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Prince of Persia
Pop2008cover
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Series Prince of Persia
Genre(s) Action-adventure, Platform
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) ESRB: T
OFLC: PG
PEGI: 12+
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Distribution


Prince of Persia is an action-adventure and platforming video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on December 2, 2008 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and was released on December 9, 2008 for Microsoft Windows. Prince of Persia is a completely new franchise in the series, with a different story than the previous installments, as well as a new graphic style and gameplay elements.

The game has an ancient Persian setting, although the exact century and country is not revealed. In the game, the player assumes the role of the Prince, whose name is not revealed in the game. The Prince is accompanied by a girl named Elika, whom he met after a large sandstorm diverted him from his course and he ended up in a mysterious land. Players traverse many different environments using the Prince's acrobatic abilities to scale walls and even crawl on the ceilings. Throughout the journey, players combat various different enemies as they attempt to cleanse the land of corruption.

Gameplay

PoP Prince and Elika running

Elika and the Prince explore the world together.

The gameplay in Prince of Persia retains a similar feel to the Sands of Time trilogy, in the sense that the acrobatics, puzzle solving and combat elements remain. However, the game is non-linear, and hence, the players are given the opportunity to explore any part of the world at any time they want to.

A new supporting character, Elika, has a large role in gameplay, in a sense where she saves the Prince from death while in combat or exploring the world. The Prince cannot "die" in this game, as Elika will save him from any danger and bring him back to the last safe point of the game. For example, if the Prince slips and misses a jump, instead of falling to his death, Elika will grab him, and set him back on the last stable platform that the Prince stood on. Elika can also perform many combat moves, some in tandem with the Prince. If the Prince is downed in combat, Elika can protect him as he regains his energy. She also assists him in acrobatics. She boosts the Prince further than he can jump alone using her magical abilities. She is also very acrobatic, performing the same moves as the Prince, with ease. When solving puzzles, Elika plays a role as well. If the Prince does not know where to go next, Elika will guide him in the right direction with a magic compass.

Combat largely differs from that in the Sands of Time trilogy, but is similar to that of the original Prince of Persia trilogy. The majority of combat is one-on-one combat, instead of fighting off hordes of enemies as in the Sands of Time trilogy. The Prince wields a sword, but he also uses his gauntlet as a secondary weapon, using it to block enemy attacks and hurl his opponents in the air by grabbing them. There are four main combat buttons: "sword button", by which the Prince uses his sword to attack enemies; "gauntlet button", by which he can lift and throw up enemies; "Elika button", by which Elika uses her magic to hit enemies; and "acrobatics button", which is useful for dodging and jumping over enemies and interacting with Elika and the environment during combat. There are three stages of the Prince's health in combat: "healthy," "weakened," and "grounded." When the Prince is in his "healthy" state, he is "swift and energetic" as he battles. When an enemy strikes the Prince, he goes into his "weakened" state. He is not as agile in his "weakened" state, and is more vulnerable to being attacked. When the enemy hits the Prince when he is "weakened," the Prince becomes "grounded." He lies on the ground, vulnerable to all enemy attacks. If an enemy attempts to attack again before the Prince recovers, however, Elika will drive back the enemy and put the Prince back to his "healthy" state, but at a cost; the enemy also returns a part of his healthbar.

Acrobatics remain largely unchanged from the Sands of Time trilogy, except that Elika now provides acrobatic support. The Prince is capable of running on walls, sliding down walls, climbing walls, and jumping from wall-to-wall. The Prince utilizes his gauntlet as a tool to break the fall as he slides down a wall. Elika also plays a large role in acrobatics. Elika boosts the Prince further than he can normally go, she saves him if he misses a jump, and she herself is very capable and agile. As the game progresses, the Prince can collect certain concentrated "light seeds" of magic and trade them to get Elika new magical powers.[2]

There is also a skin manager allowing the user to play the game with character models from various Ubisoft games, such as the Prince from the Sand of Time trilogy, Altair from Assassin's Creed and Jade from Beyond Good and Evil.

Synopsis

Characters

Further information: Prince (Prince of Persia)#Prince of Persia (2008 video game)

Despite previous Prince of Persia games, no characters from those games return. Instead, the game primarily focuses on the new Prince character, different from the protagonists of the previous installments, and a new secondary character, Elika, as the duo explores the game's world, freeing the land from the corruption of Ahriman, the primary antagonist of the game.

Story

The adventure begins with the Prince seeking his donkey, Farah, but is caught in a fierce sandstorm. When the storm subsides, he finds himself in a mythical garden of beauty, dominated at its center by a temple which contains the tree of life. The Prince pursues and subsequently saves Elika, who requests that he follows her into the temple. When they arrive inside the temple, Elika's father destroys the tree of life, which frees the evil Ahriman. After being set free, Ahriman, who is a god, begins corrupting the land with evil. Elika's father shows hostility toward the Prince, who fights until her father retreats. Elika explains that there are multiple fertile grounds branched out through the land that she has to reach and heal, in order to again give the tree of life power, imprisoning Ahriman. As the Prince and Elika travel to and heal each fertile ground, Elika reveals her past. She says her mother died, and her father became depressed shortly after. Elika also died, but her father could not handle his grief, and so made a deal with Ahriman. Her father freed Ahriman, who brought Elika back to life in return. As the Prince and Elika make their way back to the temple, they encounter Elika's father once again, who is killed by the Prince. Ahriman encounters the duo, but is held off by the Prince, as Elika heals the tree of life. The Prince eventually realizes that Elika is transferring her own life into the tree to heal it, and is dying again. The Prince cuts down the tree of life, just as Elika's father had done, to bring her back to life. As Ahriman's corruption again plagues the land, the Prince carries Elika into the desert.

Development

PoP2008 Prince-and-Elika

The Prince and Elika running along a wall.

PoP Acrobatic Gameplay

Elika helps the Prince to jump off a special platform.

Prince of Persia's development team began conception right as Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones was released,[3] however, proof of conception for the game was found when, on September 21, 2006 a leaked RAR file contained concept art, although no comment was made by Ubisoft.[4] Also, on January 23, 2008 some screen shots from the game when it was in conception were leaked onto the internet, and again Ubisoft made no comments.[5]

In May 2008, Ubisoft confirmed the game a work-in-progress. They stated that they expect to release the game towards the fourth quarter of 2008, and gave details about the plot and game play. In one such interview, they stated that the general staples of the game play are to remain intact, including platforming, combat, and puzzle solving. The game also focuses more on one-on-one combat, similar to the original Prince of Persia trilogy, rather than fighting dozens of enemies, as in the Sands of Time trilogy. Ubisoft stated that the reason for changing the combat was that it would give players the impression that each enemy was a unique challenge in itself, instead of "just another enemy".

In May 2008, Ubisoft released two official videos of a concept artist designing the Prince and Elika.[6] One video shows a full-bodied new Prince being created with the computer program Photoshop. The other art drawing video detailed Elika.[7] Yet another fast-forward concept art emerged in July, 2008, this time depicting a prime enemy; The Hunter.

The game is to use a heavily modified version of the Scimitar engine, which was also used in Assassin's Creed. Developers chose to use a modified version of this engine because it would allow them to enhance the game by adding more open land, and less linearity. Developers also chose to implement an illustrative graphical style, similar to cel-shaded graphics, but with more detail drawn in.[8]

Both Altair from Assassin's Creed and the Prince from the Sands of Time trilogy are unlockable skins for the Prince. For Elika, she can be given Jade's attire from Beyond Good & Evil or can be made to resemble Farah from the Sands of Time trilogy.[9]

Reception

 Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B+ [10]
Game Revolution B [11]
GameSpot 8.0/10 [12]
IGN 9.3/10 [13]
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic Xbox 360: 86% (based on 22 reviews)[14]
PlayStation 3: 87% (based on 26 reviews)[15]

The game has been received well. IGN writer Hilary Goldstein praised the game, but noted that one must "Embrace the change [to the series]" in order to "fall in love [with it]."[13] Goldstein further elaborated, saying, "The longer you hold on to the style of last generation's Prince of Persia, the harder it will be to master the new one."[13] Goldstein also praised Elika, the secondary character of the game, because of her usefulness. The difficulty of the game was criticized by Goldstein, however. He said, "When you need to double jump, the color bleeds out of the world. When an enemy is about to counter attack, the block button flashes on screen. There's no way to remove these prompts for those who want to add some challenge. At times, Prince feels a bit like Mister Toad's Wild Ride. Sure, you have your hands on the steering wheel, but you're being guided along. I'm all for making things accessible to a broader audience, but there's no reason Ubisoft couldn't also service the hardcore gamer at the same time."[13] X-Play, on the other hand, gave the game a lukewarm review; it received 3/5 stars and was lauded for its originality, introducing new characters and landscapes, and was also praised for its graphics and beautiful scenery. However, the extremely repetitive combat system as well as the lack of a challenge throughout the game was frowned upon.

References

  1. "Prince of Persia: Prodigy Page". GamePro. Retrieved on 2008-05-29.
  2. "E3 stage interview".
  3. "Ubidays Interview".
  4. "Leaked Concept Art".
  5. "Leaked Screenshots". Archived from the original on 2007-10-11.
  6. "Prince Speed Art".
  7. "Elika Speed Art".
  8. "Illustrative graphics in new Prince of Persia".
  9. "Unlockable characters in the new Prince of Persia".
  10. Varanini, Giancarlo (2008-12-02). "Prince of Persia review at 1UP". 1UP. Retrieved on 2008-12-02.
  11. Ferris, Duke (2008-12-03). ""Prince of Persia" review at GameRevolution". Game Revolution.
  12. VanOrd, Kevin (2008-12-02). "Prince of Persia review at GameSpot". GameSpot. Retrieved on 2008-12-02.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Goldstein, Hilary (2008-11-26). "Prince of Persia review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved on 2008-12-01.
  14. "Prince of Persia at Metacritic (Xbox 360)". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-12-02.
  15. "Prince of Persia at Metacritic (Playstation 3)". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2008-12-02.

External links

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