Prince Of Persia (Some Spoilers Ahead)
One of the most well received and quite epic trilogies the gaming scene has seen to this day, Prince Of Persia was a name that went hand to hand with gaming for a long time. When Ubisoft decided to release a reboot at 2008, things did not go so well. Not received well at all, by fans and critics alike, the game swiftly faded back to the desert winds from whence it came. But is it as bad as people say?
Lost in the desert, our protagonist, the prince, is found looking for his donkey named Pharah amidst a sandstorm. When a lady, Elika, bumps on him and seems to be chased by a few brigands, the prince would chase after her, and fight the brigands off, though admittedly less a sense of right and more a want to show off in front of the pretty girl. When Elika's father shows up and uses magic to destroy a bridge, the prince almost falls to his death, when Elika uses her own magic to save him. Now cut off inside of a weird desert valley, the prince teams up with Elika as they seem to race against time, trying to re-seal an ancient evil god back into his prison, before he breaks through
The story is given in the form of cutscenes after each section is completed as well as through dialogue between the prince and Elika. Contrary to popular belief, I found that the story, though simple in its premises was indeed worthy of the Prince of Persia mantle. Throughout the entire story, you get to know both characters, what they believe, what they want and you get a few hints at their past and I have to admit they were both pretty well written. The prince, though initially outgoing, flirty and carefree would appear to be very guarded when it comes to specific aspects of his past, and his views have a certain Nihilism and selfish outlook about them one can only hint that he did grow up easy. Elika on the other hand, seems to have this drive and strong sense of morality, despite her own adventurous personality clashing with the cloistered life of the temple she grew up in.
The romance blooming between the two, captures the initial curiosity and sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle flirting going on between them. It does not have the grand displays of love or anything major, but at the same time, it is not love yet. In a scene where people fall in love and conquer entire nations for people they met in the span of half a cutscene, I found it refreshing to view romance on its infant stages. After all, the entire story happens in the span of a few hours, a day at most.
Finally, the point that people hated the most was the ending. Despite not giving us the ending we all wanted, I have to admit, Ubisoft pulled a very (very!) bold move with this one. It gave us the ending that made most sense. You see (spoilers obviously), throughout the entire game you are supposed to help Elika re-seal the dark god Ahriman back into his prison so he does not escape and bring darkness to the world. As you do that, the Prince and Elika start to crush on each other but, perhaps tragically so, the Prince seems to start falling for Elika harder than she for him. It is revealed that the reason for Elika being a bit more guarded is because she knows, that in order for the seal to be complete and the dark god locked behind his prison, once more, she will have to die, as her powers, and life, were a gift from the god of light, and she would only have them until Ahriman dies.
In a selfish "fuck you" moment, the prince naturally breaks the seal and saves Elika, but releases Ahriman as a consequence. Naturally people were pissed. However, if you think about it, the events happen in the span of a single day. The prince is a selfish man always placing what he wants over what others want and is a bit Nihilistic, not believing that much in prophecies and the like. Him rescuing Elika makes perfect sense, as they were not together long enough for the prince to change who he is as a person.
Not to mention they needed two more games for a rebooted trilogy.
"Even at 2008 Ubisoft hinted at how much they love this pose"
"Elika we are not the power rangers, stop posing every god damn time, by all that is holy"
"Who you gonna call? GHOSTB- wrong franchise"
"Spooky Scare Skeletons? Close enough"
The game looks pretty ok even for today's standards. With its cartoonish comic book aesthetics, the game manages to capture expressions and emotion surprisingly well despite its graphical limitations. Though not the best looking game, even for its era, the game manages to have amazing vistas, extremely smooth gameplay and overall is a joy to view.
For sure the strongest part of the game, the animations and movement of the characters is superbly done. From the fighting to the climbing you never get that jerky animation, or odd twist of the arm.
The environment plays a very important part both in the story and in any prince of persia game, as you will spent most of the time interacting with it. Here, Ubisoft surpassed all expectations. Where previous prince of persia games were amazingly looking, but the focus was always rather narrow, here Ubisoft has expanded the horrizon, with beautiful vistas, colorful backrounds, awesome shapes and even weirder buildings, which look amazing, both before and after you "cleance" them from the evil that is seeping through
Finally I have to talk about the character animations. It is the first game I played at that time, where a large part of the emotion, delivery and humor of the script was shown through facial expressions. From subtle things like a slightly raised eyebrow, or a smirk would go a long way with delivering what the characters were thinking even if they had no lines. Keep in mind we are talking about 2008, an era which most video game characters had 2 expressions "Angry Constipated" and "Angry Derpface".
The big reason why most people hated this game.
Prince Of Persia is a series known for its hard puzzles, unforgiving combat and progressive difficulty, with the game getting crazier and harder as you progress.
This game, with extremely simplified combat, easy platforming and puzzles and its focus more on story and less on tough as nails puzzles/combat disappointed many fans.
And rightfully so, but is the gameplay -that- bad?
No. In fact, its not that bad at all. It is a game that focuses on telling you a story first and foremost, and it would make no logical sense for your character to die and you to reload from a checkpoint, if the concept of the story is that
a) The characters -did- do all of the things they were meant to do to completion
b) It all happened in the span of a few hours.
Prince Of Persia always tied its losing mechanics in game. Sands of time, parallel universes etc, so why should this game be any different?
I will have to agree however, that the game could benefit from a more robust complex combat system, with a few more combos and a bit more challenge to it, because ultimately combat becomes a needless chore that you hate going into, rather than the exciting thing to crave between puzzles.
That said however, the boss fights, still manage to impress. Or at least keep the interest high. Each of the bosses has two to three times you face them, each time with a unique twist and their own challenge.
With Elika and the Prince combining their powers the fight is actually pretty interesting, with you being able to alternate between the prince and elika delivering blows. Though it may not be hard or challenging, it -does- manage to still look amazing,
"Right! Is my chest exposed enough? Do you all get a good look? Good!"
"It's just a sandstorm, they said. "You'll be fine, they said. Idiots!"
"Top 10 places where you do NOT want to have a case of slippery hands"
I will fight -ANYONE- that claims this game does not have good music.
Stuart Chatwood and Inon Zur made this soundtrack, and as always they delivered a masterpiece.
The only flaw? It is SO god damn uneven in the loudness of their tracks in the soundtrack I have. Even when blasted on the highest volume, the music is barely heard, which is a shame because it is a truly great soundtrack, and way better than the other Prince Of Persia soundtracks. That's right, I said it! Fight me!
Prince Of Persia, the 2008 remake, is indeed a flawed game.
However, with its captivating story, at the very least fun puzzles and fighting, its great graphics (for the time period) and music, it is indeed a game worth checking out. I for one, still boot it up from time to time.