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Posted by Chocobodude3
@haggis: Yeah it is a 3 star game
Posted by Vinny_Says
@HandsomeDead: your writing is most excellent but this game gave me 100G for free so I forgive it.
Posted by HandsomeDuder

lulzy

Posted by gunslingerNZ
@Meowayne: Oh wow somebody had the exact same reaction!
Posted by gunslingerNZ

I stopped reading after you called Jak and Daxter "fucking terrible" what a shitty blog.

Posted by haggis
@Tuffgong: Yeah, I had the same reaction. But I kept reading. For a bit. Not the whole wall of text, of course.
 
Anyone who thinks Prince of Persia is the worst game ever made needs to get out more. It was a perfectly fine game that had a lot of problems. Sands of Time was a good game, and its sequels paled in comparison. I don't think too many people would disagree with that assessment, but the idea that somehow it is therefore the worst game ever? Sorry, no. I mean, the very idea is laughable. What I am tired of is people who either love a game or think it is complete shit. There's no medium with some people. You know, it is possible to like and enjoy a game even if it has a list of problems as long as your arm. The last Prince of Persia game was just like that: it was entertaining, but certainly not a great game. Neither was it complete crap.
Posted by Griddler
@Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Yup, I'll get the lights.
Posted by skidd

I thought the game was visually stunning, and was probably my favourite part of the game really. As for the whole 'Can't die' thing, it really wasn't an issue for me - the way I see it is it just reduced loading screens, where you'd normally choose to continue etc. Instead, you just continued straight away.  
Certainly not the worst game ever, it doesn't come close.

Edited by SeriouslyNow
@niamahai:   I see your point and no, I don' think that PoP 2008 will be remembered as anything more than a nice diversion from the Prince's story in years to come.  It is not a Blade Runner in any way at all.  Blade Runner went against current trends of the day by being an extremely thoughtful science fiction movie which gave no definitive answers, not for the protagonist and nor for any of the main players.  All of them were certainly playing out well known roles but not one of their characterisations fit with current day archetypes and the same was true of the story itself.   
 
Prince of Persia 2008 quite clearly fits with a trend of game simplification which has been growing since recent times as console game developers seek to bring the console market to critical mass, which involves dumbed down mechanics (COD4 vs MW2 being 'not balanced for lean' among many other examples) and lowered consequences (you can't fall off and die in PoP, regenerating shields/health in many modern games). (I haven't played Splinter Cell : Conviction, so I can't comment on that game.) Yes, PoP 2008 has nice art direction and yes, it does have some innovations but not it's not a particularly good or clever game and it definitely isn't a Prince of Persia game in anything more than name.  It makes me think that the game it once was before being adopted to the PoP story was something else entirely in setting because it doesn't even marginally play like a real Prince of Persia game in the modern context.  
 
Oh and the dude talking about PoP 3D obviously doesn't remember the Dreamcast days when many games including Earthworm Jim were given 3D slants which didn't often work out.  In those days it was the Japanese Development teams who were successfully innovating and refreshing franchises with 3D while most of the American and European devs were attempting to do the same with little success.  The few Euro devs who were exceptions were people like Traveller's Tales, Bizarre Creations and some other whose names excape me right now.  While the American devs who were doing well were generally concentrating on modernising their sports franchises and otherwise being involved in localising Japanese titles.
Posted by niamahai
@jonnyboy said:
" I rented it. It was worth it. To be honest whether you think they pulled it off or not, you have to give Ubisoft a hand for at least trying something a bit different. Not hard granted, but fun. Also I thought visually, it was gorgeous. "
Brace for this exact topic again but this time with Splinter Cell : Conviction. "oh noes i can't carry bodies!"
Posted by jonnyboy

I rented it. It was worth it. To be honest whether you think they pulled it off or not, you have to give Ubisoft a hand for at least trying something a bit different.
 
Not hard granted, but fun. Also I thought visually, it was gorgeous.

Posted by Landon
@wolf_blitzer85 said:
" @triple07 said:
" @thebeanemachine said:
" @lead_farmer said:
" @Kyle said:
" @OllyOxenFree said:
" @Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Wait for me! "
Last one out, hit the lights. "
Glad this isn't an elevator. "Flick" "
Who turned out the lights! I can't find the door!  *hyperventilates* "
Don't leave me! "
Someone dropped their keys... "
Why were we hanging out in here anyway? *leaves*
Posted by wolf_blitzer85
@triple07 said:
" @thebeanemachine said:
" @lead_farmer said:
" @Kyle said:
" @OllyOxenFree said:
" @Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Wait for me! "
Last one out, hit the lights. "
Glad this isn't an elevator. "Flick" "
Who turned out the lights! I can't find the door!  *hyperventilates* "
Don't leave me! "
Someone dropped their keys...
Posted by triple07
@thebeanemachine said:
" @lead_farmer said:
" @Kyle said:
" @OllyOxenFree said:
" @Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Wait for me! "
Last one out, hit the lights. "
Glad this isn't an elevator. "Flick" "
Who turned out the lights! I can't find the door!  *hyperventilates* "
Don't leave me!
Posted by LiquidPrince

I disrespectfully disagree.

Posted by Quacktastic

I don't like the game at all, but I thought the look of the game was appealing.  The flaws are it's non-linear design hampering whatever story there was to be told, and padding out length using orb collection and boss repetition.  I don't really like the Guitar Hero QTE play style or the forced love interest stuff but I thought Sands of Time did the same things.
 
Why does everyone bring up "You can't die." as a negative for this game?  What's the difference between falling down a pit and respawning on the ledge, and falling down a pit and having a plot device put you back on the ledge?  As little as I like this game, I think designers catch way too much flak for that.

Posted by TheBeaneMachine
@lead_farmer said:
" @Kyle said:
" @OllyOxenFree said:
" @Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Wait for me! "
Last one out, hit the lights. "
Glad this isn't an elevator. "Flick" "
Who turned out the lights! I can't find the door!  *hyperventilates*
Posted by StillVictor
@niamahai:  Well, I bet that doesn't look as good as it sounded in your mind...
 
Seriously though, the change in mood at the end of the game was great. It was something that rarely happens in games for me.
Posted by oldschool
@Meowayne said:
"

  Jak and Daxter was fucking terrible 

Anyone else stopped reading there? "
I just read the comments only - just for the lolz  :/
Posted by Veektarius
@Dtat said:
" I liked it. "
Posted by niamahai
@StillVictor said:
" Well, I played the Sands of Time, the Warrior Within (clearly the weakest link), skipped the next one and then played the Xbox 360 Prince of Persia. I enjoyed the Sands of Time, but for me it wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, as some people seem to think.  I loved the Xbox 360 one. It was my favorite by far. I really liked the story, the dialogue between the prince - does it ever say he is actually a prince? - and Elika was pretty clever.  The ending was awesome. I actually felt tense when I went back and break the trees, asking myself, 'is this really happening?'  I really hope they continue that story down the line.  "
I was more interested about his relationship with "Farrah" the donkey.
Posted by Meowayne

  Jak and Daxter was fucking terrible 

Anyone else stopped reading there?
Posted by StillVictor

Well, I played the Sands of Time, the Warrior Within (clearly the weakest link), skipped the next one and then played the Xbox 360 Prince of Persia. I enjoyed the Sands of Time, but for me it wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, as some people seem to think.
 
I loved the Xbox 360 one. It was my favorite by far. I really liked the story, the dialogue between the prince - does it ever say he is actually a prince? - and Elika was pretty clever.
 
The ending was awesome. I actually felt tense when I went back and break the trees, asking myself, 'is this really happening?'
 
I really hope they continue that story down the line. 

Posted by mazik765

tl;dr
 
I totally and utterly disagree with you.

Posted by lead_farmer
@Kyle said:
" @OllyOxenFree said:
" @Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Wait for me! "
Last one out, hit the lights. "
Glad this isn't an elevator. "Flick"
Posted by niamahai
@SeriouslyNow said:

" @niamahai said:

" YOU NO TALK BAD BOUT ELIKA111!!!!1  And about the ending? It's ballsy.  Most games end with "To be continued...", this one breaks the mold. It tells the players "Fuck You,"   This is the Blade Runner of the 2000. Mark my words. Come 2030, people will be praising it. "
Wat?  Blade Runner didn't have a missing ending. It had one ending with three slightly different interpretations, depending on the release watched; Original, Director's Cut and Final Cut.  All three interpretations still end the same way with Deckard and Rachael leaving the city, it's just that whether or not Deckard is a replicant or not is left up to audience in two of the interpretations and defined more strongly in one of them.  God, I'm sick of apologists using the word ballsy when something is actually just shit and funnily enough, that's been in the same in two cases of Ubisoft products discussed on these forums; this game and their new (already cracked) must-be-online-at-all-times DRM which they launched with the new PC versions of Silent Hunter and Assassin's Creed II.  By god, Assassin's Creed II is an ugly game on the PC compared to Assassin's Creed. "
Wasn't comparing Blade Runner's ending to PoP '08 ending.
Wasn't Blade Runner a box office failure when it was released because people "didn't get it", And 20 years later after rereleased VHS, DVD, Blu ray it's considering as cinematic masterpiece?
 
 
As for the PC, I'm glad that it's no longer dictating the pace of game development.
 
ALSO
 
You no liek Ubi's DRM you no bai Ubi game. You no maek angry poast. Oh wait, this is internet forum! Anything goes!
 
p.s:
I'm an apologist and Ubisoft is my favorite company. IN THE WORLD.  And yes, you may critisize my horrible taste. 
 
 
p.p.s
By the way, I am trying to be your friend.
Edited by JJWeatherman

I love the 2008 reboot. I will always love it despite everyone and their brother writing blogs opposing it within the last couple weeks. What is going on with that anyways? Is this lash out against PoP week or something? it's like 2 years after it was released too, these blogs probably should have been written about 2 years ago.

Posted by Soulreaverm

I totally agree about the QTE stuff. Everything else, almost totally disagree. Especially the ending, I thought that was really great. Far more powerful than some generic 'you won, you get the girl!' ending.

Posted by Kyle
@OllyOxenFree said:
" @Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Wait for me! "
Last one out, hit the lights.
Edited by Brackynews

@HD: I'm not sure what the hell your mini bio pic is about, but I'll give 'er anyway...
 
Buddy of mine is a PoP diehard. I mean diehard. We played PoP 3D together... a bit. It sucks way more than anything Ubisoft did. That's word one.
Anyway, I go to him for an honest opinion on all things Mechner(ish), and he liked the 2008 reboot just fine. I've got it sitting on a shelf and will tackle it at some point.. definitely before I go back to put an achievement-less effort into Two Thrones or Warrior Within!  I do feel that Sands of Time is the pinnacle of the series' storytelling and gameplay.
 
When the reboot came out I made a blog post regarding games becoming Too Damn Easy, mainly based off another guy's theory on the matter about Penalty Free Learning and how PoP was the most innovative game of 2008.  I played a bit of devil's (Ahriman's?) advocate, and most of the comments (all well worth reading through, BTW) came back that it's okay for a gaming experience to be scripted entertainment, without really needing to break ground or even waste the player's time with traditional penalties like checkpoint resets.  Sure the story is vapid, but so was the original.  It's a tale. A yarn. A storybook you can sit through and participate in, without needing to become frustrated by all the buttons.  If you choose to be frustrated by how easy it is, maybe you should consider that you're not always the target audience. Don't be an Ebert.
 
I sort of see the 2008 PoP as widespread acceptance of the quicktime event and guided storytelling. Dragon's Lair was cool and all, but now you do in fact have direct control of your character, without all that pesky sailor hunting.  And the orbs? I mean, do you gotta catch 'em all? Not really. It's just there.  Best thing, Darksiders, one of the most loving homages to previous generations of adventure gaming in this generation, ripped elements right from it. Arm Claw? Wall movement? Check. Others I'm sure, but I need to play more of both.  
 
I'm really curious to see what the Game-Movie-Game turns out to be like, because I think with the 2008 PoP, Ubisoft managed to distill the "movie experience" into a playable game more efficiently than most attempts. I say efficient and not "better" or "successful", because that's where our opinions come in. Is that the experience each of us wants attached to the PoP name?  With Forgotten Sands, it's so close to the release of a film there's no illusion about why the game is being made, but it really has the opportunity to surprise us.
 
Anyway, some interesting counterpoints to a game that was in fact successful and well received, but I think you're trying to compare it to game experiences that it simply isn't meant to be compared to. It's an outlier, sure, but it's not bad gaming.

Posted by xyzygy

Wow. You dig so, so deep into this game to find these negatives that I don't even think I can take this blog seriously as coming from a gamer. Maybe as am analytical programmer looking to find the cure for cancer through video games, but not as a gamer.  
 
The reason why the world is empty is because... WELL JEEZ, DID YOU NOT NOTICE THE CORRUPTION EVERYWHERE? That's like asking the NPCs in Prototype to go about their daily lives, getting groceries, going for a run, while there are infectious zombies and the military warring maybe 5 feet away from them. OH WAIT, those NPCs actually do that!!! I'm glad there are no NPCs because the world is practically ruined when you start. You need to save it. It makes sense.
 
Comparing it to Heavy Rain is just ludicrous. I don't even want to go there.  
 
When you free a level a corruption, it's more than just a color change. The whole damn environment changes and you are allowed access to new areas which you previously couldn't go because the corruption was blocking you. 
 
If you actually try to go for the combos, they are extremely satisfying and you really have to know when to hit the buttons. If you are lazy and want to tap X the whole game, go for it. You can do that in probably any other game as well. You have to put effort into things, man. 
 
I realize that this is your opinion but jeez man... if this is the way you look at games when you play them I actually feel sorry for you...

Posted by OllyOxenFree
@Bones8677 said:
" @Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya? "
Wait for me!
Posted by W0lfbl1tzers

From the man who thinks Keanu Reeves is a decent actor.

Posted by EveretteScott
@Dtat said:
" I liked it. "
Posted by SeriouslyNow
@niamahai said:
" YOU NO TALK BAD BOUT ELIKA111!!!!1  And about the ending? It's ballsy.  Most games end with "To be continued...", this one breaks the mold. It tells the players "Fuck You,"   This is the Blade Runner of the 2000. Mark my words. Come 2030, people will be praising it. "
Wat?  Blade Runner didn't have a missing ending. It had one ending with three slightly different interpretations, depending on the release watched; Original, Director's Cut and Final Cut.  All three interpretations still end the same way with Deckard and Rachael leaving the city, it's just that whether or not Deckard is a replicant or not is left up to audience in two of the interpretations and defined more strongly in one of them.
 
God, I'm sick of apologists using the word ballsy when something is actually just shit and funnily enough, that's been in the same in two cases of Ubisoft products discussed on these forums; this game and their new (already cracked) must-be-online-at-all-times DRM which they launched with the new PC versions of Silent Hunter and Assassin's Creed II.  By god, Assassin's Creed II is an ugly game on the PC compared to Assassin's Creed.
Posted by AgentJ

I just played Sands of Time (for the first time) about a month ago. It was good, but I wasn't all that impressed. I think you are putting the past on a pedestal.

Posted by Kazona

I kind of skimmed over it, but from the things that I read it sounds like already hated this game before it even came out. 
 
It might not be the SoT prince of persia you wanted, but at least Ubisoft did something different instead of just sticking with what sold best. It wasn't perfect, but in my opinion it was still a good game, with a nice art style. It definitely didn't look like a last gen game. 
 
On some parts I kind of agree with you, but you seem to take your hatred for this game to extremes, which I totally don't agree with.

Posted by niamahai

YOU NO TALK BAD BOUT ELIKA111!!!!1
 
And about the ending? It's ballsy. 
Most games end with "To be continued...", this one breaks the mold. It tells the players "Fuck You," 
 
This is the Blade Runner of the 2000. Mark my words. Come 2030, people will be praising it.

Posted by Dtat

I liked it.
Posted by Bones8677
@Trilogy said:
" @Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you? "
Me too, will ya?
Edited by VanderSEXXX

Well after Sands of Time, Jordan Mechner was barely involved with the others anymore so I guess thats why the 2 others kinda happened. :p

Posted by Trilogy
@Tuffgong said:
" @HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out* "
Hold the door for me will you?
Edited by buzz_clik

Wait, back up the hyperbole truck, son. I think you have to have played every game in the history of ever to make this call. If you think this is the worst game known to man thus far, then you've led a very cushy gaming existence. You're seriously saying that it's worse than this? Or this? Or this?
 
For the record, I really enjoyed Prince of Persia. Best Game Ever? Certainly not, but for me it was a pretty and interesting distraction. I enjoyed how free-flowing it felt, and the fact that there's no real penalty for death. Not every game has to be a hardcore slog, you know. Sometimes it's just fun to play games because they're simple, no-fuss entertainment.
 
I'm fine with you having grievances with the game. Hell, I don't care if you hate it. But attention-grabbing, response-baiting 'worst ever' titles really irk me, especially from someone who seems that they can actually string words together into cohesive (if somewhat lengthy) arguments.

Moderator
Posted by EVO

I like Prince of Persia as much as the next guy, buy you nailed a few points. Although I think you're wrong about the whole QTE thing; I think it plays more like a rhythm game than anything.

Posted by BaconGames
@HandsomeDead said:
"

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games.

That's all I need to see.  *Walks back out*
Posted by Claude

I played Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time having never played the original and loved it but never finished it. After that, I haven't touched one.

Posted by HandsomeDead

All this Prince of Persia talk has got me thinking of way back towards the start of the 21st century when I used to like video games. I got my PS2, I was still fresh off the N64 and craving a new 3D platformer. Jak and Daxter was fucking terrible, Ratchet and Clank was fun but more action-adventure than I wanted and I don’t even remember anything else until late 2003 when not only was I over my interest in platformers thanks to Super Mario Sunshine being one of the most deflating experiences of my life, but I played Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and was blown away.

Sands of Time is one of the few games that gets nearly everything right, from the music to the characters to the general feel of the game, it oozes playability. If you fuck up on a puzzle, you tap R1 and you can give it another shot. If you go too far and can’t, it doesn’t matter, the Prince just says that’s not how it happens and you’re good to go.

Even the combat, which is by far the weakest part of the game is easy enough to run through. I don’t know why the game even needed swordplay but having the springboard ability that could cut near enough anything down to size in a hit so it never got in the way and also left you feeling at least slightly empowered even if the rest of your world is a nightmare.

Starting at such a lofty position, it was obvious that the franchise was always going to turn to shit. As soon as reports of low sales and poor combat rolled in, it was only a matter of time before any semblance of integrity and artistry were to disappear and be replaced by baditude and bullshit. Only a year later, in fact.

I was still naive in 2004. I had Warrior Within pre-ordered. I got it on Christmas Day. I traded it in before the New Year. Warrior Within must have been designed by someone who listens to metal because it’s fucking horrible from top to bottom. Gone is the aloof but funny and personable Prince, instead he’s grizzly, somehow American and swears too, just in case you didn’t know he was meant to be a badass. Gone is Farah, the sexy and smart sidekick. Instead you get two slags who look like they order their clothes from Kink.com and have approximately zero personality between them.

There’s 417 words in this blog so far and I’m still in the preamble but don’t worry, I am getting there.

I think I made the right decision to skip over Two Thrones. After hearing it carries on as a direct sequel to the last game to finish the trilogy, I realised I didn’t give a fuck. There’s only so much you can piss on me and call it rain, but enough about my sex life, this franchise was dead in my eyes. Thankfully. And that’s kind of sad. So, imagine my excitement when a reboot is announced that will take the franchise back to its roots: Mild.

As much as I’m willing to accept a reboot, so far the ratio of bad to good in the PoP scheme of things is 2:1 so I can’t be that hopeful and, Christ, even as a game I was only kind of looking forward to, I wasn’t willing to buy full price and got as a Christmas present meaning I never even had to pay anything for it, I was disappointed. No, worse. It’s definitely a disappointment but it’s the kind you see in the eyes of your mother when you’re now unemployed after going to a private school. It’s that kind of disappointment that means I can say, with a straight face, that Prince of Persia on the Xbox 360 is the worst game ever made.

Before you all start whining and calling out games like Rogue Warrior and Big Rigs, consider he development cycle of Prince of Persia. Ubisoft had a full studio to work with, a large budget and were in no rush to finish the game. Obviously there must have been deadlines but when you play this game, what you get feels complete. The problem is that it’s a complete layer of absolutely nothing and with the resources available, that’s a complete slap in the face to anyone who paid the full £40 or whatever it is in your part of the world to play this and here’s why:


The Awful Characterisation

I love Han Solo and I’ve come to like Nolan North but dropping an All-American rogue into a game like this is entering Richard Gere as Lancelot territory, especially when it’s laid on so thick. Everything he says is snarky backchat that is seldom earned and never funny. From the second you start playing as this guy, he’s a jerk. And not even a good jerk, you get the sense that the developers played Uncharted, liked Nathan Drake and just wanted that without even thinking if it fit their game or not.

Then you meet Elika who’s obviously set up as the hate-at-first-sight love interest but as the game progresses, you never get a reason to like her. One minute, she’ll be giving a sob story then next, she’ll be the feisty ‘strong woman’ archetype and it just reeks of lazy writing. Making you stand still and press the R Trigger to get exposition is bad enough but when it’s hack writing that can be accessed in any order, it really grates. Also, if I remember correctly, one time she told me about how her mother had died somehow and in the very next zone, either she cracked a joke about The Prince’s mother or vice versa and all it did was emphasize how disjointed and gamey the whole thing is.

I’m sure the heads at Ubisoft believed that the rat-a-tat dialogue was meant to generate chemistry but by the time I got to the ending, I thought The Prince was still a dickhead and Elika was a fool for putting up with him, but more about the ending at the end. Apt.

Besides that double act, you’ve got the stock evil father/king character and the final boss of the world, Ahriman, who’s evil. You know, because. Working for these guys are the four underbosses who, for characters that don’t have much personality, all have remarkably elaborate backstories. Much like The Beauty and The Beast Unit from MGS4, you hear a lot about what these monsters were and how they got this way in exposition scenes but in the battle themselves, it means nothing. The Warrior is a brick shithouse who you have to beat in the same way as you beat all powerhouse bosses, the fact he was once a king and took a deal with Ahriman has absolutely nothing to do with his level or his fight. It feels incredibly tacked on.


The Empty Sandbox

True story: When I first played Prince of Persia, I ran into the far right world and started going and going and going and going and going and then I came out the left side and felt incredibly confused. Turns out what I thought was the easy opening stage was actually the full game.

As trendy as it is to let the player go where they want, when they want, in a game like this all it does is keep everything even. You can’t spring late game stuff on the player if they’re not expecting it and it’s always possible the player could do the opening level at the end causing a flat finish. This leaves every area of the game being identical to the next in all but colour palette and magic runes, completely defeating point of an open world and almost making it feel even more arbitrarily segmented than the typical platformer.


The Fucking Orbs

As much as I didn’t enjoy Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, a different blog for a different time, the opening section where you ran in a straight line to collect pointless trinkets is the perfect parody of the arbitrary orb collection mechanic that Prince of Persia is based on. Aware that the game offered no challenge or interesting gameplay, it seems the designers went to the oldest trick in the book and filled the world in Light Seeds which you have to collect to progress. 

When I say filled, I probably should have said coated or smothered because for every step you take, there is an orb to find. If you stop and look out into the horizon of any level, it looks like Christmas has come early as the orbs defy draw distance and litter the landscape with no rhyme or reason. They are everywhere. If you need to make a jump. you’ll jump through one, if you need to wall run, you’ll run through a million of them, if Elika needs to fly somewhere, she’ll fly through a chain of them conveniently placed in a spiral in the sky.

A glance at the achievements points out there’s 1001 to pick up in a game which is divided into 4 modestly sized segments. Even in the collect ‘em up heyday of the late 90s, 100 was the limit so having two and a half times this amount bumbling around is fucking obscene.


The Tap X to Win Gameplay

For three full games, the combat in the Prince of Persia franchise was shit at worst and like a bad Devil May Cry at best so a reboot really should have either overhauled the mechanics completely or had the stones to take it out, after all, judging by the art style, they weren’t going for gnarly metal anymore and at least look like they were going for a more fairy tale experience which is bound to be a softer experience unless you're a Tim Burton apologist.

What we ended up with here is the bad parts of every previous game brewed into one horrific system. A huge combat system that went on 10 hits longer than an enemy health bar, that is assuming you didn’t accidentally knock them near the edge of the level where the tap X mingame kicks in. Whoever designed this needs to die. It works when revving a chainsaw but not when you’re getting ready to This is Sparta another one of the respawning enemies off a ledge. That’s right. You kill a guy and another appears, ready for you to ice in 20 seconds with a guaranteed kill animation.

Not shoehorned and unsatisfying enough for you? Just wait till the boss battles. Each one revolves around removal of one aspect of The Prince’s move set. Kind of like those guys at the end of BioShock that you couldn’t shock anymore because of something. The Concubine provides the best example of the boss battles where you spend a few minutes tapping Y to get to the arena where the battle begins and you’re locked into awkwardly sidling towards the boss with no fluidity waiting to trigger a QTE in order to do a bit of damage. After a while, she disappears and you have to do more Y and A tapping to reach the next arena. I’m sure this was meant to be for dramatic effect, but it feels so linear, drawn out and pointless that it perfectly matches the tone of the rest of the game.


The 'No Risk, No Reward' Mechanics

With a several indistinct cliches all wrapped into one excuse of a personality, it makes sense that Elika’s magic powers follow the same formula. She might be trying to convince you she’s a damsel in distress but she can fly all over the place and throw you over double jumps. Though, she conveniently can’t attack an enemy if she’s a pixel or two out of range. The one that’s the most gamey however occurs if The Prince is careless enough to jump into the abyss, which is far harder than it sounds, or die in battle, which is borderline impossible, Elika brings you back in an instant with no penalty to the player or herself. 

In Sands of Time, there’s at least a screen and a reload process to go through which is accompanied by some meta narration that at least makes it interesting. Here, it almost makes you a God. A God because you’re a fucking retard. The Lawnmower Man. If there’s no punishment for dying, where’s the incentive to get better? Being a game that’s accessible to everyone is great if you’re a mini game collection but in an adventure you play for 4+ hours, all this does is humour the lowballers and infuriate anyone who’s played a game before.

The removing of the corruption is probably the closest you get to some kind of real forward momentum but a level changing colour once you beat the boss doesn’t exactly get my on my feet. Especially knowing that once you’ve beaten said boss, there’s nothing else to do other than high tail it back to the hub world.


The Full Game's Worth of QTE

In a world where people are actively complaining about Heavy Rain not being a video game, it’s bizarre that no one said a word about Prince of Persia anti-gameplay mechanics. It seems that unless it expressly comes up on the screen every time to ‘Press B’, a lot of people can’t tell that they’re just doing QTE. Think about it. With the rings on the wall, all you had to do was press B and the game did it for you. You run to an edge, press A and the game will home in and take you to where you need to go. There’s less skill involved than a typical Wii game and Heavy Rain combined but because it’s tarted up, no one seems to mind.

This is all before you reach those coloured pads that have another embarrassingly convenient backstory. Any time there’s a tower or something interesting in the game’s Eastern Bloc bland architecture, these pads appear and with the tap of a button, you sometimes literally fly to the top. In the other sections, the QTE is hidden but here, it’s plain as day. Press the yellow Y button when you reach the yellow pad. How did anyone think that would be a good gameplay mechanic in a game where you’re essentially meant to be a gymnast?

Sands of Time wasn’t exactly Demon’s Souls but there was at least a part of playing where it felt like you were actually playing and got something out of it. Here, the game plays itself and at that point, why even play?


The Coldly Calculated Art Style

I could let this slide. After all, the game looks alright. Not great, not good, but alright. As with the rest of the game, it feels soulless through sheer tonal inconsistency. First off, the game is called Prince of Persia. We’ve already discovered that the guy isn’t exactly a Prince and now we’re in a land that looks nothing like Persia. Might sound petty but if you took this art style and put it in Batman: Arkham Asylum under the excuse that it’s a reboot so it doesn’t matter that it looks nothing like the grizzly streets of Gotham, it wouldn’t be OK.

So you tell me it’s a storybook. Great excuse. While the hand drawn effect looked great in Okami, here it makes levels look last gen. The levels are both completely empty and boxed into tedium. Where a normal game would have textures that give the levels life, here you’ve basically got bare geometry. I feel almost like I’m a tetragrammaton cleric giving this kind of analysis but in a game where there is nothing to do besides follow the trail from A to B, you notice. It feels like someone forgot this was meant to be interactive.

Also, if it’s a storybook, why is the story nothing like a fairytale? With Nolan North channeling Chandler Bing and Elika just being sad, I mean thoughtful, I mean heroic, I mean strong, I mean a love interest, I mean fractions of all these things wrapped in a story that literally goes round in a (semi-)circle, it’s a jarring juxtaposition but hey, it looks nice, right? People will pay money for that.

 

The Retard finish

I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you know what happened at the end of Prince of Persia but if not, here’s what happens. After hours of collecting orbs, tapping X, listening to exposition and collecting orbs, you finally get up to the big bad who’s been trying to destroy the world and, like the rest of the game, he’s a push over and everything is fine but whatever, Elika dies. Seems the Okami revitialisation ripoff she’s been doing through out the game has finally killed her. Notice how she wasn’t getting weaker in the zones or during play but in one fell swoop, R.I.P. Working on the assumption that he can even revive her, you now have to go and cut down those 4 lovely trees and then the one inside the temple to bring her back to life.

First and foremost, look at the balance of this. It’s literally Elika vs. The World. Elika’s life vs. millions and millions of people who are either going to die in a horrible fashion, get absorbed into the Persian nu-metal band The Corruption or live under the tyranny of Ahriman. Why would Nolan North do this? He’s known this girl for either 12 or so hours worth of arduous playthrough or, let’s be generous, a day or two of in-universe time.

For this amount of time, they’ve ran around, collected orbs, fought monsters, collected orbs and she’s saved him from dying numerous times. From this first date, how has The Prince decided she’s worth saving? Maybe he’s heard her tell him a few stories about her life before her world got shitsmeared but is that worth the universe? For a guy who’s meant to live like a loner, fight like a professional and love like there’s no tomorrow, he falls head over heels for this girl pretty quick and with absolutely no justification. He didn’t even get a handjob.

Balancing the inter-character relationships with the more genuine relationships of those characters and the player is something that has seldom been done right. The only time I can remember it working was in Metal Gear Solid 2 where Raiden felt he was unworthy and had as much desire to be Solid Snake as you did. With most gamers believing a 'subtext' to be what appears on the bottom of the screen when an NPC is talking, don’t be surprised if you didn’t get it and thought Raiden was gay.

I understand that I, as a rational non-Japanese shut in, am not going to fall in love with Elika but I’m at least meant to believe that The Prince did. I don’t give a shit about Alyx but I see why she gives a shit about Gordon and that’s why it works so well.

The worst part of all this is that once Elika is conscious, the game ends. We see Ahriman fly away ready to go wreck innocents somewhere else, The Prince just walks off with her in his arms and an achievement pops up saying ‘To Be Continued...’ which sounds a lot like code for ‘Play the sequel in 2011.’ While a lot of games end on cliffhangers, something which is never good, at least they’re actual cliffhangers. Here, I can’t see where the series could go. Ahriman terrorizes another sparsely populated desert, Elika is back awake with a new gimmick to use as a selling point and The Prince now treats her nicely all the time. Not exactly Empire Strikes Back.

Instead, some epilogue DLC came out and there’s another reboot going back to the days of Sands of Time which will tie in with the upcoming move. Thankfully, no actual sequel has been announced which I hope reflects poor sales but the Ubisoft’s track record, I wouldn’t be shocked if that meant Prince of Persia 2 is coming with a soundtrack from Mastodon.