The first time publisher Ubisoft spoke to us about the new Prince of Persia game, we%26rsquo;ll admit we feared it was going to stink so badly we%26rsquo;d staple week-old roadkill to our faces to try to mask its smell. The super-macho Prince, always the center of this platform adventure series, is being hobbled with a new sidekick character whose help you require for basically everything? You must rely upon her to help you do your high-level attacks, to heal, or even to jump over long chasms? Considering that non-player side characters in every other game still mostly act like idiots, giving one so much power and responsibility sounds like a recipe for total disaster.
What we didn%26rsquo;t realize was that Elika is different. Waaaay different.
Elika is, simply and dramatically put, the smartest non-player controlled character we%26rsquo;ve met. She doesn%26rsquo;t constantly say %26ldquo;protect me!%26rdquo; then charge ahead into a swarm of enemy attackers like so many others, forcing you to into suicidal rescue missions. She doesn%26rsquo;t get lost or stuck. She doesn%26rsquo;t constantly repeat stupid things.
Not only is Elika not a burden, she%26rsquo;s actually helpful. If you miss a jump and find yourself plummeting Earthward, she magically plucks you from mid-air and returns you to safety. When in battle, she%26rsquo;ll swoop in at your command and launch you into the air for a full-gravity skullcrusher or lay down some magic. And if you%26rsquo;re about to get your own face caved in by a killing blow, she yanks you away so you can regroup. If you%26rsquo;re lost in the giant open world, she can magically point you in the right direction. And as if that isn%26rsquo;t enough, some of the game%26rsquo;s levels are only accessible once Elika %26ndash; not you %26ndash; has activated magical plates that enable you to fly, sprint, or super-jump to a new location.
Even with all that, many gamers will argue that the most impressive thing about Elika is how lovable she is. Not puppies and kitties lovable, or big-eyed anime super-cute and excitable lovable. We mean actually lovable, like a real woman with a realistic personality, who%26rsquo;s compassionate and vulnerable, but also brave and capable. Unless your heart is made of stone, she will genuinely endear herself to you and you will care deeply about her.