Review by darthnsoth

"A new beginning for and old favorite"

We begin our journey in the sandals of a new Prince of Persia, searching for his beloved donkey, loaded with gold but lost in a sandstorm. In this reboot for one of the franchise's that put Ubisoft on the map, you take control of the not yet Prince of Persia who by fate, or as the Prince states, bad luck crosses paths with a Princess who is running from guards. Intrigued by this woman who crosses his path, the prince decides to follow her and more of his bad luck comes into play as the guards begin chasing him as well. The prince almost comes to an very abrupt end as he begins falling to his certain death the mysterious girl reaches out and saves his life, pulling him to safety.

This is the beginning and introduction to the new Prince of Persia game. The mysterious girl is named Elika, is the Princess of the lands we find the prince in and she is running from her father and his guards as he has made a deal to release a long imprisoned god named Ahriman. Elika is empowered by Ahrimand's brother and captor Ormazd, and together with the prince, they must free the land of the City of Light from the grip of Ahriman and his corruption before he can break the final bonds holding him into his prison.

The Story
The story for the Prince of Persia follows the journey of the Prince and Elika as they try to free the land of the Kingdom from the Corruption of Ahriman. They must reach the fertile grounds in each part of the kingdom and allow Elika to heal the lands, restoring them to the lush green environment they once were and thus breaking the hold of Ahriman on the land and strengthening the prison that holds him.

There are of course those who oppose this from happening and will try to stop the Prince and Elika from healing the land, and thus help their master go free. There are 4 major players that oppose your progress in the game, the Warrior, the Hunter, the Concubine, and the Alchemist, and to free each part of the land you must face these foes and defeat them to loose their grip from the parts of the kingdom they inhabit. As you progress through each section you are able to converse with Elika revealing information about these 4 as well as parts of her life and what very little information she is able to coax from the prince as well.

The story elements of the game are all left to the player to discover as you are left the option of talking to Elika at any point and can take as much or as little information from her as you like. The prince is a witty and wise cracking fellow and these dialogues offer the story of the lands as well as the Princes unique views of the world around him with some good humor thrown in.

Gameplay & Controls - 9/10
The gameplay for the Prince of Persia should be familiar to those who have delved into the Sands of Time trilogy in Ubisoft's previous offerings of the series. This Prince is just as agile as the Prince before him, offering up wall running, climbing, swinging and leaping around the environment to reach new areas and progress through the game. They have simplified the gameplay a bit from the previous Prince of Persia titles in this one, making most of the moves automatic. If you jump towards a wall you will automatically wall run or wall climb depending on the angle your momentum takes you to the wall. You automatically grab poles, ledges or pillars as well. It seems to be an attempt to make the series more accessible to a wider audience. Personally I didn't have any issue with the way this is implemented. You just go and do stuff and worry a little more on where you are going that what you need to to to get there. The Prince is now equipped with a gauntlet on his left hand which aids in his movements along and down walls giving players the ability to slide down walls slowly by digging in their gauntlet with the RT button. The prince is able to go up and across walls and when extended wall runs are needed there are rings that can be used to propel the prince further as well as vines that he can climb on. Also standard fair for Prince of Persia games the poles, columns and crevasses are all present to help you maneuver through the environments.

New to the series is the aid of Elika, you Princess sidekick. She has the power of magic to aid her (and the Prince) through there journey. She is able to propel the prince forward on those long jumps that would otherwise be out of reach by pressing the Y button. She can also save the prince from falls to his death, reaching out and grabbing the prince to save him from death if he misses a jump or falls into a bad situation of corruption, etc. and return him to the last piece of solid flat ground touched.

As one progresses through the game you are to collect light seeds. These help Elika and once you have collected enough new areas become available to you via colored plates on the walls that will propel you to new and previously unreachable areas. There are 4 different types of plates in the game, each with a different type of power that is briefly granted to the player. A Throw plate, that allows Elika to magically grab and throw the Prince to another section. A Wall Run plate that allows Elika to magically stick the Prince to the wall for extended wall runs. A Jump plate that magically propels Elika and the Prince into a huge jump (which is very similar to the throw plate, truth be told). And finally a Flight Plate that lets Elika magically fly with the prince on her back. This last one lets you lean slightly left, right, up, or down to avoid obstacles. Personally the flight part is my least favorite part of the game.

The combat in the game is fairly varied and marginally deep. You have sword attacks with the X button, gauntlet attacks with the B button, Elika will join in the fight with Magic attacks by pressing the Y button and you can mix in some acrobatic moves with the A button. The A button also allows you to dodge and the RT is your block button and if timed correctly will allow you to counter an enemy's attack. There are quite a few variations that you can use with any combination of the attack buttons, allowing you to mix and match all of the different attacks and string them together for decent combos. The combat is quite fun and is only brought down by the implementation of Quick Time Event button combinations. I'm not a big fan of QTE's in most games as they are seldom done very well and I would rather do the fighting myself that watch the game fight for me. But that is just me, other may like them. These aren't totally awful in this game and since there is no penalty of death (Elika will always save you if you get into life threatening trouble) you can plug away until you get them right or win the fight by scoring regular hits. The QTE's are not a necessity to finish off enemies so if you suck at them you can finish an enemy by regular combat techniques for the most part.

Sound - 10/10
The game has excellent ambient sound throughout the game. Through a 5.1 system the level sounds come at you from all appropriate areas. Once a section is freed of corruption the sound of the living environment really comes to life. The voice acting in the game is top notch. The conversations between the Prince and Elika are very well done and the Princes sarcastic and witty dialogue is great. Well delivered and and often times humorous both in the scripted dialogue as well as the comments during gameplay. The music in the game is also fantastic, adding a great ambiance to the game. The music sets the mood well and ups the tension during battles nicely .

Graphics - 9/10
The graphics in this game are very well done the new art style for the series looks great in motion. First of all let me tell you that I am a fan of Cell Shading in games, especially in the new generation consoles, Cell Shading can look fantastic. It is a fresh look that instantly distinguishes a game from the rest of the pack out there. It isn't done in a lot of games but when game developers use Cell Shading it can really make a game something special. Games like Ultimate Spider-Man, Zelda The Wind Waker, Crackdown, Naruto:Rise of the Ninja and now Prince of Persia have all made good use of cell shading animation and benefited from the unique look it gives them.

Prince of Persia is well done throughout and looks good through the corrupted environments and even better once the land is healed and green once more. The characters are well done and the bonus characters as well. The cut scenes are all done in game so whichever character skin you choose is used throughout the game thereafter, seamlessly transplanted into the City of Light Kingdom.

Replayabliity - 8/10
Once finished the game the replayability for the Prince of Persia is decent. You are able to go back and use the skins you have opened and replay the game from scratch or continue a previous save to complete hunting down all the light seeds in the game. There are a total of 1001 light seeds scattered throughout the environments so there is definitely some exploring left once you finish your initial playthrough. That being said, the light seeds aren't too tough to spot and once all the areas are open to you it is only a matter of finding the means to explore every part of the areas to get them all. Through the regular story of the game you will need to collect 540 light seeds to be able to complete the game, and it is not a huge chore to do so. Collecting the rest is just a matter of whether you want to go back and explore all the game has to offer.There is also the achievement incentive, of course , to continue playing the game and sum upi those that you missed of were unable to get in the first playthrough.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/14/08

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

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