The Prince of Persia franchise has always been an exception to my desert rule. I typically do not like adventures in any form of media that take place in the olden times or in a desert. This game manages to accomplish both while still being a very good game and that takes a lot of skill. I’d say that the film is what got me into the franchise and then I quickly went and bought most of the games in the series. Currently, this is my favorite installment and it even passes the other PS3 title. (Forgotten Sands)
The plot involves a guy who has lost his donkey in a sandstorm. We don’t see the Donkey for the rest of the game so it’s safe to assume that it decided to go to New York. The hero then notices that a few guy are trying to attack a lady so he steps in. Her name is Elika and she needs to cleanse all of the lands. Unfortunately, her father has succumbed to the powers of darkness and all of the legendary villains have been awakened. Our hero must now go on his greatest adventure yet and save the planet!
Pretty safe plot and it’s good enough for me. Who doesn’t like a plot where the Earth is going into darkness and must be purged? It’s not super original, but it makes for a good formula. Naturally, the gameplay determines how well that will work out. During the platforming part, it’s a little bit like Mario. You run and jump through and place and Elika can give you a double jump in a sense. The gameplay is not quite as smooth as Mario and you’ll likely fall a few times due to unresponsive controls. You can temporarily run on walls and use grass to climb along them. You don’t have to worry about falling because Elika will make sure to save you.
Yes…you can’t really die in this game. If you get hit enough to the point where you get a red warning, then you have a chance of dying. I believe that it may have happened to be once, but I can’t really verify that. Aside from that instant, it’s extremely hard to die even if you end up throwing the fights. You can jump into an endless abyss for eternity and Elika will keep on saving you.
The Combat Gameplay is definitely my favorite part of the game and it’s what makes the title so enjoyable. You’re basically fighting in Dynasty Warriors mixed with Spiderman style. You can use slashing attacks, athletic maneuvers, or classic grabbing. Elika will also help you by charging into the opponent with her blue energy abilities. You can link these attacks to hit the opponent as many as 14 times in one combo. Mastering each of them is fun (and necessary for a trophy) and the gameplay never gets tiring.
The only problem with the fighting is that it is way too easy. The first boss is pretty much as simple as the final one. The final boss is a bit of a joke because you can beat him with ease. If anything, you just don’t want to beat him too quickly if you’re trying to get a 14 hit combo on him. This is a game that could have greatly benefited from an online vs mode. Testing your mettle against other players is always good and it would have been especially fun in this game.
The Main Character never really gets a name. Mostly, people refer to him as the Prince (Prince of Persia…it all makes sense now) but it doesn’t really matter as far as this review is concerned. He’s not one of the more likable main characters. He spends a lot of time flirting and he should concentrate more on the fight. I did like his decision at the end, which gained back some respect from me. He’s definitely a good fighter and that’s always a plus.
Elika is around for the entire game as well and she doesn’t always get along with the main character. I can’t say that I was really a fan of hers as well. She could get pretty irritated at the main character for no real reason at times. Her abilities are great, but she put too much faith in Ormadz all the time.
The King isn’t very likable either. He turns evil without really having a good reason. He’s also not very powerful and even after his super forms…he’s not much of a threat. The main character is still more than a match for him and that’s a little embarrassing for the King. So much for the power of darkness eh?
There are 4 main minions of Ahriman. The Warrior, The Hunter, The Concubine, and the Alchemist. The Concubine is really the only one that talks a lot. The Alchemist may have spoken, but I do not remember if he did or not. The Hunter and The Warrior were silent. I didn’t care for the Warrior. He struck me as a jungle fighter and he wasn’t very powerful. Quick, but that’s about it. I didn’t care for the Concubine and she wasn’t a terrific fighter. Usually she would just try to get Elika out of the picture so that she could win. The Alchemist was all right, but he didn’t really have any character so it’s hard to know if I’d really like him. The Warrior had the best design from the group, but that’s about it.
Graphically, this game is pretty underwhelming. The animations aren’t really fun to look at. The character designs are pretty good for the villains, but the graphics don’t really help their cause. I’m not saying that this game looks as if it were on the PS2, but it’s just not very good. It’s possibly because they were trying to get the game to look old or gritty, but it didn’t work for me. Give me Mario 3D World anytime!
Unfortunately, the soundtrack isn’t very good. I can’t really say that I liked any of the themes. The boss themes were uninspired and the stage music begins to get old as you listen to it for the 50th time. Considering how great the soundtrack was in Warrior Within and other Prince of Persia titles, this was a little disappointing. It’s not a terrible soundtrack, but it’s definitely one of the weaker ones that I’ve heard in a while.
The trophies in this game are definitely reasonable and none of them are insanely hard. I should know since this is one of the select games where I achieved the Platinum. It shouldn’t take you too long and one playthrough could be all you need for all of the trophies if you play your cards right. I ended up using 2 playthroughs with a few stages in the third one to get them all. Trophies are always an incentive and they can make a great game even better by adding that extra boost or replay value.
One extra negative that should be mentioned is the fact that you can’t skip cutscenes. That can be very frustrating when you have to start a new playthrough since the cutscenes are numerous and they can be very long. You should always have the option to skip cutscenes in a video game and I never like it when games stop you from doing this. It’s not large enough to take points away from the game, but it should definitely be noted. I suppose that the game would be pretty short without the cutscenes, but that’s no excuse.
I have to say that the ending to the game is awesome! More games should end like this and it was a good move on the main character’s part. It may be a little controversial, but I believe that he made the right move. The ending is almost worth getting the game for. It’s just that good and it’s definitely one of the best endings for a video game. If only a Mario game could utilize this ending…it would be one of the best Mario games out there! This game got a sequel…in a sense. I own it for the DS and it’s in the same continuity. I should probably go back to beat it someday….someday.
Overall, this is a pretty fun action game. It’s a mix of platforming and cool sword action which is great. The combat is definitely the best part about it since the soundtrack, character cast, and graphics aren’t the best. Sometimes, the gameplay is all you need to be a great game. I highly recommend checking this game out and it’s at a very low price right now. I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy such an epic adventure!