab hold, jumping again to be launched to the next plate in the series. These plates seem a little out of place, but they help you to cover a lot of ground and arrive at otherwise unreachable destinations.
Although the entirety of the game is confined to the garden, it is quite expansive and gives players a vast area to explore and save. Each part of the garden will need to be cleansed of the corruption, so it can be returned to its former beauty. Thankfully, with this game's open-ended approach to ridding the world of corruption, players will find themselves dispelling the evil black goo in each area of the garden in almost any order they wish. While it isn't a completely sandbox experience, there are many different paths available for restoring the garden one area at a time. If you are having troubles completing one segment of the game, you can just move on to another area and go back whenever you feel ready.
With all the other improvements that help set this game apart from its predecessors, perhaps the most drastic comes in its visuals. Being on more powerful consoles allows for more elaborate environments and characters, with the polygon count making up the new Prince's hair actually surpassing those found in the previous titles' entire Prince models. However, more astonishing is this game's unique illustrated approach. It looks almost like cel-shading but retains much more detail than has ever been seen in a typical cel-shaded title. Landscapes and characters all appear as though they were hand drawn, with black outlines surrounding almost everything. These graphics look amazing in pictures but are even more impressive when witnessed in motion.
While the foundation of acrobatics, swordplay, a unique setting, and an interesting storyline remain, Prince of Persia builds solidly upon its previous outings. With its impressive visuals, more focused combat, and intriguing A.I. support character, this title looks like it will provide fans with a somewhat familiar and yet fresh experience. If you liked the previous Prince of Persia games, you should definitely keep your eyes on this title. If not, this may be a good starting point to try the series for the first time, as its storyline doesn't tie into the previous games. Either way, look for Prince of Persia to possibly make a serious impact this holiday season.
CCC Freelance Writer