Aug 5, 2008

With a new art style, a modified version of the Assassin's Creed engine powering it, and an emphasis on one-on-one combat over en masse attacks from waves of enemies, Prince of Persia represents a reboot of the series and after seeing it up close at E3 I'd have to say it's definitely a solid step forward for the series even if it harkens back to the original Prince of Persia.

The demonstration area was set in a large rocky crater. The visual style really grabs attention but it's not until the Prince is in motion that the game starts to shine. The acrobatics have been heightened to the point where the Prince caninteract with the environment and really play around in it. Like Assassin's Creed, the navigation is left up to the player in many respects. There are still "magic bumpers" that will fire the Prince off to an otherwise unreachable area to progress the story or reveal some secret area, but for much of the demo I was unable to recognize any parts of the level that made it obvious as to where you were to go next. Typically there would be areas of differing color or texture to indicate an area could somehow be navigated but I didn't see any of that. There are still conveniently placed flagpoles to vault from though and you do have a "helper" character that'll point you in the right direction should you become totally disorientated. Besides being a guide of sorts, this helper character - Elika - will also save you from plummeting to your death, much like the Sands of Time did in previous games but this time it will happen automatically, and help you leap large gaps. From the demo, this character doesn't appear to need much, if any, babysitting; there were no instances of the Prince having to backtrack to get Elika to follow him. She is also key to the plot of the game since she's the one that "cleanses" the corruption being caused by Ahriman - the bad guy - after the Tree of Life is destroyed. Throughout the demo, there was only one fight. It looks like the development team wants to dole out of the combat in a regulated fashion. As a result the combat looks deeper (looks, because I wasn't allowed to play it) than previous Prince games. There's a definite "fighting game" feel to the combat, especially since the encounter took place in an arena type setting. It's a good thing that Prince of Persia was looking so well put together at this point. The wait for this action platformer will be a short one. It's expected to hit retail in November.


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