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Review: Prince of Persia (2008)

This game has aged remarkably well on PC.

Prince of Persia takes a lot of visual influence from Codehunters (but only the visual style, it doesn't steal EVERYTHING the way that Borderlands did, check it out if you don't believe me (right down to the tilt of Lilith's hips):

It seems to primarily take it's gameplay influence from the idea of trying to remake quicktime events into something that is actually fun and doesn't suck. If you're into rhythm games, then there's a lot of that here, timed button presses, matching visual cues with different attacks (in boss fights, when the enemy is black with corruption, you need to use Elika, when it's sparking orange, you need to use your gauntlet, when it's sparking blue, you ought to attack with the sword), and using the right buttons in sequence to accomplish acrobatic world traversal. The game also does away with player death, in a much more extreme way than Sands of Time (where it was difficult, but not possible to actually game over), replacing it with a mechanic where Elika uses her magical powers to save you from harm (even if, as does occasionally happen in a boss fight, she becomes incapacitated, the one situation where I'm not sure what would happen are the gameplay sequences with in the concubine's towers, where I suppose it might be possible to actually die without Elika being able to help you...I'm sure it would just return you to a checkpoint, but I'm not sure there were actually any ways to really die in those sections (no falls far enough to die, no corruption that was anything but avoidable, I certainly didn't run into any situation where I died in those areas).

The one negative in regards to the PC version of Prince of Persia is that Ubisoft decided not to ship the Epilogue DLC on PC. I've finished the game on both Xbox 360 (some time ago) and just now replayed it on PC, and I think I probably own the DLC on 360, but I haven't managed to actually play it (I suppose I would need to replay the entire game again since my save is surely lost, but maybe you can just jump right into the DLC).

Playing this game after playing the more recent installments of Assassin's Creed give me a bit of insight into how some of the PoP mechanics have embedded themselves into the AC series over time. PoP 2008 and AC1 share the same revision of Scimitar/Anvil as an engine, but some of the mechanics of PoP 2008 didn't get integrated into the AC series until Revelations (certain aspects of combat and traversa particularly in relation to the hookblade, but Revelations does way more interesting things with the hookblade), or even AC3 (the way that game and PoP share a specific type of grabbing hold of a narrow fissure in a wall).

In short: Well worth playing, and looks gorgeous on PC, but if you want to play the DLC (I consider the story complete as shipped), you will need to pick up either the PS3 or 360 version instead of the PC version. The PC version has only the normal Steam DRM, and isn't integrated with either Games for Windows Live or uPlay. The game is also available on GOG, without even the Steam DRM.

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