Prince of Persia - PC - Review
The Prince of Persia series is something of an aberration in the gaming community. Each new title in the series seems to change things up in one way or another. The prince has taken on decidedly darker tones in some games and in others is practically a comedian. And while I have never obsessed about the series, I always associated them with some well developed talent behind the scenes who were always giving it a good try to make a fun game.
So in this iteration, our man the Prince, doesn't seem too princely. He starts off the game getting lost in a sandstorm and losing his donkey that just happens to be loaded down with treasure. The Prince seems more of a vagabond adventurer than a prince, but hey, who am I to complain? The artistic new style of the game melds nicely with the look of our man the prince. Well, no sooner does the storm lift and the Prince is smack dab in a situation that has need for his particular uses.
"Meet Wolverine's 3rd cousin, Platypus."
Prince of Persia takes the series into a whole new visual and gameplay direction. The game has a cel-shaded look to it but with an almost gritty feel to it. The clothing worn on our characters has seen some time under the sun and in the sand. A battle hardened claw glove good for fighting and navigating the terrain gives the Prince a look of somebody who should probably not be messed with. In fact, once the sand storm dissipates and the Prince is face to face with his new partner, Elika, we learn how to use the combat system and exactly what sort of trouble our newly formed pair needs to deal with. And it all looks really cool; the smooth fluid motion of both the Prince and the different enemies is well mapped; the Prince's acrobatic movements as well as Elika's magic, which really lets the sprite effects pop, comes together really nicely. Combined with some genuinely wicked-looking bad guys complete with body parts merged with light in lieu of muscle, and this is shaping up to be a real kick in the pants.
It seems Elika is a member of a magic-wielding family who has been charged with keeping the Tree of Life temple safe and the mystical tomb of Ahriman in place because, as luck would not have it, the seal has been broken and Ahriman escapes infecting his evil across the four lands. Further death and destruction will occur unless you and Elika restore the lands and Ahriman put back into place. Not an easy task but somehow these things never are. Fortunately for all of us, once you get things going you and Elika work as one, taking on enemies with a combination of sword, clawed hand, acrobatics and Elika's magic. Controlling this is surprisingly easy once you have mapped all the keys to your liking but when applied into actual combat, you can daisy chain combat moves from here to the bottom of a grave (you enemies, that is) and so things don't become boring or repetitive, you can mix and match these moves as well creating even more stunning attacks.
"Look fella, I didn't know she was your girlfriend, all I asked her to do was dance!"
When you aren't in combat, Elika acts as your de facto guardian angel, always snatching you if you miss a jump and begin falling, or in some cases adding to your jumping ability. She is the perfect partner, never in the way but only a button push from aiding you. In all my Prince adventures, this has never worked better, as far as a combat and adventuring control scheme goes. Nice to see a high-octane adventure on the PC working as well as it does here.
Now I did have some problems with the audio portion of the game, I am only running a stereo setup on my PC and with the limited amount of options on the in-game audio, could only hear the voice acting minimally and had to turn down the sound effects and music substantially to do so. I know, I used to have a surround setup on my PC, and clearly this game is designed for that, but there should have been more audio options for those gamers who have a average sound setup. I would probably be praising the audio to no end had I had the 5.1 setup, but in this case I can't, even thought the voice acting was actually quite good, if I did not have the subtitles to read as the characters spoke, I would have been lost in terms of the plot. Other then that hiccup in not having enough options, the sound effects and adventurers score sound loud and well made. Good hard clangs when swords meet and a full lush sounding music theme.
"My name is Elika. I find it funny that men will do whatever I ask when I wear this shirt."
Interestingly enough, the game really scratches that itch for those players out there looking for some big time adventure. I have always thought that the Prince series was a sort of Indiana Jones style adventure only made into a video game. The mystical cities, the magic, the locations filled with danger, yeah, I know that sounds cheesy, but I always thought of it in that way. My current version of the game was downloaded from Steam and I have never been happier with a game from those folks than this time. I've got plenty in my library, but this one is top dog now.
Review Scoring Details for Prince of Persia
Well set up, because you set it up, but an effective and fun combat system. Some control issues if you don't get the mouse the way you like it, but the options are there so you can have a smooth controlling game. Don't worry, you still do the Prince's patented wall runs and some other new nifty moves that make you wish you lived in a land with no real physics.
Gritty cel-shaded beauty. I like the new look of the franchise and I like the design of the monsters and villians. The game is sharp.
It sounds good, the voice acting is good, but more audio options are needed for those of us surround sound-less.
You can choose your difficulty and depending on what kind of gamer you are, you will find some challenges, nothing horrible but just enough to keep things interesting.
Its a given that the Prince will run afoul of some really nasty folks and other things, but the game never makes you feel bored. A decent enough plot, even if it is a rehash of many other games; still, this is what it looks like when you have a committed dev team.
This is a heck of a good time to be had on your PC.