Once You POP…
The Magic Won’t Stop
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 doesn’t 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 you’ve been missing all this time. The Prince is easily controlled with the analog stick, making him jump and wall-run with the same button. There’s 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. She’ll 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.
This Prince of Persia brings players back to an awe-inspiring series of environments only found in a franchise such as this one. The beautiful lands of Persia, magnificent buildings, and breathtaking ruins transport players to a nearly magical world that’s difficult to leave. Whether it’s submerged in darkness or healed by the power of light, everything looks amazing. The gorgeous cell-shaded graphics have been carefully designed and colored, almost as if it was a classic book or a nice painting.
The characters seem like drawings come to life, only they sport vibrant colors and genuine facial expressions and postures that make their personalities come through. The Prince is in very good shape and seems very self-confident (sometimes too much), though he also has a sweet side. Elika, on the other hand, is a strong and beautiful woman, very agile, and determined to make things happen one way or the other.
The adventure is accompanied by a remarkable musical score that seems right out of a movie. It will surprise players with exciting up and downs that will often help change the mood and pace of the gameplay. Voice acting is equally distinguished, with engaging voices that make the characters come alive and reflect their personalities. If you can’t get enough of it, the left trigger makes the Prince engage into diverse conversations with Elika about the lands, the enemies, and other affairs, sometimes involving particular feelings. Sound effects are not as noticeable when compared to everything else, but they do a nice job of helping you feel like part of the adventure.
Other than the great adventure provided, there isn’t much else to do in this game. There are just a few things to unlock like original artwork and four interesting skins to dress up the Prince and Elika for the next round. One of them is Altair from Assassin’s Creed, and the rest…you’ll have to find out! If you enjoy obtaining achievements and trophies, you can’t complain. Especially when you start, you’ll be getting these left and right, making the accomplishments feel almost ironic.
Prince of Persia is a wonderful and nearly magical game. It’s not very long but it’s long enough, as it will entail around 10-14 hours of continuous platforming and fighting, even if you don’t try to pick up the 1001 Seeds of Light. The flow and excitement of the gameplay as well as the dramatic visual style will get you hooked for hours to come. I doubt there will be many people who don’t like it, as it’s equally engaging for players and viewers sitting next to you. The only trouble may come when they want you to pass the controller! Do yourself a favor and give this game a try. The only way you wouldn’t like it is if you don’t like platforming, and if you’re reading this, that’s not the case, right?
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.8 Graphics
Awe-inspiring environments, splendid architecture, and imaginative character design. This artistic and unique visual style makes the Prince of Persia shine with its own light. 4.6 Control
Ultra-fluid gameplay and surprisingly easy controls provide an experience like no other. 4.4 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Movie-like musical score will surprise players with exciting up and downs, and voice acting is one of the best out there. 4.7 Play Value
The game is deep, exciting, very accessible, and unique. There’s a lot to explore and many ways to go, plus it offers the kind of platforming we were all waiting for. 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.