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Ya'ver drink Brazilian bold from fkn dunkn donuts!
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Prince of Persia (360, PC, PS3)

A new beginning

The Prince of Persia series was reinvigorated with the Sands of Time, projecting the series and gaming in general into new heights with compelling environments, scrumptious visuals, good story and game play that had the side effect of keeping you up all night just to see what the next area would look like. Unfortunately what made the Sands of Time great was rather neglected in the following games in the trilogy, with a much darker and unnecessary tone given to the prince and the gorgeous soundtrack replaced with obnoxious cock rock which when heard for the 100th time didn’t just grate but often was the result of me turning the game off and never coming back. With a new look and a new prince can Ubisoft’s new adventure recapture the magic the Sands of Time possessed and cement its place in A+ gaming history?

Where is my Donkey?


Travelling through the desert in chase of his Donkey the new ‘prince’ (a grave robber) stumbles across a mysterious and shoeless girl who is fleeing from armed guards, hell bent of capturing her for whatever reason. Being the righteous man the prince is he comes to her aid and discovers that the girls name is Elika, a woman of royalty tasked with the enormous task of returning her kingdom to its normal state after the dark being Arhman who threatens the land with darkness and death, although Elika is no ordinary princess as she has been blessed with magic from the light of Ormasd and it is she who will return the sacred feeding grounds of the land back to its former glory, defeat Arhman thus saving the day.

It all sounds like standard hero fanfare but what Ubisoft have done is quite clever, giving control of the Prince to us and having Elika, the one who drives the story, as being the companion, rather than a damsel in distress waiting in a castle to be rescued.


Artwork: bemusing


Swinging in the breeze

In order to revive the fertile grounds the two heroes must navigate sprawling vistas, steep cliffs, massive ravines and seemingly unreachable plateaus. To help with the process the Prince’s gauntlet will help with traversing vertical faces and gripping ledges, as well as sliding down walls. To help with jumping large distances Elika can be used at any time to throw the prince a few extra metres. The Parkour inspired method of exploring the fertile grounds is the meat and potatoes of the game and where most of the enjoyment is to be had, after mixing many different types of leaps, swings, wall runs all in quick succession and with a natural flow truly gives a great feeling, which cannot be said about combat.

Battles are restrained to two on once encounters with the Prince and Elika taking on one major protagonist for each of the main areas with combos branching between the two as they take turns in bringing the pain to the bad guys. On paper it seems like a great move and for the story it works quite well, however with the game stopping proceedings every time you need to block or hit a key it ends up removing any natural flow the game manages to create with scaling the environment. It all boils down to being too jarring an experience.


Have at you!

Game progression is an entirely non linear affair with the four areas divided into 5 sections with a fertile ground to reach at each junction and one final door to unlock in each area once these grounds have been healed. Once a ground has been healed there are light seeds to be collected which are in turn used to unlock the ability to use special plates which are required to reach some of the more hard to reach places. Giving the player the choice to go in any direction right from the get go may seem like a great idea, but what it has effectively done is remove any structure to story progression and any individuality or challenge to any of the areas.

Ubisoft have taken a new direction with the method of story telling albeit with mixed results. There are very short cut scenes which happen when major achievements are reached, but explanation of current events has been boiled down to us as the player having to manually talk with Elika to get the low down on whats going on. I believe that having this feature will help with skipping dialogue for when you decide to play through the game again, but for a first time experience it often becomes tedious to repeatedly having to interact with Elika every 15 minutes, with every discussion being shown over the shoulder of each of the heroes, rather than incorporating more camera angles to add some sense of scale to the proceedings. In essence discovering the history of the land and its people becomes a watered down affair.

Oasis

Using a modified Assassins Creed engine Ubisoft have been able to capitalize on the ability to create massive sprawling environments which are truly jaw dropping to see. Looking into the distance it is not uncommon to see a tower reaching to the sky and you think to yourself that you will never actually see the base of the thing, let along climb it, yet the creators have managed to surprise me as before you know it you’ve scaled the thing and are now sliding down the side of it in search of light seeds.

In the modern day of games making attempts at creating real world looks, with abundant greys and browns have been wonderfully cast aside here as the Prince of Persia sports more colour than a junkies acid trip. Sure before a fertile ground has been healed the environment is very cold, with the audio track reduced to pumping cold wind through the speakers, and ominous drum beats give the impression this is not a place to lose your guard, but once the area is cleared a rainbow of colour is unleashed, and the sound changes in to a gorgeous middle eastern orchestra, it’s enough to make the hardest of men stop to smell the roses and shed a little tear, it really is that beautiful.


"Both push on three..."


Never say die

One of the most common complaints of the Prince of Persia is that it is too easy a game to complete due to Elika grabbing the Prince from certain death and placing him gently upon the last safe piece of hard ground, or in combat, the enemy will regain health every time the Prince is knocked down. To remove the safety net element of the game though would be like shaving off your eyebrows: it just wouldn’t be right. Mistakes will be made often and the prospect of having to start the level every time you die would be an exercise in tedium and would only appeal to masochists who are hell bent on self torture. The main appeal of this game is the ability to free flow through the levels, making seemingly impossible progression in seamless movements. To interrupt that flow with a game over screen would seriously have a negative impact on proceedings.


Resorting to childish antics, the Prince refused to take a bath

So where is my donkey?


Despite the hideous flaws with the combat, Prince of Persia is a truly gorgeous and entertaining piece of work. What would have made it much better though would be more focus given to combat (quick time events should be outlawed) and a more linear approach to level progression to accentuate more of the story. The end result though, is a game that has recaptured what made the Sands of Time great, with exploration of massive environments and managed to restrain it from reaching gaming nirvana with the inclusion poor combat mechanics and a disjointed method of story telling.

Gameplay – 85
Visuals – 96
Audio – 92
Overall – 89


Gorgeous, free flowing yet a bit too restrained. Very enjoyable.

(As a side note if there was ever a game engine that would be a perfect contender for a remake of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it would be this one.)

Game play experienced with a dv5-1050tx laptop with all settings on max, and 2xAA.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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5,477 Posts
Another fine review snicko.:thumb:

BTW, have you tried throwing an enemy near a ledge and then attacked him with your sword? The prince kicks his opponent off the ledge ala 300: This... is... PERSIA!

Great game. I'm still in the process of enjoying it. (PC version)
 

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Curiously Cheddar
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2,077 Posts
I started the game... And stopped after about 4-5hours worth of gameplay. Without the element of failure, or the leaping between enemies and gore the previous PoP games had... It just lost my interest.

The story seemed OK (at best), but alone it wasn't enough to keep me motivated enough to spend time on it.

IMO its a very hit or miss game. Takes patience and a long attention span. Either hate it, or love. Sady, I fell under the former.
 

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... You can not die.... the prince of persia series going from insainly hard, to stupidly easy, honestly this is just depressing now to anyone whos played the original.anyway now that ive got that out of my system its a good review.
 

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<font color="#FF0080"><b>Moderator<font color="#AA
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Nice review snick, Dont really have much interest in playing the game.

Your reviews are really solid, I think you should try to break the lumps of text up to its more appealing to the readers eye (no one likes looking at a page of straight text).Other than that, as solid as always.
 

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Ya'ver drink Brazilian bold from fkn dunkn donuts!
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7,828 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the comments guys.

Thanks for the pro tip emmy, I'll take a page out of the emwearz big book of reviews and throw in some images to break it all up. I'll do that some time this week when I am busy bludging at work.
 

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Hackin 'n Slashin
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28,630 Posts
Another nice review snick :)

The element of not being able to die by falling sounds very very appealing to a person like me who usually saves just before every single jump (if I can) or uses a moon jump cheat so that I don't repeatedly have to redo those annoying tricky jumps so in that aspect I would love the game. Pity then that the combat sounds so unappealing ...some hack and slash action like Fable would have been just the ticket.

Still I may want to try the game out, Platformer like games that make it to PC are few and far between and one that has such an awesome concept for those tricky jumps sounds stupid to pass up.
 

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Ya'ver drink Brazilian bold from fkn dunkn donuts!
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7,828 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I think you'd enjoy this game Schumi, the difficulty is still there with puzzles and levels do get quite interesting, but I would recommend trying a demo before making a decision on a hard purchase.

I've also added some images to the proceedings.
 

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<font color="#FF0080"><b>Moderator<font color="#AA
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Love the look of it with the images, breaks up the text nicely (The review as great just looked like a bit of a eye sore). Fab review.

PS: Nice bath comment on the image lol:thumb:
 

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Hackin 'n Slashin
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I think you'd enjoy this game Schumi, the difficulty is still there with puzzles and levels do get quite interesting, but I would recommend trying a demo before making a decision on a hard purchase.

I've also added some images to the proceedings.
You were right Snick. I was "forced" into buying it today (full story here http://forums.ngemu.com/general-pictures-videos/117178-pictures-your-new-games-2-a-6.html#post1589914 ). Only played the intro so far but I am loving it :D
I don't play games for a challenge I play them for content (well racing games I do play for a challenge) and dieing on that same jump and having to reload 501 times hinders that enjoyment, however having the game actually save me instead of having to use a trainer is brilliant.
Battle is awesome, but I am still struggling to get it right and understand the full mechanics of it (I often back away from my enemy when I had planned walking towards it).

So yeah, right now I am very very glad that I got this. Whilst not quite the typical hack and slash it might just become my favourite game of that type. I think that's now the second game I have gotten based on one of your reviews that I am very happy with.
 

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Pilgrim
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9,687 Posts
Whoah this is a great review.
Another reason to come back to the site.

I love the artwork of this game.
 
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