Review by Galactus21

"Past Prologue"

The latest entry in Ubisoft Montreal's list of accomplishment is a revival of an old game. Prince of Persia Sands of Time has incredible charm and is matched with a beautifully crafted atmosphere. The game certainly feels more than your average action/adventure. Instead, the game has a unique flavor that is match with some nice gameplay mechanics. The game has an extreme amount of polish and plenty of accessibility even to those who has never followed the previous games. Furthermore, the game simply has plenty of well designed puzzles, topnotch platforming, and a unique way of combating foes. With plenty of style and charm mixed with a Middle Eastern style atmosphere, Prince of Persia Sands of Time is one of the more impressive titles in recent memory.

Prince of Persia's story revolves around a prince obviously and the unpredictable dagger of time. It all happened on a beautiful day when the Prince uses the dagger to unlock a mystical hourglass. Safe to say, not everything went according to his plan. To make matters worst, the evil vizier is somehow behind all this. After the Prince's mistake, the entire kingdom is transformed into something evil. It is up to the Prince to the stop the evil vizier, and with the help of a young woman in Farah, the Prince is set in his objectives.

Prince of Persia's combat is especially unique because in a sense you can't really die, or if you are abysmal at this game, then there is a chance. What I mean is the dagger has a special power in itself. The dagger allows you to rewind time and you a do over. There are sand tanks that let you measure how many times you can rewind time, and there are always opportunity to replenish it. The game is also insanely easy, which makes this rewind of time act like a buffer zone that prevents you from dying. So each time you fall to your death or get killed in battle, you can simply rewind time and replay that sequence over again.

The Prince's movements are also quite fluid and allows for plenty of easy transitional moves that furthers the game's accessibility. The controls allow you to perform plenty of acrobatic moves with ease. The platforming sequences are also made precise due to the game's slick controls. The controls also allow the player to use the combat system in a way that is quite appealing to the eyes. What I mean is the way you combat is made effective by the controls because the moves that are performed require precision timing. The platforming also consists of acrobatic leaps, monkey like swings, and well timed shimmies. The main point is the Prince controls feel superb.

As stated, the combat requires precise timing because the combat is really about read and reacting type tactics. If you time the moves right, you can do some impressive acrobats that avoids an enemy's attack, as well as going on the offensive. While the combat isn't necessarily deep, the game does a great job at covering the lack of depth by allowing the combat to be mixed with the dagger of time. Let's say you get hit by an enemy, and with the ability to rewind time, you can time a precise maneuver to counteract that. And not only is it fun to perform such feats, but it visually feels life like.

The puzzles on the other hand aren't quite as impressive. The puzzles for the most part are simple and easy to solve. The puzzles consist of pulling levers or pushing crates onto levers. There are also several instances where Farah will help you in the puzzles. In these situations, the puzzles get a bit more varied and complicated. While the puzzles aren't excessively hard, the game's puzzles are still attractive. The game has a very nice balance between puzzles, combat, and platforming. The puzzles always were placed at the right moment to break up the tension filled combat situations. Another important aspect was the platforming. And this is definitely the area where Sands of Time excels the most at. The game was filled with plenty of well designed platforming that interconnected different stages in the levels. The platforming consists of poles, bars, and edges over areas where the fallen would meet certain death. During the game all these platforming sequences are connected. For example, if you swing from bar to bar, the next step might be to jump over to an existing ledge.

The game also has a very light hearted feeling. This is reiterated through its incredibly detailed characters that are matched with a gorgeous world. The atmosphere feels right and it certainly places an emphasis on bringing out a certain cultural flavor. The world was beautifully constructed, as each part felt interconnected to one another. Each area felt important to the next. The game's lighting effect also brought this bright and lively world to existence, which is safe to say that it is quite impressive. The entire game's graphical prowess is able to portray this world in a beautiful light that just allows the player to bask in admiration. Not to mention the game flows and runs with consistency. With the Prince's death defying stunts, the animation was able to portray the situation with plenty of realism, and at the same time offer something that would only exist in a fantasy world.

Another important aspect is the game's amazing voice acting. The Prince is a young man, and his voice was able to portray it. His voice wasn't too deep and his voice was able to emphasize a young and somewhat arrogant type tone. After all he is the Prince, so that is expected. Farah reiterates the quality voice acting, as her voiceovers are nothing short of being impressive. The game also has a pleasant soundtrack to match the voice acting. The game certainly looks good, and sounds great, but it is a shame that the game is relatively short and fairly easy. While the game is by no means a 5 hour adventure that some of the developers nowadays are spewing out, the game certainly shouldn't take more than 10 hours or so to beat.

Even by today's standards, the game was still a bit too short, and the puzzles weren't all that difficult, but the game had plenty of charm that was matched by an immersive atmosphere. More importantly, the game felt incredibly cohesive. Every platforming sequence and every puzzle didn't feel force. In fact, it felt as if they were all interconnected with each other and hence offered a strong feeling of cohesion. Prince of Persia Sands of Time was an immersive and storybook type experience. The combat was solid, the platforming is some of the best around, and the atmosphere was simply enthralling. Prince of Persia Sands of Time is certainly a game that is worth checking out.

Pros
+ Fantastic Platforming
+ Sensational atmosphere
+ Solid combat system
+ Voice acting
+ Each part of the game feels cohesive
+ Solid story
+ Spot on animation
+ Ability to rewind time

Cons
- A bit on the short side
- Puzzles are a bit simplistic
- A little too easy

Graphics - 9/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Sound - 10/10
Value - 7/10
Presentation - 9/10
Overall - 9.0/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/06


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