Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Prince of Persia (2008) (XBOX 360)

- Finished in under 12hrs. The Epilogue took me over 2 hrs.
- I've pretty much played all the prince of persia's since the very first PC game and its many ports including the most excellent XBLA version. I even played the horrible Prince of Persia 3D a bit. I loved Sands of Time but never got around to playing its two sequels (which I will someday). So I was quite excited about this reboot of the series.
- I loved the stylized graphics. It's not exactly cell shaded though it does share quite a few similarities with that style. I loved everything about the way this game looks from the the character design, to the intricate architecture, to the beautiful backgrounds.
- The musical score was also quite excellent. I never got tired of the healing grounds theme which embodied the feelings of wonder, mystery, and hope.
- The gameplay feels closer to sands of time than it does to dragon's lair. It's not quite as on rails as some people might lead you to believe. The "no dying" actually worked better than I expected. It didn't make the game too easy. Instead, it just shifted the challenge to other areas. Frustrating pixel perfect jumping is replaced by environmental based navigation puzzles. This especially comes into play when you start orb, errr light seed, collecting which has some of that same addictive quality as Crackdown did.
- Combat is also quite satisfying. Timing is pretty tight for countering. Combos are pretty easy to chain together. Just make sure you learn the 14 hit combo (which also earns you the sword master achievement) early on since it will make the combat much easier and enjoyable for the rest of the game. Plus, it just looks cool with some amazing animation. Speaking of which the animation throughout the game is quite varied and excellent. I'm a bit tired of all the mini QTE events that are sprinkled throughout the combat (similar to God of War). I'd be a happy man if I never have to do a another rapid fire button press QTE again. It's fine for a while but gets a bit tedious toward the end.
- I really enjoyed the two main characters and the way their relationship developed. I constantly chatted Elika up to see what they would say next. The writing was excellent for the most part and so was the voice acting. It's not quite Uncharted levels but close. Both game leads were voiced by Nolan North which I'm becoming quite a fan. He sort of reminds me of Nathan Fillion but for video game voice overs. I found most of the witty banter quite amusing.
- The story was just average mostly due to the cheesy ,unsatisfying, cop out, lets set it up for a sequel ending. I really didn't like how they don't give you much of a choice on how it ends where it really felt like there should have been a player choice.
- The $10 DLC Epilogue was mostly worth it to me. I got a good 2+ hrs of play out of it. It had some nice environmental puzzles though the combat was pretty repetitive and a bit frustrating. Quickly defeating the boss that keeps repeating depended more on your QTE skills. The ending even in the epilogue kind of sucked where it just kind of stops and sets it up for the sequel. Also, I didn't think it adequately explained your actions at the end of the main game.
- Speaking of recycled material. You revisit each area: once dark/corrupted and again light/healed which is fine because they feel quite different, and your objectives are different (reaching the healing grounds vs orb collecting). You also fight each of the 4 main bosses 6 times each. Yeah the setting changes each time. There are some minor differences (especially for the warrior) but yeah there is quite a bit of asset reuse. It's no where near as bad as say Devil May Cry 4 but still it's pretty blatant.
- Did all the speed run achievements which were quite entertaining.

Highly Recommended. It was a thoroughly enjoyable, highly accessible experience. It definitely lives up to the Prince of Persia name.

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