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Prince of Persia review




  • Recommended by TR

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Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia
  • Prince of Persia


Our Score:


Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC - Xbox 360 version reviewed

Few gaming series can boast about even one title that helps redefine a genre. Fewer still can lay claim to two. With the latest installment, Prince of Persia comes pretty damn close to doing it for a third time. Some might not like the new direction while others will pick holes in the execution, but you can't say that this is a series that lacks ambition.

The original Prince of Persia took the 2D platform game, added realistic and (for the time) cinematic animation, and developed the sort of tricks, traps and puzzles that games like Tomb Raider would later rely on. Then, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time made the formula work in 3D, with a beautifully realistic control system and a superbly implemented time control feature that, in a flash, made Tomb Raider and its clones seem fiddly, dated and frustrating. The new Prince of Persia takes this to a whole new level. In a way, this does for the platform-action game what Fable II did for the action RPG. It's a game that bends over backwards to accommodate and entertain even the most casual gamers, yet doesn't do so at the expense of those of us who'd consider ourselves enthusiasts. And while it's doing all this, it delivers one of the most magical game experiences you'll have had all year.

Rebooting the franchise from scratch, as Ubisoft has done, turns out to have been a smart move. Throwing out the old Prince, the old visual style and much of the old control system has given Ubisoft the freedom to re-imagine everything and create a game where every element works like a cog in a beautifully engineered piece of clockwork.

The cel-shaded visuals are hardly revolutionary, but the combination of huge draw distances, sumptuous lighting, incredible architecture and fantastic character detail makes for arguably their strongest implementation yet; imagine Disney's Aladdin reworked by WETA and Studio Ghibli and you might get some idea. In stills it can look slightly odd or artificial. In full, fluid motion it's absolutely gorgeous.

The hero's animation is beautifully smooth, but then you could say the same thing about the control system. Where the controls in the Sands of Time trilogy grew increasingly complex, here all the wall-running, jumping and clambering is stripped back to simple presses of the A, B and right trigger with the emphasis more on timing than precision fingerwork. At first, more experienced gamers might actually find this counter-intuitive - I kept on pressing more buttons than I needed to in the first hour of play, and so kept falling to my doom. After a while, however, you settle into the game's rhythm, and when you do it's totally exhilarating. Prince of Persia doesn't quite match the extreme adrenaline rush of the best sequences from Mirror's Edge, but the actual flow of action from platform to pole to wall to slide to platform is much less stop/start. This is a game that just feels right.

Matthew Bunton

December 7, 2008, 7:50 pm

Good review again TR but I have to say that I was very disappointed in this game they provide a huge world to play in but it is devoid of anything interesting. There needs to be more to do, it reminds me of Assasins Creed in that sense.

It's a very playable game but in my opinion nothing special and only worth a rent which fortunately is what I did.

The characters model looks weird and as for the new graphical style it looks rough to me.


December 8, 2008, 1:46 am

@ Matthew i agree with you, and even the combat system is unbalanced, the game looks gorgeous, the rest is meh, 100% a rent.


December 8, 2008, 4:56 am

I think this is one of those games where opinions are going to be divided. but I certainly never felt there was nothing to do. In the end it is a platform game, pure and simple - it's not trying to do all the complex stuff that Assassin's Creed tried (and failed) to achieve. I happen to think it's an excellent one. It probably helps that I'm a long-time fan of the genre, but I loved pretty much every second of Prince of Persia bar a few of the boss battles towards the end, and the visual style and storyline worked really well for me. Nothing 'meh' about it, IMHO.

Matthew Bunton

December 8, 2008, 11:29 pm

Yeah as you said Stu opinions are going to be divided as is often the case with so many games. We are all still entitled to an opinion though and should feel free to express it.

I'm glad you enjoyed it so much but for me as I previously stated I was underwhelmed.

Many games released nowadays are all about high production values and yet it seems little consideration is given to content and most importantly the fun factor. I actually think that The Sands of Time was a far superior and enjoyable game compared to this latest instalment.

This is of course just my personnel opinion and i'm sure many would disagree.:)

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