Prince of Persia Gameplay
Entering the temple, the Prince quickly realises exactly how massively he is out of his depth. Elika tries to warn him and turn him away, warning him about the danger of Ahriman.
Ahriman, questions the Prince – Ahriman is a legend! The god of darkness!
He’s real, Elika assures him. Very
real and, as Elika’s father cuts down the tree that is sealing this evil deity in his tomb, we get to see our first glimpse of him as a black ocean starts to spill forth and fill the chamber.
Like the Sands of Time in the previous games, Ahriman’s primary power is one of corruption. Around the Prince, the world changes and bends to Ahriman’s will as he wakes. Earthquakes rip open seams into the fabric of the earth and inky tendrils twist and distort Elika’s foes into far greater evils – monsters!
Naturally though, as the world shatters a new path to victory is formed...if only there was one nimble enough to navigate it.
It’s here that the real gameplay starts and you realise that all this exposition and plot has been little more than a tutorial that was also teaching you to use the new moves you’ll need. There’s the ceiling walk, the gauntlet slide and the special attacks.
The tutorial finished, the game quickly wants to show you just how different the combat in Prince of Persia
is from anything you might have expected by throwing you into battle with one of Ahriman’s twisted minions. The Prince is a capable warrior, with a double-edged sabre on his side and an armoured, clawed gauntlet on one hand, but these monsters are still a challenge even for him.
The combat in Prince of Persia
is now much more about one-on-one battles than carving your way through thronged masses. Ahriman may be a god, but his power isn’t yet absolute and while he struggles to rectify that you’ll have to face off against his few servants. They are tough, twisted and tricky, so each battle is like an cage mage; you’ll rely on your ability to read your opponent and counter his blows before they land. Button mashing isn’t going to help.
Luckily though, Elika isn’t just there for eye-candy and is a capable aide to the Prince as he staves off their attackers. Elika never falls directly under the player's control, but by pressing Y you can spur her into context-sensitive action and call for her help.
There are tonnes of special moves to find by trying different combos, but our favourite was grabbing the enemy and launching them into the air, at which point Elika could be provoked into providing an extra air-borne kick-attack. The animation is perfect.
There are good points and bad points to this re-jigged approach to combat though and, while the good news is that it makes the fighting more involved and dramatic, the bad news is that the fights can occasionally go on for too long. Even the early battles can last for a good ten minutes or so if you don’t play them right – more if you’re cautious thanks to low health.
One thing we definitely loved about the combat thought was the combination of animation and character design. All the enemies we saw looked unique and interesting and each one could be met with both blade, magic and wit thanks to the ‘Talk’ button that pushes the Prince to comment or chat with Elika.
In fact, the Talk button is perhaps one of the best things about the game, allowing players who want it an extra little bit of plot or insight into two characters who, despite their inspirations, manage to eschew their clichés and become wholly individual and interesting.