During this mid winter break I've been having some healthy time to indulge into some gaming, and it's been helping me ease off a few other timely issues in my life. Nevertheless, in an effort to get back into the activities of blogging and daily writing, I figured I'd run a series of impressions posts of three new titles I've begun playing: Prince of Persia, Fallout 3, and GTAIV: The Lost & Damned.
I am a big fan of the Prince of Persia franchise. His three part story of the last console generation garnered some of my favorite gaming experiences. When the current console generation began almost three years ago, there was skepticism of whether the agile and arrogant Prince was returning for another adventure. When Ubi Soft announced Assassin's Creed, I assumed that franchise would be this generation's PoP. However, no possibility should ever be counted out.
Playing good session of the Prince's new adventure last night left me pleased and frustrated. The visuals in the game are very vibrant, and everything pops out well from the landscapes in the background to the textures on the Prince's scarf and clothing. The game just looks gorgeous, and I am sure the environments become more varied in color and geometry in later levels, especially after their fertile lands are revived. It truly delivers the fantasy-like theme that the series is initially known for in a more stylish way.
Aside from the great visuals, the other aspects of the game I've experienced thus far are split with likes and dislikes for each. I think the developers were in a nostalgic mindset when working on the design. The very first PoP was a pure platformer, and nearly twenty years later, it may serve as a refreshing reuse in this shooter, small jumps or no jump button, and strategy filled world of video games. The platforming is plentiful, and honestly I like the two levels I played through so far. At the same time, I feel the platforming element overrides the combat element. That is more faulty to the structure of the game's combat it seems. One on one fights every so often may become annoying to me after a while, especially if I play for a lengthy period of time to get to those sections and they may not be consistently captivating or memorable. Once I get to fighting segments later in the game, I hope I'm not doing the same string of attacks since the beginning levels. I felt the combat in 2003's The Sands of Time was very well done, even though it lacked the "free-form" styles and combo mechanics of Warrior Within and The Two Thrones. The new PoP seems to take both sides into consideration, allowing for different combo attacks while keeping things simplified. Making every fight seem like a boss fight is a neat idea; I think Shadow of the Colossus honed such gameplay style (still need to play that game). However, some enemies in this game seem like wastes of time to have a health bar stretching across the screen, regardless if they easily deplete quickly. I really enjoy multiple enemy fights like in TSoT. From jump-street, I see what the official reviewers meant when stating this entry in the franchise was made with the "casual player" in mind. I don't really have an issue with the ease of accessibility though.
The story is very straightforward and it looks like it fits a fairy-tale format. Of course, I'm still at the game's beginning, but I've found out a lot about the game's world, history and its primary antagonist by constantly talking to Elika (those achievements for just talking to her are cool :P). There is a very modern touch to the story and atmosphere found in the actual dialogue, especially with the Prince's speech. For example, there was one line about ex-girlfriends, which I don't think was an actual term used in whatever century this story takes place. His arrogant and quirky characteristics are easily recognized and his personality here is similar to the one in The Sands of Time. Elika is poised, yet curious while at the same time skeptical due to being sheltered as a princess for so long. Traditional story elements, and it seems polished enough for me to care enough for the story.
I am "digging" this Prince of Persia. Initially, I was hoping to fall in love with it instantly like I did with the previous three; more so The Sands of Time. However, I still have a lot more to play of it. My impressions in a nutshell: great visuals, really good platforming thus far, I'd like to fight some more though.
Thanks for reading, I aim to be around tomorrow with impressions of The Lost & Damned. See you soon...brothers (had to throw it in there :P).