“Okay,” you say, “we get it – Elika’s cool. What about the rest of the game?” Well, it looks phenomenal, especially in motion. The graphics are difficult to describe – they look almost like cel shading, but with a greater level of detail and a pencil-stroke look to many of the textures. Add in the smoothness with which everything moves, and you have a simply glorious visual style.
Speaking of movement, Prince of Persia focuses much more on the process of getting from one place to another than have previous games in the series. There are few puzzles, and those that are here are fairly small in scale and simple in scope when compared to previous Prince titles. This lack of puzzles is one of the game’s few disappointments, but the new focus is still compelling. The emphasis here is on you and Elika bounding around the world like tandem free runners, pausing only to dispatch a squad of enemies or one of the four recurring bosses.
Even combat retains the game’s ballet-like style, and once you’ve latched onto the timing, you’ll be busting out sophisticated team combos with a grace that would shatter the minds of even the most talented gymnasts and martial artists. True, we would have liked to fight a greater variety of enemies. Each boss reappears several times, which is repetitive and frustrating – we want to kill bosses, not push them off a cliff or have them just run away. Plus, once you understand enemy attack patterns and the game’s slightly slower than you’d expect timing, the level of challenge decreases dramatically. This, combined with the fact that Elika literally won’t let you die, could make things feel too easy and auto-piloted for some die-hard hardcore players. But we didn’t mind, and would still recommend Prince of Persia to everyone – it’s too good, too beautiful, and too charismatic to pass up.
Dec 3, 2008