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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Package Art
 GENRE
  Action-Adventure
 DEVELOPER
  Ubisoft Montreal
 PUBLISHER
  Ubisoft
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1
 CONNECTIVITY
  yes
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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Ubisoft has unexpectedly taken over the mantle of Christmas video game dominance for 2004. Their triple crown of “hype” titles including Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, XIII and Beyond Good and Evil has dominated the video game hype landscape for the all important Christmas season. It’s on the financial legs of Splinter Cell that Ubi has had the resources to develop these great games. It’s also great to see a company with Canadian connections do so well.

In my opinion, the Prince is the crown jewel in Ubi’s triple crown. This title feels so solid in terms of visuals, gameplay and audio that it’s on par with a similarly excellent GameCube title; Eternal Darkness. You can see similarities in both games and I make that comment as a compliment rather than a put down. Who wouldn’t want to see Eternal Darkness repeated over and over? However, the Prince has his own charms that set it apart from the aforementioned Silicon Knights’ (Canadian Developer) Eternal Darkness.

In short, this game is such a must own title that you’d be as smart as a Nintendo E3 press conference to avoid it. Go out. Go purchase Prince of Persia. Go Play. No need to rewind time; this is a linear process of enjoyment!

visuals

First and foremost, this may not matter to you but I think it bears saying. This game is an excellent title and it deserves much better box art than the one Ubisoft devised. From a merchandising perspective, this box art hides behind every other dark palette cover art. A game as beautiful as this deserves a boxart that screams out to a gamer. Something with more focus and brighter colors. Sorry, but my marketing side just has to be released every now and again.

As for the graphics themselves? Stunning. What else can I say? The animation is so fluid that it’s ridiculous. The players are modeled so well. Environments are splendidly represented with an earthy palette, the right amount of atmospheric elements, and just overall quality. The visuals leave nothing to be desired.

It has been remarked by other reviewers that at times the camera doesn’t function or becomes frustrating. After playing and reviewing a TRULY shitty camera in True Crime: Streets of LA I can safely say that this game surpasses any low bar of putridity that True Crime established. Yes, the Prince camera can be improved but when you think of the complexity of some of the levels in the game and the fact that you can still see all of the action, I prefer to think of Ubi’s work in this game as a job well done. Not to mention that you can switch to the “landscape” camera that’s basically a fixed distance camera that allows you to get a better perspective on the environment. You can also spin the camera around or use the Z button for first person view along with the c stick to get a better look. The game is like PS2’s ICO in that the environment is kind of like a puzzle so the camera is difficult to nail, but UBI’s done a good job of giving you options. The only thing that I think is missing is a selection to have a behind the back camera where it automatically resets behind the character.

audio

Nicely done. The prince’s voice can sometimes sound melodramatic but it still works well. Also, the sound effects of the enemy calls and movements are very well done here. I wouldn’t say that this game’s audio is as deep and varied as Eternal Darkness but it does have a nice sound effect set that works well within the game.

As for the soundtrack, good work. I like that they mixed in a distorted electric guitar into the mix of Middle Eastern sounds.

gameplay

I think that this title more of a puzzle title than an action title. I also feel that the puzzle elements of dealing with the environment as a maze is a lot more exciting and challenging than the enemies that you face in the game. The fighting in Prince has the distinct quality of having enemies with differing weaknesses (again like Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem). However, the enemies do get repetitive. I much prefer being challenged to figure out which ledge to hang onto or which bar to swing on in order to get to an objective.

The idea of the game is to save the world by collecting the sands of time with your dagger and generally kicking the snot out of any possessed bad assess that you come across. Works for me!

Control wise, this game features one of the most intuitive layouts I’ve seen in a while (just like Splinter Cell). Ubi Montreal nailed the control scheme here with the R Button allowing you to run up and along walls effortlessly and the A button as a jump or action type button. During battles, one really neat thing is the use of the A “dodge” button and the control stick while fighting. You’ll leap over enemies and fly all over the place with this simple combination. You can also block with the R button and you can use the dagger of time and your scimitar with different button presses (y and b). The different cameras are a Z button press and control pad touch away. Nice control scheme work.

The use of time is incredible. With the simple press of the L button you can rewind a mistake you just made using the sands of time. It's great because you have complete control of your destiny as long as you have sands of time available to you. Also, during a battle you just tap the L button and go into slow mo and start chopping away. This is really a cool feature of the game and it definitely offers an astounding level of dynamic control over your gameplay experience.

It’s good to have such a challenging game that integrates the environment as the puzzle to solve (like Ico). However, I do feel that unlike the excellent battles in Eternal Darkness, the battles in Prince get repetitive.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

This game is worth your time and attention. Once again props go out to Ubisoft Montreal for meshing environments with an outstanding control scheme and stunning graphics. It’s a formula that worked for Splinter Cell and it works exceptionally well for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The Prince is a title worth owning this Christmas.

final score 9.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Eric Mattei
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"Lost like tears in rain"


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