Written by: Russell Davidson, CC2K Sports Editor
In this review, Russell Davidson celebrates the accessibility of the latest in this venerable franchise.
Let me start by saying I don’t normally go for such games, games such as this. Swords. Sorcery. Wizards and so on. A little too D&D for me. So why did I get it? I’d heard some great things, like the neato visuals, the cool acrobatics, the straightforward gameplay, things that intrigued me. So I got it, and here I am.
The new Xbox 360 game Prince of Persia has, as you may have guessed, a Prince, who runs around Persia. I had no background in this long-running series, so I had nothing to compare it to, and that, I think, worked in my favor. I could only be disappointed or pleased by the game on its own merits, not by comparing it to past incarnations. Instantly upon starting the game, the art direction grabs you. All the backgrounds, the scenery, are done in a lush, detailed style, very pleasing to look at. More often than not I’d let my Prince hang by his fingernails from a cliff just a little bit longer than necessary just so I could look around and check out the world these developers created. Every frame is like a painting. This is a plus.
There’s also a welcome simplicity to the way the game is played. Often a single button press can take care of the task at hand, not some crazed 10-button combo. This makes the game easier than most, something I can appreciate. So you hit your one button and watch the Prince skid and vault and leap and fly, you feel like a pro. It’s almost like the game is doing a lot of the work for you, and that’s ok with me, it’s a nice change. You can’t even die, as falling or being smashed has Elika, your trusty princess/babe/sidekick, using her magic to save you. I liked this, as when you “perish” there’s no reloading, no delay, as Elika simply plucks you from certain death and places you back where you were. There’s a flow here that I really dug, a seamlessness. You go from level to level hopping around, battling the occasional bad guy, collecting life-force or whatever those shiny things were, saving the universe, or maybe just Earth. It ain’t complicated.
And that’s not to say the game is a walk through the park. There’re lots of levels to complete before the game is over, though after a while, there’s a repetitiveness, a sense of doing the same things over and over, but I didn’t mind, since what I was doing over and over was fun. Indeed, Prince of Persia seems a game put out there for those of us that aren’t so hardcore, aren’t so into games that that’s all we do. I welcome this trend. Every game on the market doesn’t have to be EPIC. For every Bioshock there should be a Super Monkey-Ball. For every Gears of War there should be a Pac-Man. For every 50-hour extravaganza there should be a 20-hour Prince of Persia.
The story? The narrative? Some mumbo-jumbo about ancient realms and evil kings and restoring the “fertile ground.” Whatever. I glazed over when that stuff was forced upon me. The script was, shall we say, forgettable? You could listen, I suppose, pay attention, I guess, but I’m not sure it would add to the experience.
So yeah, I liked it. But more than that, I liked what they're done in terms of scale and gameplay. Let's embrace what they've created, not complain that it's too short or not challenging enough. Heck, my REAL life is hard enough, why would I want my games to always be?