June 23, 2010

Now With Way More Water

I really, really enjoyed what people call PoP 08. It was a great, casual experience, and was a really good time. When I heard, for the next Prince of Persia, they were going back to the old storyline and old ways, I was a bit worried. I never played those games, and I wanted to play more of what I liked. Still, I was willing to give it a chance, and gave Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands a rental.

It was damn good.

Now, I didn’t feel like it was as sort of a… Polish experience as PoP 08. You can tell it was rushed out the door to meet the movie. At the same time, the game is completely playable and completely fun. It’s a bit more hardcore than PoP 08, but not enough to really be a problem. I set it to Easy to keep combats from being tough, and there were only like… 2 or 3 platforming sections that felt nearly insurmountable, and they were right before the last boss. It saves when you’d want it to. It’s a solid, solid game.

There are a few things about it that confuse me, though. For instance, I don’t know what the point of limiting the number of rewinds is. I feel like Elika didn’t ruin the fun with her easy access to redos, and I didn’t understand why I was able to run out of rewinds. It was never a huge deal, but maybe that would have been something they would have dealt with if they had more time.
Additionally, there’s a level up system. I know those are in style and cool, but I just didn’t see what point it served in this game. The only reason I was excited about hitting a level up was because there was achievements associated with hitting certain milestones. You could learn a bunch of spells, but I didn’t find them all that useful. I upgraded all my basic attack power and HP and such first, and did fine. (Granted, I was on easy. Maybe combat requires those spells more on Normal.)

The main thing this game brings, gameplay-wise, is the Water manipulation. This seems weird, but basically, the castle the Prince is in is the leakiest castle ever. There are spouts of water and waterfalls everywhere. Very early on, the Prince gets a power where you pull the left trigger, and it solidifies water around you. This lets you climb up columns of water, run across water walls, and so on. They do some really intelligent stuff with this mechanic as you progress through the game, making you deactivate to jump through waterfalls, then reactivate to climb up the next one, and so on. It’s pretty nice. They manage to use it enough so it isn’t annoying, but is a nice platforming challenge. I appreciated that.

As far as a purchase goes, much like PoP 08, I can’t recommend it full price. It really isn’t all that long, and while they want you to replay it to finish leveling up (since I don’t think you can hit max level on one playthrough without finding every single hidden item for EXP) that doesn’t really seem like a fun time. However, once it gets cheap, or if you can Gamefly or rent it like me, you really must play it. It is a lot of fun. I miss the whole PoP 08 world and so on, but I had a great time with this game. A solid title.

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