Prince of Persia (2008) Review for Xbox 360

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The platforming is made effortless thanks to the superb control system
The platforming is made effortless thanks to the superb control system

The platforming is made effortless thanks to the superb control system

If there's one area of the platforming that lets the side down it's two of the magic abilities you gain. Of the four, two of these essentially send the Prince and Elika along a set path, either to another magical plate or to a platform with very little interaction required on your part. The other two try to do something a bit different by being far more interactive and at the same time often extremely annoying. One sees you climbing up walls and the other sees the Prince fly like Harry Potter on his broomstick, except without the broomstick, and on rails. The problem with both is that they are about avoiding obstacles, with one bad move resulting in a return to the last checkpoint. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that there are some quite lengthy sections that combine all the magical plates, without a mid-way checkpoint, and the camera angle is often so bad that you can't see obstacles until it's too late. While these sections look quite dazzling, they fit rather uneasily into the game as a whole and we'd have quite happily traded them for more traditional platforming sections.

And that brings us to the second main sticking point: the relationship between the Prince and Elika. Elika is extremely likeable, voiced well and with a character that's easy to care for. The Prince isn't. To be fair, he grew on us, with his jock-like dialogue slowly fading as he became more aware of the situation and his relationship with Elika blossomed, but by the end he was still just a guy who we cared very little for. Part of this is down to the choice of voice actor, which happens to be the very same guy who played Nathan Drake in Uncharted on PS3.

In Uncharted he pulled off the cocky modern day Indiana Jones very well, and he does a good job here too. It's just that for the relationship to work here he needed to be a more rounded character. At the end of the game there are a few scenes that would have gone down in video game history had that relationship worked, but they fell slightly flat. It's by no means a complete failure, with much of the dialogue from the Prince, Elika, and the supporting cast of enemies being exceptionally good, but what is a great game could have been elevated to classic status had this key relationship been perfected.

If the relationship had been told entirely through the actions of the characters rather than their spoken words (perhaps in a way similar to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) there'd be no question that Ubisoft had done a good job. The way to the two leads interact with one another is quite magnificent, from a physical point of view, with the Prince catching Elika as she leaps onto ledges, carrying her on his back as he moves across vines and switching places with a hand-held spin if they cross paths on a tight beam or ledge. The interaction during combat is equally spectacular, with the combos you're able to pull off being real visual highlights.

Hands down the best Ubisoft game in years

Hands down the best Ubisoft game in years

It's the environments and boss characters that stand out the most though, with the sights on offer here rivalling the best we've ever seen in a video game. The painting-like visual style gives the game a unique appearance perhaps only comparable to Okami, but it's so much more impressive here. The environments are truly epic in scale - so much so that you'll want to spend time simply taking it all in, especially once the area has been healed and returned to its beautiful natural state. Best of all, the frame rate (Xbox 360 version tested) is flawless for the most part. We experienced the odd moment of tearing and some very minor frame rate drops, but they were rare occurrences.

Ever since Ubisoft revealed its reboot of the Prince of Persia franchise there have been whispers of "game of the year", and it's to Ubisoft's credit that it has delivered a game that absolutely delivers on its promise, trumping Assassin's Creed in every way. Game of the year is perhaps a stretch too far, but Ubisoft Montreal has come tantalisingly close to creating a real masterpiece. There's no doubt that a sequel is coming; we only hope that the Prince and Elika have some time to work on their relationship in the time being.

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User Comments

draytone's Avatar

draytone

Just picked up a copy on ebay for 85p... quite enjoy buying older games on the cheap now.
Posted 09:32 on 22 February 2012
Tom_York's Avatar

Tom_York

Just looking through these review scores and BANG! you gave prince of persia a 9!? what exactly were you smoking?
Posted 05:09 on 23 January 2009
Drosera's Avatar
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Drosera

boring as all hell....Run around. Fight enemies that wait for you and stand there. Beat them and release Elika's cleansing power. Spend the next coupla hours collecting light seeds. Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z
Posted 10:24 on 16 January 2009
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adam

the games a bag of sh*t just got it and im taking it back the same day all it is just jumping about and runing other games a by far better
Posted 23:47 on 07 January 2009
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Axcalay

I have just finished it. Has left me with no feeling of accomplishment. I never swore once or threatened to throw the pad at the wall. I didn't try and rip my hair out. This is diluted PoP. Liked it for what it is, but I would have loved more of a challenge.
Posted 01:32 on 06 January 2009
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DETHDEVIL PSN

What I find disappointing is the cookie cutter gamers everyone has become. This game is about the experiance. I enjoyed it and I think others would enjoy it if people would just set aside expections and hype and just enjoy games. I've been gaming for 20 years and had every console released. Never have gamers been so picky.Every game ever made gets repetitive at some point. SoT trilogy is over,time for something new, quit whining and nitpicking games to death and just play and enjoy them if you dont like it sell and let the people who do enjoy it
Posted 16:30 on 03 January 2009
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lytwalker

It's definitely less challenging than most games like this, but it does require more thought and a bit of skill (mostly timing though), to beat the bosses later on in the game.

While playing it, it became apparent that ubisoft was trying to remove as much of the frustration you get from other platformer/action/adventure sequences in games and make a more fluid experience. At no point did I ever feel extremely annoyed at anything in this game. It was easy, admittedly, but it was just plane fun to play through.
Posted 12:24 on 21 December 2008
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Anonymous

This game is a huge disappointment. There's no skill needed if you can't die... the lack of challenge and weird fighting system had me bored after less than an hour of gaming. So glad I only rented this. If you think that this game is good, go back and play the Sands of Time for 10 minutes and you'll see the light. I did. New prince's animations are choppier than old prince's...
Posted 20:48 on 18 December 2008
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†SatansPriest†

**** this look like it would be ****ing sh*t.
I loved all the prince of persia games untill now
-10/10
Posted 01:31 on 18 December 2008
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Nilesh

Some are saying that the protagonist is not a prince and does not honor the POP series, in fact he is a prince but this details is not exploited in this series, maybe it will gives us more light on the next one UBI will made. Good Graphics, a bit repetitive and some lags. 3.5/5
Posted 05:45 on 16 December 2008
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cJw

Where's the stupid enemies!? Why not through in some fodder to show off the combat system? Wasted chance at an awesome game.

2 out or 5, imo.
Posted 05:05 on 16 December 2008
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Jordan

Lovely game, am enjoying the game for what it is, a beautiful, relaxing swagger through a glorious world. The naysayers see reptition and overt ease, I see a game that knows it's not hardcore, but appeals nonetheless. Take PoP for what it is, don't attempt to make it into a frustrating, run-of-the-mill platformer. Enjoy the ride, then go back and pick up that tough achievement.
Posted 17:10 on 15 December 2008
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POPFanboy

I agree Ubisoft is simply going haywire about their games. Far Cry 2 was another TERRIBLE Game. FC 1 was so better.

AC was pathetic. Sadly now its their Best Franchise - Prince Of Persia that takes the hit. But its still performed well. I thought this game would get average Critic ratings of 7 or something. But its done well.
Posted 15:01 on 12 December 2008
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Tucansam

Boss fights are terrible, fighting mechanics are horrendous.
Very repetitive, fast travel makes it a lot easier to cope with.
Only wacked fanbois would say this game is what it sshould be, because it is definitely not. Rental at best, I would not buy this game.

Assassins Creed now Prince of Persian ...you need to tighten up your crew Ubisoft, so much undelivered potential...step outside of the box
Posted 15:14 on 11 December 2008
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Runn1n9 wAt3r

This game looks amazing. at first the cel shading turned me off, but it looks like they did a beautiful job with it. i cant wait to get it!
Posted 21:48 on 10 December 2008

Game Stats

9
Out of 10
Prince of Persia (2008)
  • Great platforming gameplay
  • Stunning visual style
  • Brilliant boss encounters
  • The Prince is slightly too cocky
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 05/12/2008
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 923 82
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