Prince Of Persia – The Journey Begins Anew

Ubisoft is bringing back the Prince Of Persia franchise, which is amazing news for all POP fans reading this post. Now considering date of its release draws ever closer (Dec 4th 2008) I don’t expect many to be surprised by this piece of news, but the holidays just became even more fun this time around, with NFS Undercover coming soon as well. So what catastrophic world-threatening quandary must the Prince overcome now? Read on to find out…

Ubisoft seems to like the whole light and darkness concept a bit too much: Prince of Persia revolves around an age old struggle between Ahriman, God of Darkness and Ohrmazd, God of Light. Ahriman corrupts the firmaments and the hearts of humans, until Ohrmazd intervenes and forces Ahriman into the Tree of Life. To ensure Ahriman’s incarceration, Ohrmazd appoints the Oora, a race of warriors with special powers to combat Ahriman. Now this is where our Prince steps in. Wandering along in the desert, he gets entangled in a sand storm and finds himself in front of the Tree of Life, where he meets Elika, the last of the Oora. The Tree is destroyed (how will be revealed in the game) somehow and Ahriman escapes, attempting to cover the world in a new darkness… so no prizes for guessing the motive here: The Prince, along with Elika need defeat/kill/capture Ahriman, and prevent him from taking over everything.
I saw what the finished game looked like, and I’ve got to say that as far as gameplay is concerned, the game takes off where The Two Thrones left the franchise. The Prince looks different; there’s none of that old regal bearing, none of the old “I must regain my honour, undo my mistakes etc.” stuff. This Prince appears a lot more casual, while maintaining his wry sense of humour. Also, Elika’s role is an evolution of the roles played by Farah in the Sands of Time trilogy; here she’s actively involved in showing the Prince around, as well as helping him get around and fight, all the while never letting him out of her sight. The gameplay features some new stunts like sliding down an incline, co-op vaulting and jumping, as well as new fight sequences and moves. The daggers, blades and arrows of the SOT trilogy are now replaced by Ahriman’s corruption, which is an all-purpose health-drainer: it can take any shape, looks like globules of goo which make it difficult to know when to move, and can sap energy wherever it appears. Only one enemy was shown, but it looks like the game is missing the bad guy’s minions (read:sand creatures) and the opponents are skilled fighters, who like to play hide and seek rather than outright combat. Oh yeah, I almost forgot: there seems to be no significant changes as far as camera angles are concerned, which is good for seasoned POP players, but not so great for rookies to the game.

The game looks like a comic, and a well illustrated one at that. The graphics are a little archaic and look distinctly dated, but I think that was an intentional move on Ubisoft’s part, in order to make the game more true to its storyline’s roots (no pun intended). The armour seen on the charachters in the SOT trilogy has given way to a more travel worn attire, while the charachter detailing is amazing as usual. Now since the sands are gone, fighting is at normal speeds, so one cant expect to appreciate the detailing of the charachters as much, but its still there. The environment is just as good as the Two Thrones, with the complexity and detailing of Warrior Within. Overall, its not anything new, and it looks like it wont tax existing computers too much. DX 9.0c should do the trick, along with sufficient graphics memory.

I cant wait: The Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time trilogy was incredible, with each game bettering the last by whopping margins. Ubisoft seems to make no mistakes as far as role-playing games are concerned, so expectations are high. Lets hope they dont disappoint.

Videos for gameplay and more can be viewed here

some videos are also available on dc++…

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