It is widely recognised by certain members of the gaming community that the Sands of Time trilogy is some of the best gaming to be had. Regardless of what people might think, the time-rewind mechanic and overall journey that takes you across three solid games is as close to perfection in terms of that series that we're going to get. There's always a worry when you take an established franchise and attempt to reinvent it, it's rather like reinventing the wheel.
So I can say I truly admire Ubisoft Montreal when they made their decision to reinvent the Prince of Persia. Since then I've been keeping a sharp eye on the new game's progress and watching it shape up from a concept idea to something that's truly worth playing. What we have here is a story game that's simple to play, beautiful to look at and manages to get by without the need for the previous prince's time dagger and so on.
This is a bold move in terms of gaming in general and let me tell you why.
Time is a dangerous thing to mess around with in terms of game mechanics, Prince of Persia: SoT managed to make it fun and balanced with a perfect blend of death traps, puzzles and combat. To take something as core as the time mechanic and remove it is an even bolder move. It has been replaced by a fresh new approach to the idea that synergises well with an article I wrote recently about Game Over situations and so on.
The new Prince of Persia is a hat-tip to the old; it's taken the free-running system from Assassin's Creed and an iteration of the Scimitar Engine to make this game and right from the get-go it's a fantastic experience. I loved Assassin's Creed and I loved the original Prince of Persia SoT trilogy so I was eager to see how this marriage of ideas and mechanics would synch up.
I can tell you this, if you're a fan of lots of puzzle solving, breakneck combat with multiple opponents and game over screens, you're not going to like this game at all because it thinks outside the box that the game industry seems to have been locked in for years. If you're interested in a new look at game mechanics, a cinematic combat system, free-running that flows beautifully once you learn to master the controls and storytelling, then read on.
Welcome to a new prince, a nameless prince lost in the desert at the game's beginning. He soon meets up with his beautiful sidekick, Elika, a princess of a tribe that has been guarding an ancient secret and prison for a long time. The prison contains Ahriman, the God of Darkness and in a typical Arabian Nights style moment the prison is broken, the god freed and darkness descends upon the prince's world forcing him to team up with this sorceress and save it.
Prince of Persia is one of those games that you need to enjoy for what it attempts to bring to the genre. It takes away many of the old SoT puzzle elements (there are a few puzzles, don't get me wrong) and adds more of a platforming element to the game. There is combat as well, but it's not like SoT in that you're battling more than one foe, these are prolonged several-stage battles against Ahriman's 'Corrupted' the boss-style characters of the game.