This post covers the excellent new Prince of Persia game as well as displaying some of the fabulous concept art that accompanies it – it has inspired me to do my own piece of artwork.
Prince of Persia got to some extent over looked in my list of PS3 games until there was little else new to play, which was a mistake and I think the game could of done with much more marketing. I hadn’t really been blown away from the reviews I had initially seen and so it took the back burner to other games at the time like Little Big Planet, Resistance 2 and Tomb Raider Underworld.
When we first see the “new” Prince, he is not very princely at all having having got lost in a sandstorm while searching for Farah his donkey. This sandstorm transports the Prince magically to another land and it is here where the Prince first meets Elika. She is a beautiful barefoot descendant of a people sworn to guard the prison holding the evil god Ahriman. During their encounter they witness Ahriman’s escape from his prison inside the Tree of Life. This escape triggers the release of corruption across the four areas of the world. This corruption will continue to spread further unless they can heal the infected lands bit by bit.
The game manages to be quite open and allows you to explore and heal the worlds you want when you want which is a nice touch (each of the 4 worlds has 5 areas). Later on in the game once you have progressed further you have the option to teleport to a new section as they are rather large and having to navigate through already healed worlds is a little pointless.
This is a one player games and Elika simply follows you around, however she is also very handy in boss sections when you are fighting. Using her magic in combination with your sword fighting can create some great combos and these button combinations are listed. Her AI is spot on and you never find her hampering your progression and in fact sometimes you are more worried about her than your own character.
The Prince has a number of special moves for fighting and for running along walls. This initially takes some getting used to but once you have nailed it it feels very natural and effortless.
Elika has a number of magical powers which you can unlock as you collect glowing lights that appear after an area is healed – called light seeds (there are 1001 light seeds in total some obviously much harder to find than others).
Healing an area generally involves navigating to it’s heart where you will find a boss, once he is destroyed Elika is able to heal it. This is a nice bit of animation where the area changes from dark and dull colours to more colourful forest like scenes. Elika comes with some key magical powers which you get at day 1. These are the ability to save the Prince whenever he is in trouble so if you fall off a cliff or take too much damage from a boss she will revive you (effectively a few steps back). The beauty of this is that it means you never have to sit through a loading sequence (I guess there is an argument for and against loading sequence but I think this is really innovative, fresh approach and I prefer this to a game like Tomb Raider where once you die you have to wait a few seconds to start again from the last check point). Elika is also able to send out a fireball of light to direct the Prince in the right direction so you effectively never get lost. There are a number of junction points which look familiar and you can sometimes take the wrong route but otherwise you won’t find yourself using this much.
The artwork in the game is wonderful and very unique – rather than the standard photo-realistic approach this games has a very magical water coloured rendering which works really well. The refresh rate is perfect and there only a couple of very minor glitches you might notice. Unlike Tomb Raider with it’s camera issues the camera positioning in this is perfect and never found myself needing to see somewhere that I couldn’t.
It would of been nice as with Resident Evil 5 to play this in co-op mode – online and locally. However regardless of this it is one of the best games I have played recently – beating some recent favourites like Dead Space in terms of one player experience. Elika and her ability to effectively remove load sequences makes this very accessible to players at all levels and you will never feel any frustration. Prince of Persia is highly recommended and not a game you will forget easily – the added bonus of Uncharted: Drakes Fortune humourous dialogue (which is optional) between the Prince and Elika is great too.
Prince of Persia Concept Art
Here is a good selection of the lush concept art from Prince of Persia on the PS3.