The Prince's leap into 3D has a reasonably carefree landing
For the longest time, I would not hear of this game. The Prince... in 3D? It seemed to be a sure recipe for disaster. I am delighted to say that I was thoroughly (pleasantly, that is!) surprised by this title. The established Prince of Persia adventure/action game-play translates rather well to 3D, and this continues the overall story well. Not everything in the game works out equally well, but most of it is great. The introductory video brings you up-to-date on the story well, and after that you're in a situation by now familiar to the Prince. What was plentiful in the first two games... ledges, platforms, traps, puzzles requiring reflexes and skill and last but definitely not least, swordplay, is well-represented here. In addition to all that the first two games allowed you, there are now also ropes and bars to climb and swing on/from, some moving of boxes(something that seems mandatory to include in this type of game, at least at the point this was released) and even a little swimming. The basic game-play is very reminiscent of the first two, with the major difference being the camera(which is now dynamic, and usually in a third-person view) and the addition of the third dimension. This continues the tradition started by the second, of the Prince being a little heavier to move around than the first time he was saving his princess. Comparisons to Tomb Raider, the game that started the whole third-person action/adventure game thing, are pretty much inevitable. The dear Prince is hardly Lara Croft, not as agile or fast(I say it's all that clothing, but what the hey, I guess you can't be a Prince if you haven't got some fashion sense). The game-play is perhaps less fast-paced than other 3D adventure games. Personally, this didn't bother me, perhaps because I enjoy and am used to the game-play of the classic Prince of Persia games. He gets to play around with more weapons than he did the first two times; his trusty sword, the scimitar, of course returns, and they are joined by a staff and two triple-bladed(!) knives. Each has advantages and downsides, in speed, range and lethality. Each, however, is also *really* cool to fight with. The fight system of the first two returns, though it is improved upon, requiring faster reflexes still(!), and "feinting", meaning pretending to attack, is added. The extra dimension also makes dodging more interesting. In addition to the mêlée weapons, the Prince is now also given a bow; while the game doesn't allow for much sniping(*by* the Prince, at least... *of* him, on the other hand...), this is a good tool and an interesting new addition. What makes it even more so is the fact that there are magic arrows to fire. What these do, I won't detail here, it's simply too good and should be experienced first-hand(or one could read the well-written descriptions of some of them in the manual). In fact, this has more magic available to the Prince than the first two. The first two both had magic and supernatural forces, but the poor Prince was always at their mercy, and never given the chance to wield any of this awesome force, himself. Now, I'm not saying that you're gonna get Force Powers this time around, but let's just say that the Prince will encounter magic that helps him more than once during this particular quest to save the Princess. As with the first two, the story progresses a little when(though not every single time) you complete a level, and this one is rather interesting and fairly well told. It's also highly dramatic. To anyone who has completed the second game; this does not build upon the one loose thread left by the end of that. The graphics are great(and hold up pretty well), with enormous detail put into everything... heck, just watch the opening cut-scene. You've now got a whole new kingdom(and more, even) to explore, too! The loading time to get into the game is slow as a direct result, but once you're in, it loads very quickly. The video sequences are quite well-done, though the programmed(as opposed to fully animated and rendered) ones aren't quite as impressive as the rest(fortunately, most of them are fully done). The sound varies(levels need work), though the acting is mostly good. The music fits well, both in general and in combat mode(where it changes to a more fast-paced, intense piece). As a new feature, you can now save anywhere you want(provided you're standing still), which I'm sure many feel detract from the overall intensity and challenge(which it arguably does). Personally, I thought this was a good thing, because it greatly lessens the frustration that may come with getting far and then dying from a trap that you hadn't figured out completely how to bypass. The difficulty is adequate... it felt like a Prince of Persia game throughout, rather than Tomb Raider in Ancient Persia. Now, that was all the good... I'm afraid it is my sad duty to report to any readers that there is some bad, as well. The fighting system takes the tune-up well, but the enemies aren't that good at using it(whereas in the first two games, they did so flawlessly, undoubtedly due to the much simpler coding), and (much too) often, you can win fights just by hacking and slashing away at random(gone are the glorious days of the reflex- and skill-requiring chess-matches). The AI needs serious attention. The camera works directly against you at times. There are some bugs(most aren't too bad), including a few(not very many) "show"(well, 'game')-stoppers. The game is less free and open than the first two(the first, in particular); no forcing enemies into traps, for example. There seemed to be less gore and blood, though the tone is about as relentless as that of the first two. No time limit, except for one point. I recommend this to any fan of the first two and/or of 3D adventure. 7/10
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?