How the Prince of Persia series has fared this Generation
[Disclaimer!]The Prince of Persia series is a epic saga, and has boasted many games over the years, as well as a comic following, a movie, and many graphic novels. The series is rife with action and plot(ting). That having been said, this blog will more than likely spoil quite a few things for you if you haven’t played the games in question- or if you are ignorant as to the lore of the Prince’s universe. By all means, if you don’t care or you already know most of this stuff, then read on! Otherwise, it might be best if you wait to read this until you’ve finished your most recent adventure with the Prince… Thanks again for the consideration folks, and as usual, I hope you enjoy this opinion blog. The views reflected here are mine, and mine alone, not those of anyone working at GameInformer, nor any of the development teams at Ubisoft that have worked on the series’ most recent iterations. The main focus of this blog will be the two main console games released during this gen, however, I may allude to some prior events from either the Sands of Time trilogy or even the good old arcade games Prince of Persia I and II, which were insanely difficult. The classics and remade HD versions of the original trilogy won’t really be discussed at all, as they are literally the exact same except for a graphical upgrade. Let’s begin then shall we?
Part One: Prince of Persia (2008)
Even when all things are said and done, and it’s been several long years since the first and last time I booted 2008’s Prince of Persia “reboot” up on a console or the computer, I must simple say: the game is a work of art that will stand the test of time. Allow me to clarify. While, yes, over time, some of the game’s mechanics may inevitably fall apart and not be as memorable as they once were, especially when compared to games of the future- the visual style, much like TLOZ: Wind Waker, will be everlasting and immortalize this version of the Prince forever. Combine this fact with a very fresh story, which, instead of being a true reboot with respect to the word, serves a sequel to the Sands of Time trilogy and even the 2010 intermission-release The Forgotten Sands, and you’ve created an entirely new universe with only one returning character, but more importantly, you’ve reinvigorated a series. Sure, it wasn’t as well received by some fans as it was by others, but Prince of Persia (2008) is the game that finally solidified my eternal love and respect for the series. This is one of the few series’ that I can actually state, with good reason, that I have loved and enjoyed every single title within it, even with their flaws, which they have had. I would give all of the Prince’s games released to date at least an 8.0 overall. Even the arcade classics were beautiful with their insanely challenging lack of lives, hideous and grotesque enemies, and flawless traps and combat. It’s the challenge, the story, the characters, and the atmosphere that have always drawn me to the Prince’s series, and those aspects of the games are what always will draw me in as well. Without spoiling entirely too much, as you should definitely play the game for yourself, as it is well worth the $10 or so that you’ll probably find it for, and worth the twelve hours you’ll put into it- I will say that the combination of the visual appearance, overarching tragedy of the story and what the Prince himself is still experiencing after the events of Azad and more from TSoT, and the aesthetics themselves make this a must-play game. Once you go Prince, nothing else makes sense. This game was a well-realized sequel, and the main reason that the series was reinvented enough to bolster sales, create another game taking place within the “original” trilogy between games 1 and 2, and even foster a movie as well. In essence, this was a step in the right direction for Ubisoft.
Part Two: The Forgotten Sands
Everything about the Prince’s most recently experienced (in gaming terms anyways, not in the actual cannon itself) adventure screams “homage!” and “that’s new!” at the same time. While it takes place between the modern-PoP trilogy’s games number 1 and 2, and serves as an introduction to what the Prince went through in the years before his return in the second games’ story, The Forgotten Sands is an entirely new and fresh adventure as well, and not the same old same old from before, as great as that was. Sure, many of the mechanics have remained the same over the years, only being improved and not really changed around too much, however, this game also introduces a bevy of new powers, items, characters, and story to the series- which is a pleasant addition. Fitting in further with the new-old style, the Prince’s attire is a mixture of that of the first game’s and second’s, while not really leaning more towards one or the other yet- probably to show his gradual transformation over time, and to not change as drastically as happened between Warrior Within and The Two Thrones. The story of this one is a lot more linear than 2008’s Prince of Persia, which brings it back into the fold in terms of gameplay similarity more than the enjoyable, albeit still black sheep 2008 release. In this way, TFS fits more in with the Sands of Time trilogy’s gameplay and aesthetics, which is to be expected I suppose. I thoroughly enjoyed the epic platforming, the ever-intense and close up and personal combat, and the exciting conclusion of the game as well. Heck, it even threw in a small challenge mode on the side! Linearity aside, the game was as epic as the 2008 PoP, and even truer to the tried and tested formula, with the same good old results as usual. I loved it, and have even recently replayed it again on my ‘casual’ Xbox Live account, just because I’m getting back into some of the more enjoyable older games I’ve acquired over the years. I’d definitely recommend this game as well, especially as a starting point for relative newcomers to the series, as you won’t really have to have played the first game for this one to make sense story-wise, while it does allude to Azad and the times before…
Part Three: The Sands of Time [Movie]
Of the three things I’ve mentioned here- game, game, and movie, I’d have to say this one is understandably the weakest link in the Prince’s most recent endeavors. However, let it be known that, video game continuity aside, standing as a testament to Disney and Bruckheimer on its own, The Sands of Time Movie actually didn’t do too bad of a job depicting their version of the Prince’s character through Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ll admit, while at first,a s with any video game related movie, I had my doubts- by the end of the movie, I was actually feeling pretty good about the service it did the Prince. The Sands of Time is more of a hybridized story than anything else. It is, in part, true to the first game in the original trilogy, but it also differs in many ways- both massive and subtle. The movie actually combines factors from all three of the original games, as well as the addition of the TFS interlude. Jake Gyllenhaal’s looks and appearance fit in with the Prince of games 1.5, 2, and 3, as do his clothing choices and weapon selection (mainly the two swords of 2 and 3). The supporting cast and characters fit with the story of the first game, with the exceptions being a few added characters here and there for excitement and general movie mayhem, which was of course to be expected if we’d learned anything from Doom. The narrative and plot-drive itself was basically a hybridized and abridged version of the first game and Jerry Bruckheimer’s own story, penned by whatever scribe he had slaving away at the PoP movie back in Disney and Bruckheimer studios, and it wasn’t too shabby. As with all video game movies, this was nothing more than an adaptation of the true story, due in part I am sure to copyright violations and also to the creative whims of the producers themselves. While some things were left out in the movie that were bigger in the story, the same thing was done vice versa in the story to movie as well. All in all, while this isn’t a must watch, if you take me up on playing game 1.5, then you can rest easy knowing that, should you choose to absorb your game one information from a hour and a half movie than the eight hour game, you won’t miss too terribly much.
If you’ve never been a big fan of the Prince of Persia series, but you enjoy platformers or you are an Assassin’s Creed fan such as myself, then you should really give this particular Ubisoft series some of your time, or at least look into it. Before there was Assassin’s Creed, there was the equally as dark story of the Prince, so just think on that when you go around diving off of rooftops as Ezio Auditore. Prince of Persia has been around for decades, even before Ubisoft acquired and revitalized it, and it has always been a series of words on the tongues of many in terms of popularity and renown. So go try it for yourself, and see how you think it fared this generation in your own opinion… As always, feel free to contact me as you see fit here- whether it be through private message if you wish to discuss or clarify something, through the comments and feedback, or simply through a high approval ratings. Have a great weekend folks.