Review by ClagiusClanlor

"The Pros, the Cons, and who will like it, in 800 words"

Below, I sum up the newest PoP title in under 800 words, but I could actually sum it up in one sentence: It's the Prince of Persia trilogy with training wheels.

Really, there are only two things about the game that merit more than two sentences of explanation:

Put very simply, if you fall off a cliff, get caught in a deadly trap, or are killed by an enemy, a friend will show up and instantly pull you to safety and revive you. In the event of a cliff or trap, you will be returned to the last platform you were standing on before you fell. Many gamers will like this feature, because never dying means never having to go back to a checkpoint and replay the same area over and over again. However, the game's aesthetic draws heavily on the constant state of peril that your character is in, and frankly a game in which you cannot die does not feel very perilous. This feature is convenient and makes the game much less stressful, but it breaks the flow considerably.

The combat system is nothing new, but much better than you might expect considering how rarely it gets used. The combat gameplay is intuitive and easy to master, often to a fault. Only the most challenging enemies will actually put up a real fight, and even they have mostly predictable patterns. In the event that you should ever lose a fight, don't worry about a thing, because your health will be instantly replenished by your teammate. I will say that this combat system is very cinematic and looks just beautiful.

Beyond that, everything else can be summed up quite easily.

Gameplay (6/10, but only if you like platformers): Running, jumping, and climbing are the meat and potatoes of this game, and while the melee combat system is acceptable, it feels more like a minigame than a part of the core gameplay. The fact that your character cannot ever die means that you won't constantly be falling off a cliff and having to restart the level, but it also removes most of the challenge, and there's very little sense of accomplishment.

Level Design (7/10, a point was lost because of all the backtracking): The level design is of excellent quality, but the stages feel overly short. After 15 minutes of progress, you finish an area and then have to run through it again gathering collectibles to unlock a gate to a new area.

Visuals (8/10 graphics are somewhat weak, but the artwork makes up for it): For the most part, the game is very pretty. The art design is absolutely top-notch, and the models look good, but every now and then the cell-shading is just a little too obvious. When poor renders aren't hamming it up, the game is gorgeous.

Story (7/10, cliche, but with good dialogue): Mostly predictable, and little we haven't seen before. The characters have some good lines and they are reasonably well-voiced by industry standards, but since most of the dialogue is initiated by the player, it tends to be interjected at random moments and what could have been a witty one-liner feels more like a lame joke that got shoehorned in at a bad moment.

Sound (8/10, the sound quality is great, and there are some really nice instrumentals): The music is good, and usually meshes with the place and time of the game. The same can be said for sound effects and background noise.

Overall (7/10 RENT IT FIRST!!!): The three games from the Prince of Persia trilogies could all be considered purchase-worthy (I bought all of them at one point or another), but this game is much less likely to last long enough to merit a buy. Rent it, and you just might find yourself beating it before it's due back.

PROS:

Because you can't die, you will be able to get through the game rather quickly with a minimum of stress

The visuals, music, acting and dialogue are all varying levels above par. The main character has some pretty funny lines.

It's relatively unique; there aren't many platform games out there on the new consoles, so this will be a break from your average style of game.

The game features an AI ally who accompanies you throughout the adventure, and she's useful more often than she is baggage.

CONS:

Because you can't die, the games various challenges don't feel very menacing. Hard to get into the atmosphere when your character always feels save.

The game is almost pure platforming, so fans of action games will be disappointed. Approximately one enemy encounter every half hour, and that encounter only lasts a minute or two.

Fans of the Persia trilogy will probably judge this to be a heavily watered down version of its predecessors.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/11/08

Game Release: Prince of Persia (US, 12/02/08)


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