Review by Soldier_0_Cross

"More an artistic endeavor than a game in and of itself, altogether an amazing experience."

Are video games an art medium? This has been debated for some time. For some it may be hard to see why and others would argue that games can most certainly and definitely be considered art. If a painting is art then why not the scenery in a game or the level design or the flow the game creates? If a musical piece is art then why not the soundtrack in a game used to enhance the mood and draw you in. If writing is art then certainly a game can have a great story as well as making a point politically, spiritually or socially.

Since art is subjective in nature one person may find value or beauty where another sees none. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was one of the most acclaimed games of last generation. Brilliant level design lovable characters and dialogue and gripping game play. The sequel Warrior Within which followed was well received but lacked a lot of charm from the first game and went for a much darker feel however had a much more revamped combat system which gave you the ability to blend cool parkour moves with swift killing attacks.. The final in the series Two Thrones combined a lot of elements of both games and did a lot of things right. However most people argue that Sands of Time was the superior title of the series. So when the new Prince was announced taking place in a new world and with new characters many people were anxiously awaiting the game. Soon however it was revealed that Ubisoft had ditched the old combat system for what was now a 1 vs 1 duel type experience. As well the fighting was no longer influenced by the surroundings. This has turned off many fans of the series, this one however while not entirely enthralled with the new combat system found other merits in the game.

However all the suspicion was quieted when the E3 2008 trailer was released. Showing off the games beautifully rendered cel-shaded graphics and game play being played along with Saeglopur by Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band whom very few people have heard of. The trailer was absolutely beautiful. It showed a game that looked like actual poetry in motion. A game that would focus on the experience and beauty rather than slicing apart as many enemies as you could in the coolest way possible. Since I saw the trailer I had been dying to play the game. When I finally did I was truly pleased.

At first I had my difficulties missing many button commands and repeatedly “dying”. As many of you have heard, you cannot die in this game, not like most games anyway. Whenever you would fall to your doom or get finished off by an enemy. Your partner, Elika, will save you with her magic. Now this sounds easy? Not really, all it does is eliminate the middle man…The load screens. If you “die” you will still start back at the beginning of the jumping puzzle. Which can still make the game seemingly frustrating and fun. When in combat instead of dying, Elika will save you however the enemy will regain the majority of their health.

The story plays out like a typical good vs. evil, with the nameless protagonist, and Elika trying to rid the land of corruption being spread by the dark god Ahriman. The story serves it purpose while doing nothing astounding. Elika and the prince have a lot of fun chemisty which makes it fun to watch the spoken sequences that appear often. I found both of their characters likeable if not fairly stereotyped.

Now let me explain why I spoke on the subject of art at the beginning of my review…This game is beautiful, a stunning visual feat. The way every seems to blend together in the world, it creates excellent atmosphere and look absolutely stunning, even before you save a land from the corruption, it still looks great. The detail is meticulous, which is uncommon for cel-shaded games. All the running and acrobatics from the previous games are here and still flow just as well. But sometimes I just want to stop the running aspect and just stand their and look around at the world around me. The same can be said about the battle system. While not particularly difficult, it simply becomes just beautiful to watch, as you pull combos together and it looks so fluid. It creates a very satisfying feel. I was very aware that Ubisoft knew what kind of game they were making, as opposed to a fun fighting game we have what I would honestly call “A painting in motion” for example; Okami. Amazing game and astounding visually.

The music helps to set the theme without being remarkable or overly noticeable, as not to overcome the game's stunning visuals. I enjoy the music that plays during the battles or just lightly in the background as I free run along the open world the game has for you.
No Prince of Persia is not perfect, but it highly depends on what your looking for. If you want cheap fun action or a hack and slash. This is not your game and that's fine. If however you want an experience and a game that lets you sit back and enjoy it as you unfold its pages. This may be the one you're looking for.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/03/12

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

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