Boss encounters, which crop up before you are able to cure each area, are far more impressive, often requiring you use the environment as well as your primary attack options. The final encounters are even better - they require more thought than just what attack type to use and take place across numerous locations. The beginning of one boss fight, which confuses you with a number of fake Elikas, stands out as a real highlight, and, while the solution is very simple, requires an understanding of game's core mechanic.
Fighting actually takes up a fairly small part of the game, with acrobatic exploration, platforming and puzzle solving being the core of the experience. You might think that the inability to die would lessen the thrill of leaping about high above the ground, but it doesn't. Instead it liberates you, making you feel free enough to do whatever you want, safe in the knowledge that Elika will grab you and return you to a sure-footed position if it doesn't work out. Ubisoft has gone to great lengths to make moving about as fun as possible, giving you the illusion of control and skill while often doing things for you.
You have three basic moves: jump, interact and use magic. Jumping is pretty self explanatory, allowing the prince to leap onto ledges, wall and ceiling run and flip off poles. Interacting is more or less limited to using large gold rings as holding points during long wall and ceiling runs, with a tap of the button being all it takes. Magic can only be used when you reach one of the many plates in each area, with god Ormazd giving Elika power to reach new areas. The Prince is also able to slide down walls using his gauntlet, allowing him to reach seemingly inaccessible areas. Your final tool during platforming is essentially a double jump with the aid of Elika. By tapping the Elika button while in mid air, she'll grab you and propel you forwards onto whatever platform had been just out of reach. This looks brilliant and simply never gets old.
At times during the platforming sections it feels like you're in a glorified Quick Time Event but without the pop-up button commands. The prince almost always positions himself so you can move from one platform/ledge/pole to another without doing anything but press jump, and things like wall and ceiling running effectively only need you to press a single button. Somehow this actually works, injecting pace into the platforming - a gameplay mechanic that is usually quite laboured and slow. It's hand holding in the extreme, especially when tied to the generous Elika checkpoint system, but it's great fun and never a chore. The Prince even moves across ledges while hanging from his hands at a faster pace than most game characters walk.
To make use of the superb platforming engine Ubisoft has developed there's a considerable amount of collecting to do in Prince of Persia. Each magic power requires a certain number of light seeds to unlock, with more and more needed as you progress. With 45 released after each area is cleansed (plus a bunch for each main boss defeated) and with our end total being bang on 650, you get an idea about the time you're going to need to spend leaping about trying to reach remote locations. Although compulsory to an extent (you don't need to collect all the light seeds), this never became a chore, with the enemy-free locations being a joy to navigate. It seems Ubisoft learnt a lot from the rather pointless flags you had to collect in last year's Assassin's Creed.
Breaking up the action and platforming are puzzles, usually built around the idea that the game world is in fact a working city with various cogs, levers and switches being part of the inner workings, not just objects placed there for the sake of the game. These also represent the only part of the game in which you could conceivably get stuck, as Elika doesn't give you anything more than a few slight hints. Considering she'll save your life repeatedly, point you in the right direction if you're lost and generally be on hand to offer info, this comes as quite a shock, but some careful thought should see you through.