Review: Prince of Persia

prince-of-persiaThe Sands of Time, the Warrior Within and the Two Thrones were some of favorite games on my PS2, especially the Sands of Time. The fantastic controls, the platforming, the sweaty palms as I guided the Prince past buzzsaw traps and rolling logs with spikes…all of it made for a fantastic gaming experience.

So with great excitement, I started on this latest adventure. First thing to note is that this is not a sequel or a prequel or anything like that. It is a reboot, no characters return except the Prince (who isn’t even a prince now) and Farah (who is now a donkey). This kind of thing never really bothers me, so I can’t blame the developers for wanting to start fresh on a new console.

When you start playing, the first thing you will notice are the amazing graphics. And they are stunning, looking like a watercolor painting come to life. These are the types of next-gen graphics that I want to see. I don’t care how realistic you can make someone look, I want to see the fantastic come to life and Prince of Persia does not fail in that regard.

The story of the game is not very complex: the Prince is looking for his donkey when he stumbles upon Elika, a princess being chased by some guards. One thing leads to another and soon Ahriman, a dark god is unleashed on the land and it’s up to the Prince and Elika to save it. Other than a few optional conversations and a cut scene after you cleanse each land, there is nothing else going on here.

elikaElika is the biggest change to the game series. She is an AI sidekick who never falls behind, but doesn’t do any fighting unless you press a button for her to attack, which you can chain as a combo with your own attacks. Elika’s main function, though, is to replace the Sands of Time feature from the previous games.

Before, when you failed a jump, you hit the Rewind button and tried again. Here, there is no need, as Elika simply grabs you and puts you back on solid ground. When you die in combat, she simply revives you and the battle starts up again. This means it is literally impossible to die in this game

I have mixed feelings about this. It is nice to save time and not have to reload your game when you die, but it also takes away any sense of trepidation. In the old games, I would carefully plan out my jumps so as not to die. In this game, there is no punishment for failure, not even a loading screen, so I am kind of careless when I play now. If I fall, who cares? It’s like playing on God Mode from the start and when you play a game using God Mode, you get careless and lackluster when you play.


The other thing that really grinds my gears is that the platforming element, long the strongest part of the series, has been reduced to Quick Time Events, a la God of War. In the old game, you had to hold the R1 button to wall run and release it and hit X to jump at the right time. Hold it too long or not long enough and you die. In this game, you just hit X to run and X again.

For example, in one scene the Prince was on top of a pillar: I hit X, O, O and X and he crawled from the top of the pillar to a ring at the top of the ceiling, grabbed it and went to the next ring jumped off onto the ground. All that and I felt like I was barely doing anything. For whatever reason, the controls have been dumbed down severely and I don’t really care for it. Also, the platforming just doesn’t make my heart race like the old games. Is that because of poor design or because I know Elika is there to save my indifferent ass? Impossible to say.

The flow of the game is simple and too repetitive. You travel to a new area, beat ONE enemy, restore the land, collect Light Seeds in that area, rinse and repeat. Once you have enough Light Seeds, you use them to get a new power plate, which allows you to reach new areas so you can do it all again. No new weapons, combos or anything, just a different colored plate that allows you to get somewhere new. It doesn’t do much for me, as I have to force myself along.

popOne word about the voice acting: it’s fantastic, but they use the same actor for the Prince as was used for Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. The guy is terrific, but since Drake was a new character and I really associate his voice with Drake, having the Prince’s voice acted by the same guy is a little off putting. Makes me want to play Uncharted more than anything else.

It’s funny that when I started writing this review, I planned on giving the game a B-, but after writing it and looking back over my experiences playing it, I can’t justify that kind of score.

Is the Prince of Persia a fun game? Yes, for a while until the blemishes are all you can think about. I liked it, but I really feel like it is a step backwards for the series. Other than the graphics, there is nothing here that is done better than was done on the previous generation, which is a shame because the Prince deserves so much better. And so do we.

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Written by

Age: 34 PSN ID: Starkiller81. I've played games since before I can remember, starting with my dad's Atari and I haven't stopped yet. Keep them coming and I will keep playing them.

21 thoughts on “Review: Prince of Persia”

  1. Ya it sounds like its been made a little too flashy and didn’t make gameplay and story a big enough objective.

  2. I really like the bold lines in this game. It really makes the world feel mystic and different.
    And the gameplay is jus pure awesomeness. The combination of actions are very cool.

    btw, has anyone played one of the original “Rayman” games? It feels like PoP is a human version of rayman. Kind of…

  3. Heyyy nice review Anthony I never really followed the Prince of Persia series but this is intresting nonetheless
    Merry Christmas ,Xmas ,Hanukua , Solstice and Quanza

  4. Ooh, nice review Anthony. I’ve been dying to get my hands on this game myself, and now that I’ve read your review, I’m really glad I didn’t ask for it for Christmas. Turning platforming into a QTE is just a turn-off, majorly.

  5. [quote comment=”3149″]Awww I thought it was going to be better than ever! Oh well that’s Ubisoft for you.[/quote]

    That’s actually a great point. I can’t think of a company lately with a bigger track record for flubbing on games that SHOULD be great. Far Cry 2, Assassin’s Creed and the last Splinter Cell are just a few recent ones that come to mind.

  6. Assassin’s Creed was so blah!

    This game is worth a rental, but nothing more. Worth trying out, some may like it, but not up to the high standards the series has previously set.

  7. Yeah, Sands of Time was one of – if not THE – best platformers, evarrr. The thing that really makes Prince of Persia (not to be confused with The Prince of Persia) so…wrong is that the Prince sounds like a guy who is carefree and modern. He doesn’t fit the time and he’s not as cool as perhaps a badass Prince. HE’S NOT EVEN A PRINCE. So the story is pretty pathetic, and usually I’d say “but at least the gameplay is good” – but that’s the thing: the gameplay is TOO easy, TOO tedious and repetitive. It’s worse than Assassin’s Creed.

    By the way, despite Assassin’s Creed’s repetitiveness, it was still fun to assassinate the dudes. Maybe if Valve made Assassin’s Creed it’d be better. Because Valve hires gods.

  8. Methinks I should have aske for a different game for Christmas…

    Oh well, I’ll just have to try to enjoy it. Having never played Sands of Time, maybe my expectations are set just right for the new PoP.

  9. [quote comment=”3150″][quote comment=”3149″]Awww I thought it was going to be better than ever! Oh well that’s Ubisoft for you.[/quote]

    That’s actually a great point. I can’t think of a company lately with a bigger track record for flubbing on games that SHOULD be great. Far Cry 2, Assassin’s Creed and the last Splinter Cell are just a few recent ones that come to mind.[/quote]
    I think their problem is the hype. Assasians Creed and Far Cry (in my opinion) were great games but didn’t do EXACTLY what Ubi promised 🙁

  10. I thought it was too short and hated that you couldn’t skip cutscenes. I always watch things the 1st time, but on my 2nd run I just play and watch maybe some of them. I liked the gameplay though even if it got a little repettitive.

  11. Yeah, while I agree that AC was kind of a letdown in some ways, I think it was better than some of the press lead on to believe. Assassinating the targets was neat, and I actually liked the story.

  12. I liked the Idea of assasins creed and in some places of it i had fun but i was realy repettitive, so much so i took a 2 day break befire coming back and finishing it but for the combat system i was impresed.

  13. I’d like to offer a second opinion on this, after having played through most of it. While I see why some people would say this game is too easy, I still enjoyed the gameplay immensely, and the world is absolutely gorgeous. Probably one of the most beautiful looking games I’ve ever played.

    However, because of the open world design, you pretty much experience all there is to experience in the first hour or two of the game. And then you repeat it over and over again. Granted, it’s fun gameplay, but there really isn’t much to see or do after that initial few hours. I’d give this game a solid B- if I had reviewed it.

  14. Sorry, Eddy, but second opinions are just not allowed. In fact, first opinions are hereby banned as well. So no one gets a say now. Happy?

    j/k, yeah I was tossing back and forth on this one, but like I said, once I looked back at what I wrote, I could not justify that myself.

    Glad you enjoyed it though. Did it make you want to play Sands of Time?

  15. Sorry, I got this game for Christmas, and I want to throw my hat into the opinion ring.

    For starters, I agree that the world of Prince of Persia is beautiful. Gorgeous, even. For me, the best moments of the game are when you heal the Fertile Grounds, breaking the oppressive shadows that hide the splendor underneath. When I’m standing at the top of a high tower as the sun beats down on me and the epic music sweeps in, I really feel like I’m doing some good in this world.

    Then, I talk to Elika, and the Prince’s nebulous American accent takes me out of the moment. Don’t get me wrong, the voice-acting is quite good, and the writing is solid, if a bit groan-worthy at times. I just expected the Prince to be a bit more…ethnic, for lack of a better term.

    Combat also gets a bit samey after a while. Block, block, block, repeat ad-nauseum until you can squeeze in a combo. Honestly, I got a bit tired of waiting for an opening to get my sword in there. If I’m lucky, I can force my enemy against a wall or over a cliff, and end the fight quickly.

    A solid game, Prince of Persia has the glimmer of a really excellent title lurking underneath all the repetitiveness. Running around dressed like Altair added some amusing novelty to it, though.

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