Prince of Persia makes the jump to next-gen with a re-imagining of the franchise. There are no Sands of Time here, and instead there is a new Prince and a new world to explore all wrapped up in some of the most gorgeous and unique looking graphics we’ve seen in a long time. Every aspect of the game has been polished to a high shine, and Prince of Persia is truly one of the best games of the year. Find out more right here.
- Title: Prince of Persia
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
- ESRB Rating: “T” For Teen
- Genre: Platforming
- Pros: Gorgeous graphics; great music; accessible gameplay; Elika is a great addition
- Cons: A bit on the easy side; storytelling style isn’t optimal
Prince of Persia is a completely new story with new characters, so experience with the previous trilogy is unnecessary. In this new game, the Prince is accompanied by a Princess named Elika, and together they must travel throughout the kingdom to heal magical lands called fertile grounds in order to contain the evil god of darkness, Ahriman.
The Sands of Time aren’t present in this new world, and instead Elika takes on that role. She has magical powers that will save you from a missed jump, protect you if you fall in battle, help you cross wide chasms by giving you an extra boost, and more. Clearly, this is not a glorified escort mission where you have to save the frail Princess all of the time. In fact, she is the one saving you, which is a nice change.
The storytelling style is also unique in PoP. Occasionally there will be a cutscene showing what is going on, but to really dig into the story you have to press a button while you are exploring to talk to Elika. The conversations that you have are actually rather interesting and really flesh out the world. Because these conversations are optional, however, not everyone is going to get the full extent of the story and fully understand the characters. My advice: Talk to Elika as much as possible.
The gameplay is fairly similar to the previous PoP games. You are still climbing around on walls, swinging from poles, and scrambling along cliff faces trying to get from point A to point B. The controls are very simple, and every move smoothly transitions to the next. It is a beautiful game in motion, and really makes you feel like a badass explorer when everything goes right. When things don’t go right, however, Elika is there to save you. Really, she makes everything pretty darn easy since you literally can never die, but that is far from a bad thing. It lets you focus on the pure gameplay rather than worrying about managing time powers, which keeps the game running along at a very fast and satisfying pace. Also, when you fall she sets you back on the last solid ground you were standing on, which means you are only ever back 10-20 seconds from when you fell rather than many minutes of gameplay. Even if you fail a section a few times in a row, you never get too frustrated because you always restart very close to that section.
The other element of the gameplay is combat, but there is considerably less of it than previous PoP games. You really only ever fight boss characters and occasionally an enemy or two while you are exploring a level. This gives the fights a more epic and important feel and also places the focus on the platforming rather than fighting, which I appreciate. You can string together combos of sword strikes, grabs, and even magical attacks from Elika to defeat enemies, and it is all very slick looking.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically, Prince of Persia is one of the best looking games on the Xbox 360. It uses a cel-shading style called “Illustrative” that makes the game honestly look like you are playing an animated piece of art. It honestly looks like concept art brought to life. It is completely unique and beautiful. The animation is also very, very good for both the Prince and Elika, and little touches like Elika holding onto the Prince’s back as he climbs across vines or the Prince helping Elika down from a ledge make all of the difference here. This game is simply amazing looking.
The sound is also very good throughout. The music is absolutely perfect. The voice acting will throw you a bit at first, as the Prince’s voice doesn’t seem to fit, but you get used to it. He’s a very American sounding Prince of Persia. So what? Elika is the real star here anyway, and the real focus of the story, and her voice is right on.
In the end, Prince of Persia is one of the most impressive games to come out on the Xbox 360 this year. It looks and sounds fantastic, tells a fascinating story, and plays amazingly well. Every single aspect of the game is polished to near perfection. It is one of those games that from the moment you boot it up you know you are in for something special just judging by how much care and detail went into little things like the menus and opening sequence. Prince of Persia is a must play experience and I highly recommend it.