Review by yedi

"Meh... Could've been so much more..."

Okay, having played and beaten all 3 PoP games AND the classic games, I'd like to call myself a bit of a veteran on the subject of Prince of Persia. I'm also one of the gamers who felt utterly insulted by the Warrior Within installment, so if you liked that game, you best read a different review, because I'm probably going to spit at and insult just about everything WW at some point in this review...

Now then, on to the review.

STORY 9/10

A very strong story. If you've been following the 3D games like I have, you'll almost certainly love this games plot. It even almost justifies the insult that was WWs gritty prince crap. You'll fall in love with the characters all over again, and the ending will make you want to rack your head off a wall... in a good way. The ending made it all worth while.

SOUND

Music - 7/10

For a good chunk of the game, you're probably going to be listening to nothing but ambient noises. The music only really kicks in when you're fighting, or if you're stuck in a room for a particularly long time, the music will play for 10-15 seconds ever couple of minutes... but when it starts playing, it's definatly nice. Gone is the mindless and stupid whailings of guitar from the band known as Godsmack, and in their place is a very vivid, and well done soundtrack of softer arabic styled melodies. I may be a metal fan, but Godsmack had NO PLACE within any Prince of Persia, and it was to much relief that they were sent on their way.

I sadly can't say the music was exceptional, or catchy in this game, but it did it's part. It set the mood, and it does that well enough.

Sound Effects - 8/10

From the ambient noises to the combat clashes it all sounds well and good, but some things just don't seem to fit. Most of the sounds seem recycled from Warrior within, and while for some portions this may be alright, I can't remember the last time sand hitting the floor sounded like someone was trickling water(or blood) onto the floor. It just doesn't sound right.

Voice acting - 9/10

This is one of the game strongest points. The voice acting is AMAZING. With the return of the original voice actor for the Prince, everything said sounds superb. While others found that the voices sounded forced, I didn't really seem to notice. The only real voice I didn't like was the vizier. He just didn't seem to fit his role, and he was definatly the weak link in the voice work...

Graphics- 6/10

While pretty for a Prince of Persia game, they do not, in any way stack up to behemoths like Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid. There are still a mirad of cool little touches, from the nicer water effects, to the glimmer on wet rocks, to nice glow you obtain from your infected arm... but the overall presentation just isn't there. It's quite easy to tell this game is a multiplatform game just from the fact it looks like it could be run easily on a PS2... There is very little in the way of graphical difference between all the versions. The lighting is not overly impressive either... No cast shadows, no advanced lighting... nothing... The only nifty lighting comes right near the end of the game, where you ARE the lightsource, which was nice, but otherwise, very bland lighting.

The CG movies however, are incredible. It's nice to see female characters looking human(not like a pair of walking mountains *hint hint*), and the prince looks well rendered. The CG work is short, and very sweet, much unlike the wannabe-movies games that have been coming out as of late, which is very good.

GAMEPLAY

Combat - 3/10

The whole free-form combat seems really, really sloppy. You'll miss A LOT, and the combos mean nothing. Often mashing the face buttons will do you more good that actually bothering to learn to time your button presses. I've tried to use the combos, and they don't work. At all. Also, now you will ONLY be fighting on level ground, against nothing but brutes, or archers. Enemies block. A LOT. And most of the time you're outnumbered. The prince just doesn't seem to control nearly as well in combat as he does in puzzles, and that's a damn shame. And what is with all the unused attacks/actions. You can still strike from the ledges and rafters, slash while running along the wall, and slash while on balance beams, but there's nothing to attack... I mean seriously, what's the point? And I though Hulk: Ultimate Destruction had useless attacks... Hell, even the Pillar attacks are practically useless, on account of there being maybe 4 fights where pillars are available, and most of the time, enemies will simply stand back, or you're fly off in the wrong direction... Yay...

The Dagger-tail for Dark Prince may seem all badassed and stuff, but really, it's inaccuracy, low damage, and conciderably short range really hurts Dark Princes overall awesome potential. Your big spinning attacks and "hurricane"(repeatedly press B to swing the chain around above your head) do pitiful damage, and I can almost asure you you'll be wanting you maces and swords back fairly quickly.

Learn to speed kill is all I have to say. Speed kills are (usually) easy, and cut out combat nearly entirely. AND they promote more platforming, as often the best points to speed kill from require some "work" to get to :D

Puzzles - 6/10

As Prince:

The puzzles are a mild bit harder this time than the slap in the face WW was. With the new preasure pads, and diagonal jumps and a few other treats, there is some nice variety here. But the thing is, with all the new cool stuff to do, some traps are all but gone. There were seemingly only a handfull of spike traps, and less than half a dozen sections of classic sawblade action(my personal favorite trap). I mean, these were the traps that MADE the SoT game, and they're all but absent in this game. Some of the sequences are fun and well made, don't get me wrong, but there just isn't enough difficulty most of the time. The only puzzles that took longer than 5 seconds to figure out... correction, the ONE puzzle that took longer than 5 seconds to figure out, was more of an errand boy puzzle, where you simply ran between two points activatiing a pair of switches to move a statue. When we finished, we felt more than a little cheated, as we(me and my best friend, who is also an avid PoP fan) expected there to be more to the puzzle than there actually was...

Also, as a long time vet of PoP and the muchly acclaimed Metroid series, I tend to overthink some things. There were several points in which I "cheated" the system, and did things the wrong way(in other words, sequence breaking). Often times I feared I was screwing myself over by potentially missing switches and other things. But in the end, all was well and good, but I'm kinda dissapointed in the level design team... I shouldn't have been able to do these things. As hard as they were to do, they shouldn't have been there.

As Dark Prince:

These puzzles aren't hard at all. Concidering your health bar is slowing emptying, the dev team made these simple "Run! Jump! Run some more! Swing!" puzzles, akin to the Dahaka chases in WW. While I kinda enjoyed the Dahaka portions of WW, the dark prince sections are more of an annoyance. Sometimes you'll end up overthinking a portion, and lose just a little too much life, resulting in your death partway through, and leaving you to have to start all the way back at the begining. Not cool. Also, with sand being your life, prepare for annoying combat spats amidst the traps sections. The dagger-tail weapon swinging was okay, but I was expecting it to play a slightly bigger role. I mean, outside of the occasional tugging of a switch, there was nothing really to do with it until near the end of the game(where there was much wall running). Needless to say, prepare to be a little dissapointed in the Dark Prince sections...

Boss Battles - 7/10

Not bad I must say... but not overly good either... Not overly simple(ala: Legend of Zelda), most of the boss fights have a nice touch of Prince of Persia styling(in the way of platforming and such), but there are a few glaring issues. Speed kill over kill. Boss battles should be epic. Every boss, even the final boss, have speed kills required to finish them off, and often you'll need to perform a multitude of speed kill sequences throughout the fight. If you've browsed the forum, I'm sure you've seen the "Sword and Axe" topics... That "boss" fight is the one fight where it is almost completely reliant on the foggy combat system... It will annoy the crap out of you, as it has for so many, with it's buggy physics, poor as crap targeting system, and the fact that the chariot race prior to it is a pain in the ass(meaning you probably won't have much sand to complete the boss fight with, which royally sucks ass) only adds insult to the injury you're sure to inflict unto youreslf or a nearby wall... At least the rest of the boss battles aren't nearly as bad...

Again, not bad, but not good. If you're looking for boss fights that'll rock your socks off, go play Shadows of the Collosus. That game treats boss fights like PoP treats corridors... and that's a very good thing... but anyways...

Conclusion - 7/10(not an average)

It's not a bad game, but if you're looking for longevity, look elsewhere, or wait for a price drop. I beat this game in a little under 15 hours, and I only missed one health upgrade. There is no extra/secret ending for the game, so the only point in starting over to get everything is just to say you did. I'll probably play through it once more, but it just doesn't have the holding power most other games nowadays have. All of the extras are simply concept art, and movies from in the game(although they included the extra ending to WW so that you're not completely lost, and 2 ads, one for Sands of Time, and one for Warrior Within), and you are told a single cheat for the game(one from the cheats in the Codes and Secrets section of Gfaqs), so really, there isn't much to do when you are done. At least the first one had the original PoP game included, and WW had an alternate ending. But as the final game in the series, I guess an alternate ending wouldn't be appropriate... Still, something more would have been nice...

As for Rent or Buy: Rent. If I can beat it in 2 days, and unlock everything, I'm sure you can too. Again, after all is said and done, there really is nothing extra there to keep you playing, unless you try to beat it on normal and want to try hard(which is open from the get go anyways). If anything, wait for a price drop, or pick this game up used.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/15/05


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