Prince of Persia – Review (X360)

By Clinton “dreddsix6six” O’Shea

Overview

This latest incarnation of the Prince of Persia is the seventh (excluding various spin offs) in a successful series of Action Platform games.  Its Arabian Nights motif is a refreshing change from all the cutesy settings usually associated with this genre.  It uses a relatively simple gaming mechanic to draw you in.  You move along treacherous outcrops, projecting poles, hanging posts and wall run to get from one point on the map to another.  While the fear of falling always exists, you are joined on this little adventure by the not altogether ugly, Elika, the Princess to your Prince.  Although she is not unwelcome eye candy, she has a real purpose too.  Without her assistance, some jumps would not be capable by you and your skills.  She is also a saviour.  Fall, and she can magically return you to the closest point of safety, meaning progression through the game is relatively simple.  Together, your job seems simple enough – run, jump, climb, fight and heal your way through the corrupted lands and bring light to the darkness.  And kill main enchilada of the bad dudes, Ahriman.  Sucks being the hero, doesn’t it?

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Features and Game play

The game starts off with a tutorial (don’t they all) that gets the basics out of the way.  Movement and fighting is quite simple.  The first few enemies come along, and the excitement mounts.  Can you even imagine how cool the next lot are going to be?  One can, but don’t hold your breath, the game essentially has a total of seven enemies.  That’s it.  Generic Guards act as target practice at the beginning.  Soldier’s of Ahriman show up every now and then to slow your high wire acrobatics, but retain a lack of variation.  You get five end of the level bosses to battle, which show some level of variety, but you will get tired of seeing them, as they tend to have a nasty habit of not dying and re-appearing later in the game making you wonder what the point of the cycle of life is.

The game does try to give you a feeling of freedom of choice, but ultimately, you are forced to move from start to finish in a relatively linear manner.  You start at the Temple, move through a corrupted land, which you then heal, then move on through another corrupted land that you must heal – ad nausea.  There are some puzzles to solve, which can be done without the IQ of a monkey.  There are Light Seeds to collect, reminiscent of the Orbs in Crackdown, but collecting them is nowhere near as addictive and you will only feel like collecting enough to unlock new lands rather than the approximate 1000 available in the game.

While your Prince is an agile scamp, he really needs Elika’s help more than he’ll admit.  And here is the biggest feature of the game, as well as the worst.  When making a long jump, Elika can be called on by pressing ‘Y’ to extend the jump length.  In a fight, press ‘Y’ and Elika’s magic can stun the enemy.  If you’re lost, press ‘Y’ and Elika points the way.  In fact, at one point, I pressed ‘Y’ and she made coffee…  With all this co-op possibility, why is this game single player only?  No multiplayer at all.  No split screen, system link or Live co-op.  None.  Nothing.  Nada.  It really doesn’t help to give the game any level of re-playability.

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Bits I Loved

  • Looks quite good.
  • Achievements are quite easy to get.

Bits I Hated

  • Mind numbingly repetitive.
  • Controls can be infuriating at times.
  • Some glitches in the game.
  • Boring, semi-interactive cut scenes.

Conclusion

Prince of Persia will appeal to those looking for a game that combines some parkour and fighting.  Don’t expect anything ground breaking, and it will reward you with 500 GS in around 12 hours.  Just do yourself a favour and don’t buy it at full price though.

Link to site for more info, screen shots and videos: Official Site

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About Zombie Dredd

Wannabe gaming journalist. Wannabe zombie. And sometimes clan leader of OAP. Clint O'Shea when in his human disguise.