Ubisoft is attempting to rejuvenate the Prince of Persia franchise this time around, with eye-catching illustration-style graphics and a new female sidekick. From the short hands-on time TheGameReviews spent with Prince of Persia it looks to be an accessible and broadly appealing title.
In this installment, the tone appears to have taken a turn to the comical with cheesy grins, quip-filled dialog and a romantic interest. Early cut-scenes throw in some slapstick comedy and close-ups reveal the Prince to have a slightly unnerving toothy grin fixed to his face. Defeating the early enemy guards resulted in a child-friendly but potentially annoying cut scene the foes running away. The whole game had more of a Disney’s Aladdin feel than what you might associate with the Prince of Persia.
Elika, your computer-controlled buddy, has magical powers, including the ability to prevent the Prince from dying every time he falls. If a platform is missed, Elika will save you from your doom with a splash of blue magical energy as a magic hand extends to yours and returns you to safety. If only they’d met 18 years ago, I’d have witnessed a lot less impalements. Elika can also team up in combat to deliver some fantastic double team combos using her magic abilities and trapeze artist-style acrobatics. She also allows for double jumps to negotiate large gaps and will presumably be integral to a number of puzzle elements.
The initial platforming elements in Prince of Persia played out in the usual wall-running, ledge-clambering way, but the Prince has some new abilities such as the ‘roof run,’ where for a short time the player can move between ceiling mounted objects such as rings. A new tool, the gauntlet, will allow the Prince to ‘gripfall’ down vertical walls by sticking his claws in and descending at a safe speed.
There are also new elements to the combat system. Camera zoom gets you right into the action using an almost beat-em-up view, and visually striking bursts and trails of light punctuate the combat sequences. Armed with the gauntlet, the Prince is capable of tossing his opponents high into the air before performing some trademark gymnastic combos.
How the storyline and new sidekick elements develop throughout the game remains to be seen, but Ubisoft are clearly making a bold attempt to revamp the series and attract new audiences while retaining their fans. This new direction might grate with those who enjoyed the angstiness of the previous outing, but Ubisoft will be hoping that if they nail the new platforming and combat elements with style, the majority of gamers will view this as a breath of fresh air.