Prince of Persia (2008) Review for Xbox 360

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Probably the most gorgeous game you'll play this year
Probably the most gorgeous game you'll play this year

Probably the most gorgeous game you'll play this year

Despite Prince of Persia's ancient setting, there's something very modern about the game design that could well be used as a template for many games to come. In Ubisoft's latest you can't die. Jump off a cliff, get stabbed by a dark demon or fall into a pool of dark corruption all you like, because you'll get saved and returned to safety. It might sound like a gimmick destined to make for an entirely forgettable, unrewarding experience, but it's not. Prince of Persia does away with one of the most fundamental game design rules and is all the better for it.

The Prince is a cocky guy, no doubt aware of his rippling muscles and rugged good looks, so when an attractive young lady appears in the middle of the desert it's no surprise that he takes an interest. Elika, clearly a girl from the rich side of town, appears to be running from her father, and she's important enough to have guards trying to stop her escape. All isn't quite as it seems, with Elika's father being the King and some kind of deal being made between himself and Ahriman, the evil dark lord. After a fight inside an ancient shrine, corruption (a kind of dark matter) is spread throughout the land, and the once beautiful kingdom is thrust into darkness.

Being the good guy he is, the Prince takes it upon himself to go with Elika on her quest to rid the world of this corruption, revitalising one area at a time. Inside each of these 20 zones is a patch of fertile ground on which a magical tree sits. Elika is able to use her own magical energy to restore life to the area, ridding the corruption and releasing 45 light seeds into the surrounding area. These are used to unlock new magical powers which are needed to reach certain parts of the game world.

This wouldn't be too tricky if it wasn't for the way the city has crumbled (with platforms often being held up by narrow pillars and broken away from each other) and the evil corrupted beings that now live there. The game world is essentially split into four, with each zone ruled by one of Ahriman's slaves - enemies so corrupted that they now possess an incredible amount of power - with your goal being to make it to each boss' 'lair' before dispatching them for good.

The bosses are wonderfully designed

The bosses are wonderfully designed

Although Prince of Persia is most definitely an action game, combat is only ever against single enemies. As you make your way through the open, albeit fairly linear landscape, attempting to find each of the fertile patches of land, you'll come across plenty of standard corrupted enemies. These are pretty easy to kill, with the Prince able to perform some rather spectacular combos in conjunction with Elika - you can even kill them before they've been spawned properly. Each of the four face buttons perform a different attack (sword, gauntlet, Elika and air), and these can be chained together in many different ways.

Finding an opening is more or less about timing a block (which results in a flash of white light) in order to then counter with a string of devastating blows. It's not quite as simple as it sounds though, with the state of an enemy determining what attack type you need to start off with. For example, when an enemy is completely transformed due to corruption you need to start an attack with Elika, with all other forms of attack proving completely useless. You can't die, of course, but if Elika needs to save you from the jaws of death (usually if you press the wrong button during one of the enemies' QTE attacks) your foe will regain some, if not all of its health.

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mundelein's Avatar
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mundelein

the only positive to the new pop is the artwork i thought it was really well done, aside from that the rest of the game is repetitive you cant die which i personally think is rediculous who ever heard of a game where you cant die whats the point and whats with the one on one fights, fighting multiple bad guys at one time was one of the aspects of the old prince of persia games that made them great. also i thought the accents were terrible and the scenes where you fly on elikas back the prince looks stiff as a board, this game is just a big load of horse sh*t
Posted 06:16 on 09 December 2008
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kinrogin

I bought this game one hour after it was released for sale at the 24 hour wal-mart and played it as much as I could (which was constantly except for one 8 hour work shift). Beat it twice, once to win and once for the achievements. It is a beautiful game and as an avid PoP fan, I'd say it was worth the wait and worth the 60$ I shelled out for it. The reviewer is right too, unlimited life doesn't mean a boring gameplay. Can't wait to see what comes next, thats for sure.
Posted 04:53 on 08 December 2008
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Anonymous

is it just me or is the fact u don't die AT ALL really retarded. i tried standing in front of both enemies (one at a time of course) and bosses and nothing kills you. they just hit you. and u get knocked down. and u get back up. again. and again. and again. and again.

WWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY????? ???!!!!!!!!!!!!

not being able to die from falling is bad enough...but in fights too? jesus
Posted 08:39 on 06 December 2008
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houston

this game is a traveshamockery of PoP games, I bought it from best buy on dec 2, I was excited to play it but quickly found it to be extremely repetitive and boring, there is no killing, seldom one on one fights which are very slow moving, and the boss fights are terrible especially against the concubine. the only positive are the graphics, this game is a total rip off easily the biggest regret I have of games i've purchased, don't waste your time.
Posted 07:15 on 06 December 2008
what the hell?'s Avatar
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what the hell?

its sad to see another classic game fall to modern greed and idiocy. this game isnt bad but why is it a prince of Persia game when it has NOTHING to do with the price of Persia??? i'd have preferred to have this game be its own title. but since it "supposed" to be a POP series game it doesn't live up to any of the expectations i would have for one. all of the original points of the game (platforming, lots of dying and having good character structure) have been pissed on.
'
Posted 14:25 on 05 December 2008
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J

played 4 hrs. until now.. and I must say I'm a bit disapointed.. way too easy if u compare it to the prequels.. graphix iz great 4 sure.. but still.. it feels boring after a while and not challenging at all.. :-(
Posted 01:08 on 05 December 2008
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Michael

I just picked this up today. This is my frst Prince of Persia game so I finally get to see what all the hype is about.
Posted 22:09 on 04 December 2008
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D

What a missed opportunity and almost inexcusable oversite to not use the voice actor who was the prince in the sands triology. The guy who voices Drake is all wrong for this charactor. Also, it's bewildering that Ubi didn't get the connecton or tone right between the prince and elka down as this was also an issue in the sands sequels by many people.

The Sands games are some of the best, with the first being classic, though the Warrior Within was my favorite. Alot of people didnt like the darker tone. I loved it and though it was a perfect direction to take the series. a perfect game sans themusic selection. The Island of time is a twisted place and being able to go from past to present time is brilliant. Its the Empire Strikes back of the series. Where I thought the series went off the rails is with the Two Thrones. The enviornments ore evolved gameplay were nowhere as interesting and the relationship between the Prince and Farah was cold and flat compared to Sands. So disappointing.

With that said, I cant wait to pick up this game. I take all the POP I can get, esspecially if it has elements of ICO and Okami both in design and gameplay, two my all time favs as well.
Posted 16:03 on 03 December 2008
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POP lover

Hell yeah ! ! This game is great , rather whole Pop series has always been great ! ! ! Also the bloody brilliant artwork! ! Now thats turned to real game grafics soo surely it will rock ! !

I guess i still luv da old prince n the new one definitely doesnt look like he deserves the title Pop :(

But still , his stupid voice aint enuf to stop me playing this bloody brilliant game :P

Great review Tom , i got all details i wanted from it
Posted 07:12 on 03 December 2008
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Wido

Awesome review!

The voice wouldn't be no issue for me as I'm also getting this game but after christmas, say boxing day :) Going for the steelbook edition the decor on that steelbook is bloody great, the best looking limited edition I have seen this year beside the Gears 2 steelbook like IMO
Posted 17:58 on 02 December 2008
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Karlius

On my christmas list i think! Lol
Posted 16:05 on 02 December 2008
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pblive

Good review Tom. I'll be getting this.

It's just annoying that you have this Prince of Persia Character that somehow has an American accent. Are they afraid that a foreign accent will put people off?
Posted 10:32 on 02 December 2008

Game Stats

Prince of Persia (2008)
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: 842 68
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