|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: Nov. 2, 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|
The Magic Won't Stop
by Maria Montoro
What could be better than your favorite video game series of all time? A continuation of the franchise! While the new Prince of Persia doesn't carry on with The Sands of Time series, it's managed to prolong its unique splendor and exciting gameplay, only making it even better than before. Ubisoft Montreal has really pulled it off this time. Their goal was to create a video game masterpiece and they got it! Prince of Persia should be and will be remembered for years to come as one of the most exciting video game adventures ever created. Don't believe me? Start playing! - Or read on.
As you know, the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time series is long gone, and with it, the former prince. Even though that's sad news, everyone needs to open up and embrace the all-new story, as it will take you to places never seen before. Hopefully this new series is here to stay, although you never know what surprises await.
When you start the game, the Prince keeps yelling: "Farah! Farah!" For a moment, you may think everything's back to normal, but think twice - This prince doesn't seem nearly as "royal" as the previous one, and his attitude is definitely quite different; at times, you will even think he's too rude! But, of course, you learn to like him eventually. On his way home, he meets Elika, an energetic and very strong woman who seems like the queen of acrobatics. Well, she's no queen after all, but a princess looking to bring back peace and harmony, especially after Ahriman, the God of Darkness, is unleashed from the Tree of Life that held him captive and powerless. After a thousand years of peace and equilibrium, darkness now reigns over the ancient lands of Persia. Nasty, black ooze covers the once beautiful landscapes, and light is nothing but a distant glow. That's what makes Elika and the Prince set out for this new adventure - It's time to fix this mess and heal the corrupted areas before it's too late.
Soon enough, you'll be presented with a world map. This will show you four distinct areas that surround the temple, including the Veil, the Citadel, the City of Light, and the Royal Palace. They've all been affected by Ahriman's powers and taken over by evil warriors, so they need to be cleansed. Simply by opening the map, you'll be able to select different levels within each area, but you will need to collect Seeds of Light in order to advance and enter new sections. These seeds appear as you heal the lands, and collecting them requires a nice amount of outright platforming. Although you don't need to gather all of them in order to advance, it's fun to go around and pick them up.
When you enter the different areas, you'll encounter multiple platforming segments, some combat, and a few puzzles that need to be solved. Even though I would have liked more combat and puzzles, I still think the right ingredients were thrown into the mix, especially considering most people are into fast-paced gameplay or pure combat, rather than having to stop and think for too long. You'll never get lost in this game, as you can have Elika show you the way with the push of a button. A gleaming, magical wind will float away and lead you in the right direction, a nice touch for this already magical game.
I have never played a game that's more fast-paced and satisfying than this one, although perhaps the classic Sonic and Mirror's Edge are on par. Platforming segments, which make up the majority of this game, allow for surprisingly fluid gameplay, although you can also choose to take your time in certain portions of it, as long as your feet are on solid ground. Jumping from ledge to ledge, clinging from poles, climbing columns, and wall-running has never been so fun, and the best thing is the flow is rarely hindered by a bad fall and the subsequent death. Instead, Elika will quickly grab your hand and take you back to the last safe spot you stepped on, more often than not, just a few feet behind. It's rare for a game to be frustration-fee, but this one is fairly close!
The controls are very easy to learn, though that doesnt mean challenge is absent. You still have to hit the right buttons at the right time in order to make everything flow. After a while, these buttons will be second nature, and the Prince will become the skillful acrobat youve been missing all this time. The Prince is easily controlled with the analog stick, making him jump and wall-run with the same button. Theres one button for quick attacks and the other for lifting enemies in the air or grabbing onto things and launching yourself further. One of the most useful buttons will involve Elika. Shell jump over you and hit enemies with a nice momentum, starting what you could turn into a sweet combo, depending on the buttons you press after that. As you can imagine, different button combinations will result in diverse combo attacks and acrobatic action, some involving aerial moves and others simply direct and strong hits. Combat is overall really engaging and rewarding, although I did miss some of the combat elements present in the Sands of Time trilogy.