Prince of Persia Hands-On Preview

Written by Joe Martin

November 2, 2008 | 08:01

Tags: #mechner #prince-of-persia

Companies: #ubisoft

Prince of Persia Hands-On Preview

Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Release Date: December 2008

We’ve had some secret concerns about the upcoming Prince of Persia game from Ubisoft lately, so we’ve been waiting until we’ve been hands-on with the game before we really started to make up our minds about it.

And now we have been hands-on. And the news is good.

The worrying thing about the new Prince of Persia was that it looks such a massively different game from the previous trilogy of titles. On the surface, yes it’s still a super-slick platformer, but a lot of the presentation and gameplay mechanics have been tweaked beyond recognition.

Plus, the storyline has been utterly remade and redone. Considering one of the main strengths of the previous Sands of Time trilogy was the plot, making a new story (with no Dagger o’ Time, no less) is a pretty gutsy move.

Prince of Persia Hands-On Preview

A new story needs a new Prince too, so it’s out with the old and in with the new. The old Prince, who we had watched namelessly progress from the naivety of youth in the Sands of Time, through the arrogance of adolescence in Warrior Within to the responsible hero of Two Thrones...is gone. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend.

The new Prince though is just as intriguing as ever – a mysterious wanderer with no apparent claim to a throne at all. A dashing rogue whose enviably athletic body is littered with small scrapes and scars, the new Prince is closer to Disney’s Aladdin as he was portrayed at the start of the film than ever before. He’s swarthy, confident and oh-so-quick witted, his young but well-lined face bandaged in colourful scarves and bravura.

Wandering the equally un-named desert at the start of the game, we’re introduced to the Prince and he seems to be returning from a successful adventure, or perhaps a well-told con. He’d be perfectly happy and content if it wasn't for the fact that he seems to have lost Farah, which in this instalment is the name of his gold-laden donkey and not his princess love-interest.

Prince of Persia Hands-On Preview

As soon as he finds Farah he’ll have all he wants – gold, fame and carpets thicker than this page is tall...but when did anything ever go to plan for a hero like this?

It’s while searching for Farah that the Prince stumbles over Elika, a beautiful and spry young priestess who’s being pursued by several large men. Enamoured as much by the chance to stick his nose into trouble as he is by Elika’s svelte curves, the Prince-who-isn’t-a-prince sets off in pursuit. Maybe they’ve seen his Donkey too.

Whatever well-meaning intentions (and less than well-meaning) the Prince had are quickly swept aside when he has to step in to save Elika, though she quickly makes it clear she can hold her own when she saves his life in return. The magic-wielding Princess is capable of impossible feats, like diving down after the Prince as he falls to his death and pulling him back from the brink in the nick of time.

A few men aren’t the extent of Elika’s troubles though and as the Prince refuses to let her go without an assurance that she’s ok (or until he finds Farah), it becomes obvious that the two will have to learn to work together if they want to survive the coming battle. For reasons unknown an entire army is out to stop Elika as she races to a huge temple, hidden inside the Tree of Life in a secret canyon – inside of which is a fierce malevolence, pulsing with dark energy...and desperate for escape.
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