Review by Xboxed in
"Prince of (Oh So Very Close To) Perfect"
Just finished the game.
I apologize, but that's the only way I could start the review. After playing through the game, which did take me a while (see the play-time section), that's (almost) all I can say.
Wow. On to the review.
Its difficult to rate a game 9.9/10 for gameplay. In order for that to happen, several things must occur. First, the control of the character has to be flawless or near flawless. The game character has to do exactly what you want him to do. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (from now on known as PoP... for convenience) gives you this flawless control. The Prince is at your command; in some third person adventure games, the control is hectic - I'm sure we've all experienced the phenomenon where the character just will not do what you want him/her to do, or just not fast enough (Tomb Raider, anyone?). No need worry about that with PoP.
The second thing a game needs is fluid graphics and animation to accompany the controls. Normally this is a graphics-only issue, but because the way the game looks and feel is so closely related to control, I have to mention it here. All the animations in the game are perfect. The climbing, the scaling, the fighting (the fighting will be talked about in greater detail), the running, jumping, swinging, flipping, and all the many many many other incredible things the Prince can do are all better than I could have hoped for. You'll see.
Being somewhat a puzzle game, I feel obligated to mention that the puzzles are great. Sometimes they are quite puzzling, for lack of a better word. A few gamers who are more interested in the fighting and the action with become a little frustrated with the puzzles, but not to worry - they aren't impossible, but if you're like me and need some help, GameFAQs.com is here for you.
The third, and most importantly, is the fun factor of the gameplay, overall. Believe me - you will have a blast playing PoP. The fighting engine is unique and is very responsive. Its directional, meaning that if you move the stick in an enemy direction and press attack, Prince will move (by cartwheeling or flipping) over to them to attack. This results in a fighting engine that looks like you both know what you're doing (even if you don't) and you'll look like a Hollywood director. The fights are amazing. They're extremely cinematic, with sweeping camera shots that don't interfere with your fight, and acrobatic moves that are easily executed, usually by pushing one button.
Ahhh... time. There's a reason the game is titled the Sands of Time. Its hard to explain this without giving away anything - but basically you can control time. Fell off a cliff? Rewind. Need to concentrate? Slow down time. There are other fantastic abilities related to his time-altering 'powers'. This is a new and ingenius idea that I feel bests the 'slo-mo innovation' in Max Payne.
Gameplay? Yeah. This game's got it. And it does it real good, too. Why didn't I give it a 10/10? One word - camera. Admittedly, this is the hardest part of a game to perfect, for any developer - but a few tweaks in the camera work could help.
No matter how good a game is, if the story sucks, well, that makes a difference. I'm not going to give you many details about the story, obviously. Basically, its set in ancient Persia. Your character is (obviously) the Prince of Persia, and a soldier too. The game starts in an ongoing battle against some opposing nation, and your character has a quest to find some kind of hidden treasure. What he finds, however, unleashes a version of Hell on Earth. You'll see.
The whole element of 'time alteration' comes into play with the plot - in interesting and clever ways. Again, you'll see.
The graphics in Prince are, while not absolutely astounding, good for the particular game. There are some angles you can see from a distance of you climbing a tall, tall tower, that look incredible. As mentioned before, the animation is spectacular. The fighting, in particular, is verrrrry pretty. This is a fantasy game, and the 'hazy' graphics (for lack of a better word) reflect that. You'll see.
The sound is wonderful. The soundtrack, in particular, floored me. Its extremely appropriate for the game's themes, never awkward, and during the fight scenes, pumps you up. Great soundtrack. The voice acting is pretty good, compared with other games in the genre, and the sound effects are good. The sword blocks, the monsters' shrieks, the water's sounds, everything sounds great. My surround system might account for the great sound...... but I'm sure it sounds good without it. Great sound.
I finish games fast. Very fast, sometimes. Knights of the Old Republic took me three days. Prince of Persia, however, took me few weeks - which is a very good thing. The puzzles will stump you, some parts cannot be beaten the first few times through, you will lose some fights, you will not know what to do. These things will frustrate you a little bit, but that's good - it lengthen's the game's play-time. This one will take you a while.
Replayability... heh. This is why I rate this category 8.5 rather than a 10. With no kind of multiplayer (obviously) and a good linear game plot, the replayability is weak. I know, for me, I will play through again in the future, simply because it's an amazing game, but the average gamer will play through once and not have the motivation to play through again. Don't be discouraged from doing so, though!
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: PLAY IT THROUGH
Even if you don't buy this game, at least get your hands on it long enough to play through (a week, if you're a hard core gamer... a couple weeks if you're average, three weeks if you take your time). Trust me. The gameplay along is enough to show you how good games should play, if all the other wonderful elements don't get you addicted. I often muttered to myself while playing, ''Oh my g.... This is the best game I've ever played.'' And that just might be true... it just might be true.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/27/04
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