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Prince of Persia

aka: PoP 2008, Prince of Persia (2008), Prince of Persia: Prodigy

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Critic Reviews 84% add missing review

IGN (9.3 out of 10)

It鈥檚 not the best game ever released on PC, PS3 or Xbox 360; it鈥檚 not even the best game released this year. And yet Prince of Persia is that rare game that has managed to tap into that part of me that would die defending Chrono Trigger or JSRF. It has its shortcomings, but I already sense that Prince of Persia will be one of the few games from this generation that I carry with me for the next decade.

Nov 26th, 2008 · Windows · read review

2404.org PC Gaming (9.2 out of 10)

At most, the game will last 15 hours if you go after every single light seed; if you鈥檙e not a completionist, a little over 10. There isn鈥檛 much to actually go back to once you finish. The Jade and Altair skins are really cool, and the concept art is kind of interesting, but the only real reason to play through Prince of Persia again is to just experience it all again. It鈥檚 full of heart and moments that pumped unbridled joy into every crevice of my being. The ending goes down as one of my personal all-time favorites, and it leaves the re-envisioned franchise wide open for a sequel. Crazy thing is, Ubisoft didn鈥檛 need to even reboot the franchise. They didn鈥檛 need to undo everything they established. They did anyway and the result is wonderful. Even better? Zero DRM. That takes balls in this day and age. Prince of Persia is a must-play for anyone who can let go of the lax difficulty and can just experience what Ubisoft has to offer.

Dec 29th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Click! (9.08 out of 10)

To najbardziej hollywoodzka gra tego roku - jest szybka, szalenie efektowna, dowcipna i 艂atwa w odbiorze, ale ma te偶 ca艂kiem ciekaw膮, niep艂ytk膮 fabu艂臋. Filmowe walki i bajkowa scenografia powinny spodoba膰 si臋 ka偶demu, cho膰 fani serii mog膮 narzeka膰 na ma艂膮 liczb臋 zagadek i uproszczenie rozgrywki. Dla mnie to jednak jeden z kandydat贸w do tytu艂u najlepszej produkcji 2008 roku.

Jan 2009 · Windows

YouGamers (90 out of 100)

The new visual style works and the technical side of the game is flawless but ultimately this re-imaging of Prince of Persia ends up being a bit short and easy. In the quest to rid the game of all potential sources of frustration, the low difficulty level is unfortunate collateral damage. Fun and accessible but fails to match the brilliance of Sands of Time.

Dec 24th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameSpy ( )

It'd be a shame to call Prince of Persia simply another series reboot. Truly great games of any genre assimilate proven ideas from other titles and introduce new ones. In this case, the new title combines strong platforming fundamentals, Assassin's Creed's open-world structure, and some of Okami's wonderful aesthetic flourishes. What it introduces to action games is something truly wonderful. Since the Prince can't die, the pace and rhythm of gameplay is never lost, yet it still offers a challenge even for hardcore gamers. Elika is something of a semi-NPC, as you never fully control her, yet she's a hugely integral part of the game experience, from rescues to combat. With all of these ingredients -- both new and familiar -- mixed together, Prince of Persia is undoubtedly one of the year's finest games.

Dec 8th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Vgames (90 out of 100)

讗讬谉 讛专讘讛 诪砖讞拽讬诐 砖诪注讘讬专讬诐 转讞讜砖讛 讻讝讜 砖诇 拽住诐 讜讬讬讞讜讚讬讜转, 讜注讜讚 诪爪诇讬讞讬诐 诇砖诇讘 讗讜转诐 注诐 诪砖讞拽讬讜转 讬讜爪讗转 诪谉 讛讻诇诇, 讗诐 讻讬 诇驻注诪讬诐 拽诇讛 诪讚讬. 讛讙专驻讬拽讛 诪讚讛讬诪讛, 讛讚讬讗诇讜讙讬诐 诪砖注砖注讬诐 讜讛诪砖讞拽讬讜转 转砖讗讘 讗转讻诐 诇转讜讻讛. 讻谉, 讬砖 讻诪讛 讘注讬讜转 诪讬谞讜专讬讜转, 讗讱 讛谉 讘讟诇讜转 讘砖讬砖讬诐 诇诪讜诇 讛讻讬祝 讛爪专讜祝. 讗诐 讗转诐 讞讜讘讘讬 驻诇讟驻讜专诪讜转 讜/讗讜 拽专讘讜转 讞专讘讜转, 讝讛 谞住讬讱 讗讞讚 砖诇讗 转专爪讜 诇驻住讜讞 诪注诇讬讜. 诇诪专讜转 砖讛讜讗 砖诪讜拽.

Dec 19th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameZone (8.8 out of 10)

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.

Jan 5th, 2009 · Windows · read review

Gamesmania.de (88 out of 100)

Es keimen wohlgesonnene Gef眉hle auf, den beiden bei ihrer Arbeit zuzusehen, wie sie sich stets gegenseitig unter die Arme greifen. Wirklich toll ist auch, dass Elika nicht nur schmuckes Beiwerk, sondern ein wesentliches Gameplayelement ist, und dass sie zu keiner Zeit st枚rt. Ganz im Gegenteil 鈥 man kann sie sich gar nicht mehr wegdenken. Ich werde mich noch einige Male in den fernen Orient begeben und meinem neuen Traumpaar bei ihrer Odyssee behilflich sein. Los Manina, den Esel finden wir auch noch!

Dec 12th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Fragland.net (86 out of 100)

This remake of Prince of Persia has become a good, though too simple, game which fans of the previous titles will no doubt love. By toning down the fights to the bare minimum I can summarize the gameplay to "seach & collect". As such not bad but it does tend to bore after a while. The graphical beauty is pleasing to the eye and makes this game a great adventure

Dec 19th, 2008 · Windows · read review

PC Action (Germany) (85 out of 100)

W盲hrend ich den neuen Teil testete, f眉hlte ich mich arg an meine Jugend erinnert! Warum? Weil da auch alle meinen kleinen Prinzen sehen wollten! Herrn Frank ging es ganz 盲hnlich, aber das sind wir Vorzeigeprinzen ja gewohnt. Mir hat Prince of Persia auf jeden Fall schwer imponiert, obwohl ich als Verfechter der deftigen Kost dem Vorg盲nger The Two Thrones knapp den Vorzug gebe. Die wilde H眉pferei und die herrliche Dynamik machen bei Prince of Persia von der ersten Sekunde an s眉chtig. Obwohl dem Spiel ab etwa der H盲lfte ein wenig die Puste ausgeht, ist Prince of Persia allemal ein Spitzenspiel, das sich kein Fan entgehen lassen darf.

Dec 2008 · Windows

GameStar (Germany) (85 out of 100)

Ich geb's zu, ich bin ein M盲dchen. Die Liebesschnulze in Prince of Persia finde ich einfach nur zuckerig! Weil sie in der genau richtigen Mischung aus Witz und Romantik pr盲sentiert wird, die seit jeher Frauen (枚ffentlich) und M盲nner (zumeist nur verborgen im Wandschrank) entz眉ckt - sofern noch nicht v枚llig desillusioniert. Klar, das Spiel leidet auch wieder an der aktuellen Ubisoft-Krankheit und schickt mich in die immer gleichen Aufgaben, aber mich st枚rt's l盲ngst nicht so wie bei den letzten Titeln aus Montreal. Wahrscheinlich, weil das M盲rchen-Morgenland wesentlich abstrakter entworfen ist als Assassin's Creed und Far Cry 2. In einer k眉nstlichen Welt kann ich mit k眉nstlichen Aufgaben einfach besser leben. Und wenn die Welt noch dazu so ungew枚hnlich wie wundersch枚n pr盲sentiert wird wie hier, dann gleich noch mal mehr.

Dec 2008 · Windows

Imperium Gier (8.4 out of 10)

Zestawiaj膮c wszystkie aspekty rozgrywki, wspania艂膮 opraw臋 audiowizualn膮, wszystkie uproszczenia i praktycznie sprowadzenie walki do absolutnego minimum, ma si臋 wra偶enie, 偶e tw贸rcy chcieli odda膰 nam gr臋 lekk膮 i przyjemn膮, nastawion膮 raczej na uczt臋 dla oczu ni偶 umys艂u, gdy偶 Prince of Persia gr膮 wymagaj膮ca nie jest. Ale dzi臋ki ba艣niowemu klimatowi, jaki stworzono poprzez po艂膮czenie technologii cell shading ze wspania艂a lini膮 melodyczn膮, odbi贸r ca艂o艣ci jest jak najbardziej pozytywny. Mimo to trzeba zda膰 sobie spraw臋, 偶e nie jest to tytu艂 dla wszystkich, a sama rozgrywka diametralnie r贸偶ni si臋 od tej, do kt贸rej przywykli艣my w poprzednich ods艂onach. To po prostu zupe艂nie inna bajka.

Jan 27th, 2009 · Windows · read review

PC Games (Germany) (83 out of 100)

Meine Hoffnung, das Spiel w眉rde sich qualitativ wieder dem vierten Teil The Sands of Time zuwenden, wurde nicht ganz erf眉llt. Ohne Dramatik, ohne Nervenkitzel setzt das Spiel auf wenig K盲mpfe, daf眉r auf viel anmutiges Geh眉pfe. Mir als Jump&Run-Fan kommt das gelegen, doch w盲re mir eine dramatisch durchkomponierte Levelabfolge mit Skripts und aufregenden Wendungen viel lieber gewesen als die offene Spielwelt. Dass die reizende Elika als lebendes Sicherheitsnetz auftritt, finde ich klasse gel枚st 鈥 mehr Anspruch beim K盲mpfen und H眉pfen h盲tte dem Spiel aber trotzdem gutgetan.

Dec 11th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Gameplay (Benelux) (83 out of 100)

Must-buy voor liefhebbers van Perzische sprookjes, maar weinig interessant voor gamers die op zoek zijn naar een echte uitdaging.

Dec 24th, 2008 · Windows

Krawall Gaming Network (83 out of 100)

Ubisoft macht mit dem neuen 鈥濸rince of Persia鈥 einen gewaltigen Schritt nach vorne und zwei kleine zur眉ck. Die Cel-Shading-Optik ist wie geschaffen f眉r das orientalische M盲rchen, und der neue Sidekick Elika lockert das Geschehen immer wieder auf. Die Tatsache, dass der Prinz nicht sterben kann, st枚脽t bei uns eher negativ auf. Kein vom Spieler begangener Fehler hat irgendwelche Konsequenzen. Es kommt kaum zu wirklich brenzligen Situationen, bei denen einem die Pumpe rast. Wer dar眉ber hinwegsehen kann, der wird mit 鈥濸rince of Persia鈥 seine Freude haben und kann in eine zauberhafte M盲rchenwelt abtauchen

Dec 15th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Game Captain (81 out of 100)

Der erste NextGen-Auftritt des persischen Prinzen kann mit den Vorg盲ngern nicht in jeder Hinsicht mithalten. Vor allem das Gameplay ist etwas vorhersehbar geraten, da die Befreiung einer Region immer wieder nach demselben Schema verl盲uft. Auch das mehrfache Abgrasen einzelner Levelabschnitte, die zeitaufw盲ndige Lichtkugelsuche, das wiederholte Besiegen derselben Bosse und die kaum vorhandenen Drehschalterr盲tsel zeugen nicht gerade von Einfallsreichtum. Trotzdem machen dank unkomplizierter Steuerung und Neuerungen wie Krallen-Slide und Rutschpassagen zumindest die Akrobatikeinlagen wieder eine Menge Spass. Auch das konversationsreiche Zusammenspiel mit der KI-Kollegin, die ungew枚hnliche Artwork-Optik und die verzweigte Levelstruktur 眉berzeugen.

Dec 19th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Game Positive (4 out of 5)

It is often said that the purpose of fiction is to create an irresistible dream that will draw the reader into the world of the story and leave him/her never wanting to leave. While Prince of Persia is definitely flawed and can even become tedious at points, it creates a dreamlike world that keeps you interested. It is an interactive extension of what good fiction tries to be, and while it's not for everyone, it can often leave you with a desire to come back for more.

Jan 15th, 2009 · Windows · read review

Cheat Happens (8 out of 10)

With incredible visuals, innovative gameplay and a deceivingly deep combat engine, this Prince of Persia reboot is a title that should be experienced by everyone. It's no Sands of Time, but it's something special in its own right.

Dec 16th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Jeuxvideo.com (16 out of 20)

Un nouveau prince de Perse vient prendre la rel猫ve de ses pr茅d茅cesseurs dans un 茅pisode plac茅 sous le signe du changement et du renouveau. Malgr茅 des choix de gameplay qui pourraient perturber les habitu茅s, l'aventure se laisse d茅couvrir avec un immense plaisir et un ravissement permanent assur茅 par une r茅alisation tout simplement magnifique. Si les prochains volets corrigent les quelques d茅fauts 茅voqu茅s dans le test, on pourrait assister 脿 la naissance d'une nouvelle trilogie m茅morable.

Dec 11th, 2008 · Windows · read review

GameSpot (8 out of 10)

Most will be able to finish Prince of Persia in around a dozen hours, though if you want to collect every scattered light seed and avoid quick travel (you can teleport from one healed ground to another instantly), you could add a few more hours to the total. But while a few unlockable skins may not seem like enough reason to return, this game is so enjoyable and delightful that you may want to return to it as you would return to a favorite fantasy novel or film. While its lack of challenge may lull fans, its ease of use will delight newcomers and draw in anyone who appreciates a touch of magic.

Dec 2nd, 2008 · Windows · read review

Absolute Games (AG.ru) (79 out of 100)

鈥π斝, 懈屑械薪薪芯 胁 褋泻邪蟹泻械. 小泻邪蟹泻邪 鈥 胁 褉邪斜芯褌械 褏褍写芯卸薪懈泻芯胁, 泻芯褌芯褉褘械 锌褉懈 锌芯屑芯褖懈 邪泻胁邪褉械谢褜薪芯泄 谐褉邪褎懈泻懈 懈 cel-shading 谢械谐泻芯 懈 邪褉褌懈褋褌懈褔薪芯 泻芯屑锌械薪褋懈褉芯胁邪谢懈 薪械褏胁邪褌泻褍 锌芯谢懈谐芯薪芯胁. 袙 芯褌褋褍褌褋褌胁懈懈 懈薪胁械薪褌邪褉褟 (屑褘 薪懈褔械谐芯 薪械 泻芯锌懈屑 懈 薪械 褏褉邪薪懈屑, 泻褉芯屑械 褍锌芯屑褟薪褍褌褘褏 芦褋胁械褌谢褟褔泻芯胁禄). 袙 褉邪褋褋泻邪蟹邪褏 协谢懈泻懈, 胁褋械谐写邪 谐芯褌芯胁芯泄 锌芯谐芯胁芯褉懈褌褜 芦蟹邪 卸懈蟹薪褜禄. 袙 薪械褋谢芯卸薪褘褏, 薪芯 褋懈屑锌邪褌懈褔薪褘褏 谢芯谐懈褔械褋泻懈褏 蟹邪谐邪写泻邪褏. 袧邪泻芯薪械褑, 胁 褌懈褏芯泄 屑械谢芯写懈褔薪芯泄 屑褍蟹褘泻械 袠薪芯薪邪 袟褍褉邪 (Inon Zur) 懈 小褌褞邪褉褌邪 效邪褌胁褍写邪 (Stuart Chatwood). 袝褋谢懈 斜褘 Prince of Persia 薪械 薪褍写懈谢 锌芯写褋泻邪蟹泻邪屑懈 懈 薪械 褋泻邪褌褘胁邪谢褋褟 胁 锌芯褋褌芯褟薪薪芯械 褋邪屑芯泻芯锌懈褉芯胁邪薪懈械, 邪褌谢械褌懈褔械褋泻邪褟 褎懈谐褍褉邪 蟹邪薪褟谢邪 斜褘 蟹邪褋谢褍卸械薪薪褍褞 褋褌褍锌械薪褜 薪邪 锌褜械写械褋褌邪谢械 芦袟芯谢芯褌芯谐芯 锌邪薪褌械芯薪邪禄.

Jan 2nd, 2009 · Windows · read review

TotalVideoGames (TVG) (7 out of 10)

Continuing the theme of simplification that was prevalent throughout Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft's attempt to reinvent the Prince of Persia series is considerably disappointing. The distinct lack of challenge virtually destroys any qualities of the game, making it a tough title to recommend despite getting better as the game progresses.

Dec 5th, 2008 · Windows · read review

4Players.de (70 out of 100)

Auch auf dem PC eine grafische Delikatesse im Orient - leider hapert es an Spannung und Nervenkitzel.

Dec 4th, 2008 · Windows · read review

Player Reviews

Understanding Prince of Persia 2008
by Slug Camargo (588)

The Good

Back in 2003 Ubisoft Montreal introduced us to Sands of Time, an attempt to re-invent Prince of Persia, a 2D platformer that broke all molds in the genre way back in the day, bringing it to the 21st century in full 3D glory.

And what a smashing success that was.

Unless you've been living inside an old leather boot with no windows on a dumpster in the dark side of Pluto, chances are you already know about the wacky antics of this new Prince, what with his beautiful animations and his time-rewinding powers and his crazy, physics-defying acrobatics and his running-along-walls and whatnot. To this day, the "Prince of Persia" trademark became sort of a synonym for "The Arabian Nights meets The Matrix".

There are like three or four people in the world that didn't like Sands of Time, but they have enough mental issues to deserve being institutionalized for life, so paying any attention to their nonsensical whining is out of the question --the game was loved by everyone and their dog, and remains a hallmark of classy visual design, engaging storytelling and smooth gameplay.

In time, two sequels came along, and while several complaints were issued to both in terms of story and artistic direction, there's no arguing that gameplay-wise the series was getting increasingly better with each new title, with the hero gaining more and more freedom of movement, acrobatic abilities and combat techniques.

Since the third chapter closed the storyline and left no loose ends, someone at Ubisoft apparently figured: "Hey, rebooting the franchise worked very well the last time, I think we could pull it off once again". And thus, the confusingly-named subtitle-less Prince of Persia we're gathered here to discuss today was born; introducing a new protagonist, this time a wisecracking, unnamed adventurer that got lost in a sandstorm; his magic-casting accidental partner, princess Elika; a different visual style with cell-shaded graphics, wide open, brightly lit, colorful areas that can be navigated freely at the player's whim; and a whole new storyline.

Surprisingly (for the folks at Ubi anyway) this re-reboot wasn't quite as well received. In fact, it was met with a solid, consistent, almost universally negative opinion across the board, to the point that today there's much more people out there bitching about how much the new Prince of Persia sucks than people who actually played it. Which is unfortunate, because the game does get quite a few things right.


Now, pretty please with sugar on top, I'll ask you to hear me out and try to keep an open mind during the next minutes, and I'll try to tell you how is it that I came to understand -and ultimately love- this "Prince of Persia 2008". Let's go there.


First off, PoP 2008 is visually stunning. You might argue you're not big on cell-shaded graphics, but there's no denying that the overall design, and very especially the design of the overwhelmingly large gameworld shows some of the most stunning, imaginative, drop-dead gorgeous visuals we've seen in quite a while.

And navigating these areas is an experience on its own: There's no way any red-blooded human being could stand indifferent to the exhilarating spectacle that each jumping puzzle becomes. At a certain point in the game, Elika gains the ability to fly across more-or-less short distances, and if you can watch those flights, with our crazy couple rocketing up to the sky, diving until almost hitting the ground and at the very last minute propelling upwards again, all of the while cruising through (and sometimes barely avoiding) gigantic mountains and columns and walls and whatnot, and you can remain indifferent to what you're seeing, then I'm afraid you can't possibly have a soul. Go get an exorcist or something.

While the game progression is absolutely linear, for the first time in the series each area has several paths the player can navigate at will. Doing so has an immediate payoff since there are these "light seeds" strewn about all over the place, and you want to collect as many as you can in order to unlock special powers and a few freebies; but -at least for me- the very navigation was a prize on its own right. I couldn't get tired of watching the protagonist run, fly, swing and jump around the beautiful environments.

So, from a strictly visual standpoint, PoP 2008 is a masterpiece.


Secondly, I don't think the storytelling got the attention it deserved.

As you might know, Sands of Time is rightfully held as one of the best-written games in the last decade. Not that there was much of a story to tell, mind you, but the way is was presented, and especially the characterization of the protagonists, made it a tremendously enjoyable and memorable experience. Now I took some heat for saying this, but I'm positively convinced that PoP 2008 comes very close to the level of Sands of Time's writing. I've already had an argument or ten regarding this topic, and one thing I learned from those discussions is that people remembers the characters of Sands of Time as way more than they actually were.

It is true, the hero of the new game is a self-absorved fratboy that takes every opportunity to hit on Elika with the cheapest pick up lines imaginable, and she in turn can get so uptight you'll want to rotate the camera around just to make sure she doesn't have a broomstick up her ass; but trust me, as someone that's big enough a fanboi as to having played the entire series over and over again to the point I could almost recite the dialogues by heart, I assure you the unforgettable, adorable characters in Sands of Time were just as annoying. The old prince was this arrogant, snotty little brat you wanted to smack across the face about ten times every three words, and Farah was every bit as a bi-dimensional self-righteous lecturer as Elika is. One of the things that made the storytelling so great was precisely the fact that, towards the ending of the game, somehow we had learned to honestly like them, to care not only about their journey but also about the relationship they had slowly brewing. And the same happens with the new characters. You'll probably despise them at first, at the very best you'll "meh" them, but as the story progresses and you start learning about them and you see them bonding, they will become much more than the cartoony caricatures they were in the beginning.

Especially if you're willing to take the time to know them.

You see, PoP 2008 takes it one step further and includes the possibility to trigger short conversations between the characters at the player's will. Some of them will give you gameplay clues, but most serve no other purpose than to teach you about the character's backgrounds, or simply show them slowly build a relationship; more often than not via random, casual dialogues ("OK, enough about me, it's your turn: I want to know about your parents now") and silly games one might get into while briefly stopping to catch their breath or simply trying to alleviate the tension.

This mechanic, giving the player the decision to dig deeper in order to uncover details that, while not necessary to understand the main story, do help fleshing out the gameworld and especially the characters, reminds me of games like BioShock, where getting deeper into the story is not only a decision left to the player, but also somewhat of a reward for a thorough exploration. I think such techniques manage to effectively merge storytelling and gameplay, resulting in a game that you might rifle through if you're in a hurry; or navigate slowly, taking your time to uncover and learn every one of its secrets. The decision is ultimately yours.

As I see it, these sort of gimmicks are a welcome departure from classic gaming storytelling (i.e: interrupting the flow of gameplay with large chunks of text or lenghty cutscenes), and they not only make games appealing for different playing styles, but also can make a replay all the more enjoyable.


OK, I hear you, enough with the fanboyism already, let's get on the meaty, more controversial aspects of the game once and for all.


The complaints you most likely saw all over the place were always the same, so we'll adress them one by one in a handy list format:

"Meh, it's so easy it's no match for my 1337 g4m0r sk1lls" - I've been gaming for over 20 years; the only, rare ocassions when I don't beat a game is when I despise it so much I can't be bothered to do so; and I thought the difficulty level was on par with current standards. PoP 2008 is easy, but then I've been bitching about how easy games in general have became for no less than four or five years. With the honorable exception of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., F.E.A.R. and a few others, I find almost every game out there to be terribly easy, with some of them reaching levels so ridiculous as to have a "Nightmare" difficulty mode that I've beaten without seeing a single "Game Over" screen. PoP 2008 is easy, it's true, but it's not the piece of cake some people accuse it to be either.

"ZOMG it's a kiddie-friendly piece of shit YOU CAN'T DIE!!!!!!!1111!!1" - This is the most frequent complaint and, unless behind those words there's some elaborated reasoning that escapes me, it's also the less thought-out, blatantly stupidest sentence to be echoed over and over in the history of the written word. Here's the thing: Elika, the female sidekick, is integrated into the gameplay so that, with the press of a button, you can summon her and her oh so magical powers of whatever to give you a little boost in a difficult jump or to lend a hand in combat. At some point during the pre-mating rituals between press, developers and public, someone at Ubisoft merrily explained that Elika would also jump into action by herself whenever the protagonist faced a certain death (like, say, a miscalculated jump), rescuing him at the last minute and thus making it effectively impossible to die. I bet the poor guy is wishing he kept his head stuck up his own ass because, boy, did that statement stir up the beehive.

Now the truth is, while Elika does jump into action whenever you make a bad jump / you get badly beaten up by an enemy, what she does is teleporting you to the beginning of the jumping puzzle you were in / get you away from the enemy, which while does indeed save your life, also forces you to restart the puzzle / gives the creature the chance to recover a percentage of his health. In other words, Ubisoft's whole "effectively-impossible-to-die" stravaganza is nothing more than a slightly original-ish checkpoint system. An alternative to the time-rewinding powers in Sands of Time. Towards the ending of the game there are a bunch of long jumping puzzles, and I can guarantee you, you will fail some of them, and when you have to start one of them for the second or third time all the way from the beginning you'll clearly see that all Ubisoft did was replacing the classic "Game Over / Continue?" screen with an animation of Elika grabbing your hand and pulling you up. Nothing else.

You can argue there are too many of these "checkpoints" which makes the game barely challenging, but then we're back in the first point of the list.

"Dude, gameplay is so simplistic the controller might as well have one single button" - Now we're getting somewhere. This is one point I sort of agree with. The gameplay is undoubtedly simplistic, certainly way more simple than in any of the previous games. Beating a jumping puzzle or a fight basically comes down to pushing the right button at the right moment. Unlike previous installments where you had an insane amount of moves and combos (especially for combat), a lot of actions have been comprised into a single button, and the protagonist will behave differently according to the context he's in. In fact, certain points in the environment have this "magnetic" quality, so that you need to make a really, really bad jump in order to not safely land on the proper spot or grab the proper pillar or ledge or whatever. At times it almost feels like an interactive movie, and then the game throws in a quicktime event and you barely notice it, it fits the flow of the gameplay so naturally.

And I'll tell you something: During my first few hours of playing, I was beginning to hate the game precisely because of this. I was like, "Fuck damn, what am I even doing here? This game pretty much plays itself!!! 貌__脫 ". But then I realized that PoP 2008 is a game that mainly aims to offer a visual impact. I realized that complicating the control interface would interrupt the flow of the animation, thus breaking the spectacle. I realized that PoP 2008 is, in short, a game for sightseeing.

Which takes me to the last point: Whenever I discussed this game with someone, the moment I seemed to get the upper hand my opponent would inevitably shut the conversation down with something like ...

"Look, man, any one of the previous PoP's can whip this one's ass seven ways from Sunday, so there" - ... and that, frankly, is a logic I couldn't argue with. At best, I could argue that PoP 2008 is not strictly worse, it's just different...

And then it hit me: This is not a Prince of Persia.

You see, the game plays only marginally similar to previous installments, the main character is not a prince, and the setting doesn't remotely resemble any real location, Persian or otherwise. Other than the wall-running and the saracen blade, there's virtually nothing to connect this game to the series it supposedly belongs to. Calling this game "Prince of Persia" is just as wrong as if they had done it with, say, Assassin's Creed. While there are some common gameplay themes, they are simply different games. The previous Prince of Persia's are out-and-out action/platformers, while PoP 2008 is more of a succession of quicktime events.

Come to think of it, this game is closer to Dragon's Lair or even Fahrenheit than it is to its so-called ancestors.


And that is the main point of the whole question. In order to appreciate this game, it's mandatory to not think about it as part of the Prince of Persia series, regardless of rebootings or re-rebootings; because, for better or worse, it's something else altogether.



The Bad

Like you already guessed, o clever little thing as you are, I like this game. So much so that where other people see glaring flaws and horrible mistakes, I perceive conscious design decisions that I applaud for the most part. However, that's not to say I don't have a gripe or two.


First, I'm still hovering somewhere between the first and third complaints from the list we just analyzed: The game is definitely too easy for my taste. The fact that this is commonplace in today's gaming market doesn't make it less bad. And while I think that the simplistic gameplay was a right move to keep the animations fluid and uninterrupted, I also think that a little more complexity wouldn't have hurt. I'm all for the sightseeing-oriented gameplay, especially when the sights are as beautiful as these, but man, I want my games to give me some challenge too. At the very least, PoP 2008 needs more -or at least longer- jumping puzzles, and it definitely begs for a more complex battle system.

And while we're at it, more challenging enemies too. Especially the small, regular enemies are impossibly easy: Not only you have the unexplainable chance to prevent them from even showing up, thus eliminating the fight altogether, but more often than not you'll pull a combo that unexpectedly drains 75% of the creature's health, wiping him off before you even know what happened. The enemies do eventually learn to block your attacks as a form of offering a challenge, but in practice this only means that you're limited to using the two or three tougher combos from the list, which was already small to begin with.


I already said I love the visual aspect through and through, I'm in love with everything from concept art all the way to the cell-shaded rendering; but the enemies... Eh... The thing is, the evil in this game comes in the form or some black, oily substance (resembling the Black Cancer from The X-Files) that spreads all over the world, and even the enemies are made of (or covered in) this filthy goo of sorts. The problem is that, this way, enemies (especially the afforementioned regular, wimpy ones) are pretty much a generic semi-humanoid black blob, and adding that to the fact that there are only three or four different types, it feels like someone dropped the ball here.


Finally, the ending. Not the ending itself, but the way you get to it.

No spoilers, but at the end of the game, after one of the most adrenaline-pumping, massively epic boss battles in the history of gaming, a brief cutscene takes place, the credits roll and then the protagonist is faced with a choice. Once he makes his decision (which you have no saying in), you take control of him again and you're required to do a certain thing. In practice, this translates in an impossibly long, mind-numbingly boring walk towards a certain point and then back to where you parted from. This obligatory section has no challenge, no puzzles, no real choice to be made, absolutely nothing. All you're required to do is to hold the stick up for what feels like a hundred years, then push a button, and then hold the stick up again for another century, and then the ending proper takes place. And then the credits roll, again.

I can't explain you how impossibly infuriating this section is. Suffice to say that, as much as I loved the story and as eager as I was to see its conclusion, I don't feel able to give an opinion about the ending because I was so pissed off when it finally happened that I'm not even sure how I felt about it.

I don't know what the fuck they expected to achieve by making this last chore of a scene a playable one, but if the goal was to annoy the player so much that he ends up losing any attachment he had to the story only a few minutes before and thus ruining the overall experience, then congratulations, you've made it. I hope you're happy.



The Bottom Line

I have this theory: Ubisoft thought that by strapping "Prince of Persia" on their newest platformer they would assure a large, eager fanbase right off the bat for it; a safety cushion for sales, if you will. After all, it was a game about a guy with a saracen sword who runs along walls, right? Prince of Persia fans would buy in no problem. Why wouldn't they?

But the plan backfired when fans went in expecting an actual, proper, full-fledged new Prince of Persia that followed the tradition of the series, and they found something completely different; so much so that it even takes some big steps back in areas where the series had been consistently moving forward from one chapter to the next.

I guess it goes to show all marketing people should be put in a tin capsule and shot into the sun.


That said, I think PoP 2008 is a good game. In fact, I think it's a great game. But it's not a Prince of Persia. I can't stress that enough: It's something you need to get inside your head if you ever expect to enjoy it.

Me, once I made my peace with that fact, I discovered a beautiful, breathtaking and imaginative visual experience as we rarely get to see in this day where everyone and their dog will go for the photo-realistic brown-yellowish appearance they like to call "next-gen" (or "current-gen", whatever). Pair those visuals with a beautiful, smooth animation and a simple yet clever and engaging storytelling, and you're in for quite a ride.

Like I said somewhere up there, had they named this game something like Dragon's Lair 2008, it would've been a resounding success.


They might've needed to throw a dragon in there, though.

Jan 23rd, 2009 · Windows

The gameplay fades away parallel to the need of another Prince of Persia
by MichaelPalin (1418)

The Good
I think I see a pattern on my reviews. I usually review games when I see them as a good example of some trend in the industry. The new Prince of Persia is a 2 for 1 bargain in this context, game franchising and casual level difficulty. But first things first, not everything is a bad move on the series.

There are at least two features of Prince of Persia 2008 (that's a funny name for a non-sport game, don't you think?) from which other developers could learn. The storytelling is one of them. The most interesting thing of it is that the player can make the protagonist talk whenever he/she wants. By pushing "t" while the characters stand still and there is no danger around, they will start talking. The concept is that the player, through the prince, asks Elika about what is going on, and Elika explains a bit of the background and current events on the place they are. Obviously, if the player asks forever, the situation will look stupid, but this will be the player's fault not the feature's.

In addition, the characters will realistically dialogue about the situation while playing without using cutscenes at all. If somebody has played Kane & Lynch he/she will know that this gives a whole lot of life to the game and makes the player more involve with the characters and their goals.

Prince of Persia is also very beautiful, the artistic direction is something they can be proud of, although, as I will explain, level design ruins the credibility of the world portrayed in the game. More on this later.

Also, a round of applause for Ubisoft for not putting any sort of DRM on this game (not even "DVD on drive" nonsense, 0_0). I would nearly ask you to blindly buy this game just because of this, considering the state of the art in the matter, but the game is actually a very bad one.

The Bad
(Note: I didn't finish the game out of boredom.)

Let's begin with a review of the history of this game series.

Prince of Persia, the first one, I mean, is a classic. And it is a classic basically because it was a great game. It was original, very enjoyable to play, and artistically admirable. After being released for all the systems possible and their dog, Prince of Persia 2 was released in order to capitalize on the first one's success. I haven't played it, but apparently it wasn't that good. Many years later, when 3D graphics were about to take us to paradise on Earth, some guys decided that Prince of Persia should also look nice just by giving it a new dimension and doing everything else wrong. And surprisingly, it failed.

Many years later, Ubisoft realized that a new Prince of Persia could be a good idea now that 3D graphics were mastered. I still consider despicable to keep on putting same names to games that have nothing to do with each other or separated in time by plenty of years, but Sands of Time was too good to criticize it for this. Still, it wouldn't have hurt to call it other way around and start a fresh new series.

So, where are we? After a trilogy on this new prince (you know, every new project starts as a trilogy nowadays, it's a word with high marketing appeal) Ubisoft has decided to do another Prince of Persia game. It has nothing to do with the Sands trilogy nor with the previous games, but, well, you know, it's about money. Ubisoft is not evil, everybody does it, isn't it? Let's put this straight: videogame industry is full of games based on or continuing a previous game that have been developed solely because that previous game was successful, "profitably" successful, that is. Not that series-starting games are developed for more artistic reasons most of the times, but there is a real plague of games with a number or a subtitle at the end of the name that clearly shout us "hey, you!, yes, the stupid one, you liked "Average Uninteresting Game 1"?, we have done a totally unmotivated second part, come and buy it before I get angry and break your legs you piece of..."

Ok, I calm down now, but never forget that it is the industry who tells you what you like and not vice versa.

And the new Prince of Persia is a rather insulting example of this. It has nothing to do with the previous games, but it is an obvious recycling of the last trilogy with some improved graphics thrown at it. Everything looks lacking motivation if compared with Sands of Time. But let's look at the facts.

The new Prince of Persia begins with the prince (who is not a prince apparently) crossing the desert and befriending an escaping girl. Soon it's discovered that she is a princess trying to prevent her father to free an evil god, which he eventually does. Now the prince and the princess have to fight this evil god, nobody knew about before, because, you know, ancient Persia was full of this kind of exotic crap, and everybody had their hairs and clothes waving in the wind.

The Sands of Time trilogy fan (tm) will soon start to feel uneasy as the prince and the following princess parkour around the "beautifully artistic everybody is talking about" scenarios. I said parkour? Well, it should be called something like "magic parkour" as the spectacularly realistic moves of the prince we all have enjoyed in the previous games are gone. Apart from the ability of Elika to just fly around at will, the prince shows some totally absurd movements this time around. For example, now you can walkrun without any momentum at all, just jumping at a wall. And the funniest part of it is that the prince will scratch the wall while doing it, which in real life would prevent you from running more than one step before falling down. Walking through the ceiling is also something that defies classical mechanics (those you learn at high school) and that the prince does without any effort. But the best part is the "Elika button" that serves as a double jump. Every time a normal jump turns out short, the screen goes white and you have to push this button in order for Elika to give you a push with her magical abilities.

The concept behind Elika is actually what differentiates the game from the rest of the series and is the one that ruins it. She accompanies you through the whole game. The temple has chosen her to save the world from Mr. Evil God n. 786 from Persian mythology and has, therefore, given her powers. Basically, she can fly and glows in white. If you remember Sands of Time series, it was a really difficult game, but the designers created the time manipulation dagger in order to give you the ability to rewind your false steps. But this had some limitations, it could only be done various times with the dagger full charged and only around 5 seconds back in time. The game was still challenging, and the feature very original and praised by everybody. In this new game, Elika replaces the dagger but, this time, there is no penalty at all. Every time you fall, Elika rescues you, every time you fall in the darkness (some black stuff that is everywhere) she saves you, every time an enemy is about to stab you, she saves you, etc. Oh!, and enemies cannot kill you at all, the prince feign hurt after the first hit, but that's about it.

This is absurd to the point that, later on, Elika suggests that using her powers tires her, but you can throw your prince into the void as many times as you want with Elika doing her thing all the time without any trace of tiredness. It would be a nice idea to have Elika get exhausted with time, giving a limit to her ability to save you.

Having different difficulty levels would have been a very good idea actually, because the game really feels like playing itself some times. Let's look at the gameplay. Playing the game is like this. Push 'w' (forward button), when you see a gap, press jump button, when you face a wall, press jump button, when you see a wall worn away, push jump button, when you see a ring, push the claw button, when screen fades to white, push Elika button, when you see an Elika special power circle, push Elika button. What if you are in a combat? I never mastered the combos, so maybe I'm missing something, but combats are pretty much like this. Face an enemy, push attack, Elika and claw buttons in a random sequence and the prince will perform a combo, if the block button appears, push the block button, if any of the other buttons appear, push that button. By the way, there is only one weapon in the whole game and combats are only one-on-one. Somebody would call this a downgrade in the series, but not Ubisoft (or maybe they do and don't care). And remember, you are immortal, the prince can only die in a combat if you just close the game because you are saturated of boring, repetitive combat.

Summarizing, the game is a fucking quick time event theme park!! When I had to move these two guys through far distances it was exasperating, my brain didn't even have to think one bit, I felt like a bloody robot pushing buttons while watching the prince walkrunning for the 162th time in the last minute. And when Elika's special powers were unlocked (you know, Persian bullshit super exotic powers, everybody knows about), watching them jumping from one end of the scenario to the other was like hearing the game calling all of my physics teachers a bunch of losers.

I guess not all of you reading this are so concern with realistic parkour but, considering the level reached by the Sands of Time trilogy and that the parkour masterpiece called Assassin's Creed is also an Ubisoft production, this game looks like big joke on all of the work made in this feature until today.

Lastly, I would like to talk a little bit about the famous "beautiful" and "artistic" scenarios in PoO, I mean, PoP (2008). As I said before, it is quite a visual pleasure to play this game, at least at the beginning, but soon the player will also feel uneasy with this. The first thing you notice is that this "Ringland" the princess lives in, has a highly structured shape. The game starts by the temple in front of which lies a desert in a semicircular extension. Limiting this extension there is a small mountain chain at which 4 buildings stand out at equidistant points at the horizon. Each of them are the first sight we have of the four parts of the kingdom (guarded by 4 corrupted characters, OBVIOUSLY). Each of this parts are composed of a circle with four circular scenarios each at equidistant points. At the center of each scenario, a boss fight awaits. And then, a boss scenario (probably circular, never played that far) in each of this 4 parts of the kingdom. Maybe the Persians did like rings and the number 4 to build their Evil God prisons (ask an archaeologist) or maybe level designers of PoP08 are just a bunch of circle-obsessed freaks with only 4 fingers in each hand.

In addition, the player will also have the sensation, sooner or later, that the people living there would use this magical parkour as their everyday mean of moving, as everything is designed to this end. Why are the walls full of rings?, why all the poles?, etc. The silliest detail many players will eventually suffer are the scratches in the walls that are used to visually tell the player to run through them (push jump button quick time event, that is). Every time, and with every time I mean every fucking time, the prince has to run through a wall, this wall will look like dozens of people run through it every day. This really is a good example on how soon did level designers drop realism in this game.

It is also very curious how all of the scenarios in Prince of Persia are embedded high above in circular cliffs. If I get it right, people were supposed to be living here, why would they ever build their houses over 100 meters above the ground? Every scenario is hanging absurdly high on these cliffs. Sands of Time trilogy never needed these tricks in level design, they could at least learn from the series the game supposedly comes from.

The Bottom Line
The only positive thing about this game is its beauty. Both sound and graphics looks like a peaceful painting (a sonorous painting, I guess) to relax into. But the gameplay has suffered a dead wound with respect to Sands of Time trilogy, with the obvious and despicable goal to please the most casual gamers. The saddest thing is that an option to level difficulty is a very easy to implement tool, to please both hardcore and casual gamers, but developers keep doing it wrong most of the times, if they even implement it.

In addition, realism has been totally discarded in this new PoP game. Many people may not care, but those of us who care, and, specially considering this was always an important feature of the series, do have a real hard time playing this. It defies logic even at most basic mechanical level. And the story also doesn't save the game at all. In fact, it looks like a really poor attempt to have a reason to do a new Prince of Persia game.

Feb 8th, 2009 · Windows

Plus 33 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Wizo, jaXen, JudgeDeadd, CalaisianMindthief, Solid Flamingo, Jeanne, Patrick Bregger, Cantillon, Cavalary, Klaster_1, Riemann80.