The Prince has returned in Prince of Persia, ready to take anything with a vengeance and stop all things evil, or something purely bent on destroying anything in it is path. Prince of Persia is the fourth iteration that is bent on redefining the platform genre in this new middle-eastern adventure of sending dark trees and all things evil back from which they came. With a beautiful art direction, a blithe level of humor, and furthermore gameplay, the prince shows us all that time and change itself is a great and brilliant thing. The storybook version was so missed for such a long time for me personally, that at this point I am content with kissing Ubisoft’s ring for making this decision to dig to the inveterate classics. While the gameplay challenges the platform genre, it loses some notability in the easy and sometimes repetitive tasks that the player must perform. Despite this, Prince of Persia manages to pull players in a newly redefined world that is both convivial and surprises the inveterate need to change the past.
Prince of Persia represents a return to Sands of Time’s storybook amorous, which was completely lost in the sequels. The Prince is a hilarious character of whimsical action and delightful surprise. His royal status is referenced but rarely exposed when he comes across Elika, a princess. Elika represents an interesting sub-arch in the form of the plot. Players will want to know about her and her evil father that unleashed a dark string of evil known as the god Ahriman, set free by Elika’s father. The prince tags along with Elika as they must restore a series of fertile grounds to their former beauty, thereby banishing the black plague that has swathed the land. Storytelling is a beautiful form of this game, and the relationship chemistry is there between both of them. Elika permeates a wonderful charm, while the Prince gains our respect with his amazing banter.
Elika is not just a pointless AI Ubisoft added for the pure justification to have a companion. As the prince, you jump, climb, scale walls and do the typical acrobatics that come in roofruns that show off your skills. Elika’s presence simply augments everything. She will jump on your back as you scale across vines, and perform a pas de deux when traversing a narrow beam. Elika definitely more help to the Prince than he realizes. She is your constant savior, because she cannot let you die. If you fall off, Elika will grab you in a blue aura and take you to the last checkpoint. It’s definitely great to have Elika by your side.
Level design reaches a far new standard, as soon as you set your foot out in the desert that you two are set to journey from each time. This becomes more apparent when you Elika unlock power auras that allow for travel to other worlds and also to unlock some crucial areas. As you unlock new explorable areas by collecting light seeds, you will be able to teleport to another dimension that takes you where you need to go. There’s various plates that range from flying, to scaling walls at immense heights, and just so much more that have left the completely unexplored and mysterious so desirable.
Combat and level designs reach a whole new apex in Prince of Persia, which is beautiful to look at constantly. The vibrant cel-shading and convivial environments are auspiciously tangible. The contrast between certain areas and beautiful vistas are just remarkable.
The only disappointing thing about the Prince of Persia was the deviation from the actual root gameplay that made Sands of Time so wonderful. The sudden moments when Elika save you seem all too scripted, unlike Sand’s of Times’ rewind function that was simply stunning and exhilarating.
While Prince of Persia lacks the rewind that made the series initially light up with such a touch of jocose storybook feel, it is a remarkable pleasure to finally see Ubisoft return to the Prince’s roots in some way or another, and realize that the true magic of the Prince does not really come from the story which is simple enough, but from the atmosphere and the way the story is told.