Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

Shade’s Review of Prince of Persia (2008)

Posted to this Site: Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Originally Published on Monday, March 2, 2015 at https://shadevideogames.blogspot.com/2015/03/shades-review-of-prince-of-persia-2008.html

Prince of Persia was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in December 2008, and later on PC and Mac.
It was Ubisoft’s second reboot of the series after the conclusion of the Sands of Time trilogy.
The Sands of Time trilogy was Ubisoft’s first reboot of the original Prince of Persia trilogy created by Jordan Mechner.
The 2008 Prince of Persia sold ok, but it wasn’t a big success like Assassin’s Creed (another one of Ubisoft’s franchises).
There has yet to be a sequel for this Prince of Persia game, and, after more than six years since it’s release, it seems unlikely that there will be one.
Does that mean it’s a bad game?
I don’t think so.
 
The game has a new story and different characters from the Sands of Time trilogy.
It takes place somewhere within the Persian empire, though it’s never specifically stated.
The main character is an adventurer who is never named in the game.
He doesn’t have connections to royalty, but the manual and websites refer to him as the Prince.
The Prince is voiced by Nolan North who is well known for voicing other video game characters such as Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series and Desmond Miles in the Assassin’s Creed series.
He crosses paths with a princess named Elika while he is looking for his donkey.
Her father was the king of the Ahura who are followers of Ormazd (the god of light), and they protected the tree where Ahriman (the god of darkness) was imprisoned.
Ahriman has been freed, and she partners with him throughout the game to heal the city corrupted by the dark god and his minions.
 
The gameplay is focused on platforming and dueling.
The left stick moves the Prince, and the right stick moves the camera.
He will jump or wall run with X/A (PS3/Xbox 360 buttons).
The square/X button is for sword attacks.
Grabbing a ring during wall running or grabbing an enemy happens when circle/B button is pressed.
R2/R trigger makes him drop down or grip-fall during platforming, and block during a battle.
 
Elika’s magic is mapped to triangle/Y.
While free-running, her magic can be used to show the direction you must go after selecting the goal destination on the map.
She can also assist the Prince with gaps that are too wide for him to make the jump on his own.
He will begin the jump with X/A, the environment will lose its color to show players that he can’t make it prompting them to press triangle/Y, and she will use her magic to help him make it to the other side.
During combat, she can use her magic to attack enemies.
The L2/L trigger can be pressed for the Prince’s comments, and for him to engage in a conversation with her.
 
Elika always saves the Prince before he can die so there is no game over.
If he falls while platforming, she will catch him, and she will save him during battle before the enemy can fatally wound him.
It does make the game a little too easy, and there is no difficulty selection.
This will turn off some people who prefer challenging games.
The positive side is that if you just want to relax, and enjoy a game without much frustration then this is a good one for that.
 
Elika is a great companion though.
In many games where you have a companion or have to escort a character, it can be a real pain.
There are so many times when the NPC (non-playable character) following the main character gets in your way, or lets themselves get hurt by enemies.
Sometimes they can’t keep up with you, and you have to go back for them.
Half of the time, they can’t do anything for themselves, and scream for help.
 
Elika is none of those things.
She never gets in your way.
She always keeps up.
She is helpful not helpless.
Like the Prince, she can’t die.
She can be struck by enemies, but this only happens if you use her magic at the wrong time in battle.
She is a great partner.
Any developer making a video game where the main character has a companion, they should look to Elika as a great example.
 
Unlike the Sands of Time trilogy (which focused on combating multiple enemies at once), this Prince of Persia’s combat is one-on-one.
The enemies you duel are Ahriman’s followers, which at times you can prevent from spawning.
There are also five main enemies known as the Corrupted that you’ll fight throughout the game, and each one occupies a certain part of the land.
The Hunter in the Citadel, the Alchemist in the Vale, the Concubine at the Royal Palace, the Warrior in the City of Light, and the King at the Temple.
Some people don’t like the dueling in this game.
I kind of like it.
I thought the dueling was something a little different since many games have you take on many enemies at once.
 
The entire game is a 3D platformer like the previous trilogy.
The platforming consists of jumping, wall running, grip-falling, climbing on vines, sliding down slopes, and using power plates to transport to different areas.
Platforming is a big focus in this game, which is one of the reasons why I like it.
Many recent adventure games like the Uncharted series only have platforming in certain sections.
Of course, there are many indie titles that are platformers, but Prince of Persia is one of a small number of physically released video games where platforming is a main focus.
 
The characters and environments have a watercolor presentation similar to the 2006 video game Okami.
The game looks like you’re interacting with a live painting.
It may not be the first video game to use these type of graphics, but it’s very neat nonetheless.
I also really like the music.
It can make players feel like they’re on an epic adventure.
 
One aspect about this Prince of Persia that is not well-liked is that it’s repetitive.
All of the city starts out corrupted by Ahriman with the environments dark and infested with black blobs as well as enemies to battle.
You have to make your way to a particular fertile ground, and fight the main enemy of that part of the land such as the Hunter in the Citadel.
Once the enemy is defeated in that battle, Elika must use the fertile ground to heal that part of the land.
Healing the land clears the corruption, and the environment becomes bright and colorful without any enemies.
Then you must collect light seeds in the newly healed land.
After a certain amount of light seeds are collected, you return to the temple to unlock one of four power plates.
The four power plates are the Step of Ormazd (red), Hand of Ormazd (blue), Wings of Ormazd (yellow), and Breath of Ormazd (green).
Each power plate opens certain parts of the land to be healed.
You do this until all power plates are unlocked, all parts of the land are healed, and you have several confrontations with each of the Corrupted.
 
I still really enjoyed the game despite its repetitiveness.
I like the platforming, the dueling, both characters, the watercolor graphics, and the music.
I played it several times in the months after it was released.
Some people don’t like repetitive games, however.
If it had a sequel, maybe Ubisoft Montreal (developer) could have improved on making it not as repetitive.
 
That’s another issue.
It has yet to have a sequel (which seems unlikely to happen), and the game ends on a cliffhanger.
It did get an epilogue as DLC on PSN and Xbox Live, which gives an hour or two more gameplay.
It also explains the main game’s ending, but it too ends on a cliffhanger.
I wish video game companies would not end games wide open for a sequel because if the sequel never comes to fruition then players are left hanging forever.
The best thing to do is to have a resolution at the end, but leave a couple areas of the storyline open to explore in a possible sequel similar to films like Alien and Terminator.
That way if it isn’t a success then the audience is not left wondering how the story ends.
 
Additionally, this game has low replayability.
There two reasons why someone would play it more than once.
Either they just really enjoyed the game, and want to experience it again.
Or, to get the trophies/achievements.
The lack of replayability is sadly another con for this game.
 
The 2008 Prince of Persia is a good game with a few flaws.
What video game doesn’t have flaws?
If you like platformers and can look past the flaws of repetitiveness, the cliffhanger ending, low replayability, and easy difficulty then I would recommend this game.
Some fans of the Sands of Time trilogy did not care for this game because this one is so different from it.
I like the Sands of Time trilogy, but I can’t compare those three games to this one because it’s been a long time since I’ve played them.
 
Currently, the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are available to rent at GameFly if you want to try it out.
You can also find used copies of this game for around $5.
Steam and GOG currently have it for PC for $9.99.
The Mac version seems to be harder to find.
As of now, there are only a couple listings on eBay for the physical copies of the Mac version, and the only digital distributor that I found that has it is GamersGate for $9.95.
The good news is that the PC and Mac versions have no DRM protection.
The bad news is that Ubisoft decided not to release the epilogue for PC or Mac.
 
Of course, that depends if the epilogue add-on is even worth it to you.
It’s $9.99 on PSN and Xbox Live.
I think that’s too much especially now if you buy the main game for $5, and then you have to pay double that just to have an hour or two more gameplay only to be led to another cliffhanger ending.
Either way, this Prince of Persia is a good game that should be given a chance.
If you’re a Prince of Persia fan that hasn’t played this installment, just keep in mind that this one is very different from the previous games.