flufflogic's Prince of Persia (Xbox 360) review

Just... no.

 Dear Sirs/Jade Raymond (well, she's the only woman in the industry, right?),

I borrowed (not purchased; not stupid you know) a copy of your latest attempt to "put lipstick on a pig", Prince of Persia. At about halfway through (304/340 lightseeds, 2 powers unlocked), I feel that at this point it's a good idea to catalogue my experience in a feedback manner, so as you may consider my opinion for the inevitable next one.

Now, I am having a few issues, listed thus:

1. Controls
2. Conversations
3. Setting and characterisation
4. Combat

So, I will begin with issue 1, the control system. Now, I understand the need in this age of rampant casualism to simplify the controls so even gran can pick up the pad, but if you really want to simplify controls make sure only 1 action at a time is mapped to a button for each "player state" (exploring, combat). I have nearly broken my control pad in a rage several times, having watching the prince commit suicide by leaping into thin air rather than do the wallrun. As the X button is free for use, why couldn't wallrun have been assigned to this instead? I know "context sensitive controls" is an industry thing now, but if it doesn't work it's useless.

Now, issue 2, the conversations. This starts out as an interesting way to gain insight into the world, a world which is pretty alien until the explanations start flowing. Unfortunately, it soon becomes a chore, as it does seem at least one of your designers just didn't know where to stop. An example that springs to mind is Ahriman's Tower; confronted with a ring switch on the wall, the LT dialogue icon pops up. The dialogue is straightforward, a mere ponderance of what the switch does. However, there are 8 pieces of dialogue, each going over what the player (or at least me) has already figured out: pull switch, drop platform. 

Now, seeing as at least 3 achievements are gained by listening to these dialogues, a "hardcore gamer" will grit his teeth and listen to every one. The problem is, 60% are to tell you what you already know, and are excessive padding to make the task somehow lengthier. Again, this may be a feature implemented to woo the "casual scene", but as none of these people will know the franchise and will therefore ignore it for some Brain Training nonsense it seems a little pointless.

Issue 3, the setting and characterisation, is mild in comparison to the previous, but still irksome. Now, the clue of the setting and characterisation should be in the game title; Prince of Persia. Now, forgive me for this, but he seems neither to be Persian or a Prince. He instead seems to be a bratty American youth in a pseudo-fantasy Middle Eastern setting dressed as a Dungeons and Dragons thief with some colourful headscarves. Elika, also, lacks any Persian authenticity, seeing as she looks like any of the hundreds of indie sweethearts. And yet, her father, the Corrupted and assumedly Ahriman himself seem quite authentically Eastern. Is this another attempt to make it easier for casual gamers, as it makes it easier for them to identify with them? Or was it just a silly mistake? And, as an aside - why is the healing so strangely eroticised? It seems Elika is practically orgasming fertility, and graphically too.

And finally, the combat. This is, put simply, pointless. It actually happens so little I see very little use for it. Getting an attack in is rare, most of it is a Quick Time Event that has little or no consequence, and in fact most battles can be left running whilst the player does something else and returned to seemingly without penalty. This further erodes the need for it to be present at all.

Between all these niggles, it is very hard to say anything positive about the game bar praising the graphics, which to say it's using the Assassin's Creed engine is faint praise anyway. There is, it seems, very little gameplay to this game, and the difficulty stems not from clever level design but from frustrating controls and inane banter. Moving forwards from this game, I would suggest scrapping everything from this and starting yet another franchise reset, this time hopefully closer to the Amiga classic.


One helluva disgruntled gamer.   
(Time passes) 
 So, 24 hours later I finished PoP. I reckon it took 9 hours tops, no joke. Only 610/1000 though, and in all likelihood that's where I'd recommend you leave it.

How utterly ass is the ending. I was annoyed at how shoddy, how badly put together this game was, but that's just compounding it. Let me run you through how this game works:

1. Get to corrupted area.
2. Follow route to Fertile Ground.
3. Fight 1 of the 4 bosses: Hunter, Warrior, Alchemist, Concubine (yes, they DO have names like Gladiators...)
4. Heal Fertile Ground.
5. Collect Light Seeds.
6. Move to next area.
7. Every X areas, use Light Seeds at the Temple to unlock Ormazd Powars.
8. Go to new unlocked areas, repeating 1-5 until Gate opens.
9. Kill boss for final time.
10. Repeat 6, until all bosses and areas done.
11. Return to Temple for final area.
12. Finish final area.
13. Wait until unskippable bit ends.

And that really is it, apart from mashing LT when prompted to be patronised by pointless conversation. Oh, and if you don't randomly use a save (there is no opportunity for death, remember) from the controls messing up (trust me, it happens a lot).

Look at the positives though; achievements be rainin', yo. At one point near the end, unlocks came thick and fast; first "Climbing to New Heights!", then "Traitor's End", followed by "Saviour of the City of Light", followed by "Light Seeds Hoarder", followed by "Explorer". But there's one achievement that made me hate the system: "To be continued…" follows a horrendous ending that betrays pretty much the entire game, and by its title alone tells you there's more to come. To bullishly decide there's to be a sequel before people have finished ripping it to shreds is a very arrogant gesture, and one not welcome.

Would I recommend this game? Would I recommend swimming in radioactive sludge? Answer given, I think.

Crushingly disappointing.    


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