Headline: Game review: Prince of Persia
Layercake: A simpler prince than you once knew
By SHANE PARK
Aggie Arts Writer
The new Prince of Persia (released in December 2008) is actually the fourth and most visually stunning series released by Ubisoft. It has nothing really to do with Persia, and it has nothing to do with the game’s previous Sands of Time trilogy, either. But unlike the previous games, Ubisoft takes a new direction by simplifying things for casual gamers to break into the hardcore scene.
Taking control as the prince, you start off wandering through the desert looking for your donkey and run into a mysterious girl named Elika, who has magical powers. After a run-in with her father, you learn through a string of dialogue that the kingdom is “Corrupted” due to an evil god trapped in a tree that Elika’s father cut down. Your job, with Elika in tow, is to clear the Corrupted areas by cleansing the fertile grounds in the four sections of the kingdom, with four areas per section. Simply put, it’s your job to clean up the mess that Elika’s father made.
Don’t worry, doing the task is more fun – and aesthetically pleasing – than you would think. Whenever you enter a Corrupted area, everything is dreary with globs of Corrupted sticking to walls and floors dangerously reaching toward you as you run by. After the fertile grounds have been cleansed, greenery and life fill the area. The visually stunning part is that within whatever section you are in, you can see the other three areas and see what parts you have cleansed and what parts you haven’t. After each area is cleansed, completionists can collect every last Light Seed (45 per area) that will give Elika new powers to use.
Moving from area to area is fluid and rather easy. You have a jump button, a Gauntlet button to grab onto rings as you move and an Elika button to perform a double jump to reach those platforms just out of your reach. The game helps you so you don’t have to make every jump perfect, but it won’t make jumps for you. Don’t worry about missing a jump, Elika will be there to pull you to solid ground before you fall to your death. Essentially, there is no death in this game.
Combat is also simple. With only four buttons (sword, acrobatic, gauntlet, Elika) there is no need to worry about complex button combinations and double quarter back to a 360 rotation on the directional pad. After the sword button, simply press one of the other buttons to perform combos. If you press the buttons at the right time with some variation in order, you’ll perform a beautifully complex dance between the prince and Elika. Also, each enemy you encounter (a Corrupted solider) is more like a mini-boss and most of the time, the fight is short enough as not to disturb the fluidity of the game.
But as much as I praise Prince of Persia, it has one big flaw: The plot. I won’t say any more than that.
If you want to see the most beautiful game of 2008, go pick up a copy of Prince of Persia for your PS3, Xbox 360 or PC. Pity about … Whoops, I wasn’t going to talk about that. Go find out for yourself.
SHANE PARK can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. XXX