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Friday, June 26, 2009

First Impressions: Prince of Persia

When I went out and picked up my copy of inFamous at the beginning of June, I also picked up a copy of Prince of Persia for my PS3. I'd been waiting to play Prince of Persia for a while but other games kept getting in the way. I played Prince of Persia for a half-an-hour before putting it aside to play inFamous. It's not that I didn't like my first thirty minutes with the game: I just had an unplayed copy of inFamous calling out my name.

With inFamous finished and Prototype failing to deliver, I gave the Prince another whirl for the past couple nights. Does Ubisoft's reinvention of the Prince of Persia series live up to the hype?

A good game has a number of necessary qualities:

  • Good introduction and setup
  • Interesting story
  • Pretty graphics
  • Accessible and fun gameplay
  • Solid voice acting
I created a list of pros and cons for Prince of Persia based on my first few hours with the game. I'd have to say that the game is easily meeting most of my "good game" criteria so far.

Here's what I like about the Prince of Persia:
  • The graphics and animation style are amazing. I really like games that stray from the Unreal 3 engine, realistic look and go with a more animated and stylized presentation.
  • Prince of Persia's gameplay is extremely accessible. Combos and navigation are a breeze. And no matter how badly you screw up, you can't die. While some players may look for a challenge from the games they play, I've gotten past that point in my life. I play games as a form of entertainment and relaxation.
  • I stopped playing Warrior Within because I couldn't get past an early part in the game: I had no idea where to go or what to do. Thankfully, the Prince of Persia includes a "compass" ability that sees Elika shoot out a glowing orb that traces a path for you to follow to your destination. I love it!
  • Most importantly, I really like that the game's developers didn't try to take the dark or gritty route with the Prince's newest incarnation. I'm sick of ultra-violence, sex, drugs, and anti-heroes in my video games. I want to play the good guy who fights the good fight to take out his enemies. And I like cheerful funny protagonists (e.g. the Prince or Nathan Drake) as opposed to the unhappy and brooding gaming heroes (e.g. Alex Mercer or Max Payne).
Of course, I have a few issues with the Prince of Persia too:
  • The user-triggered chit-chat between Elika and the Prince is a little tedious. It's basically a lot of fluff with no substance. I'll listen to Elika and the Prince talk if there appears to be something of interest to learn; otherwise, I ignore the chatting as much as possible.
  • Some of the platforming seems pretty trial and error with a few non-obvious solutions and a finicky camera at times. Then again, I won't complain too loudly since I can't die and there are no load screens in between deaths to slow me down.
  • The Prince's voice acting is decent: I just wish he had an accent. There's something a little off about having both the Prince and Elika speak with American accents. I would've gone with an Antonio Banderas or Tony Shalhoub sound-alike for the role of the Prince.
If you don't own a copy of Prince of Persia, I highly recommend the game. You can get it cheap for the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3 (trophy-enabled game).

Let me leave you with a trailer and a couple reviews for the Prince of Persia. The trailer, by the way, rates up there as one of my absolute favourite trailers of all time and was one of the biggest determining factors in my desire to play the game.



Have a great weekend everyone!