2008 was a year that gave us legendary games such as Left 4 Dead, Super Smash Bros Brawl, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Burnout Paradise. It also gave us games such as Jackass: The Game, and Too Human so there’s that.
But it also gave us a series reboot of the beloved Prince of Persia series. Prince of Persia (2008) is the diamond in the rough of the Pop series, the 2008 game was a major reboot from Ubisoft and did away from the time travelling and magical sand themes, and instead gave us a swashbuckling adventure about saving a magical kingdom from the forces of darkness with the assistance of a magical princess. Wait is this the legend of Zelda?
Although fans of the original Sands of Time trilogy felt betrayed by the series departure, critics received the game very well. Metacritic gave it 80%-85% for the Wii, PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 respectively. It kept core gameplay mechanics such as acrobatics, combat, platforming and puzzle solving, apart from the stylistic change, it remained true to Prince of Persia.
Once one gets over the radical changes to the series, the love affair begins with this game. The game plot loosely follows a thief simply named the Prince as he searches for his lost donkey within a vast desert. He instead finds a runaway Princess, who he follows on an adventure to help cure an old kingdom of an ancient darkness plaguing the land.
The game sports a beautiful cel shaded art style which complements the diseased dark land environment and that of healing grounds, which the player helps Elika with throughout the game. The game makes great use of juxtaposing the landscape, by having the Prince and Elika enter the level for the first time, they are greeted by the dark and diseased land with globs of darkness and enemies regularly spawning in the diseased areas. However once Elika and the Prince heal the land, the player is treated to a beautiful cutscene of the healed landscape changing into a land filled with bountiful life once again.
The main focus of the story is the growing relationship between the Prince and Elika, the two grow closer together as they go further on their journey healing the lands. As the game progresses we learn more and more about each character, The Prince and Elika talk about their differences in morals, world viewpoints, and philosophies of the world making dialogue interesting to listen to whilst their personalities play off each other as you explore more and more off the environment. The excellent voice acting from Nolan North as The Prince, and Kari Wahlgren as Elika helps cement the games characters as the most likeable in all of the Pop series.
Combat is relatively easy, as low level soldiers spawn whenever you land on a landing big enough for them to spawn. The combat is split between the Prince using his sword and Elika using her magic, the duo work well together and makes fighting easy and uncomplicated. However the game does boast four big bosses you have to fight in a variety of ways, such as platforming, straight up sword fighting, and using the environment to help defeat the enemy.
The game feels too easy at times as you cannot conventionally die and get a game over. You instead receive help from Elika in the nick of time from a misjudged jump or a killing blow from an enemy that would have ended your adventure. However this is only a minor issue and never really bothers the player.
If you want to avoid spoilers for the game skip the next paragraph.
10 years on Prince of Persia (2008) is still a beautiful and charming game. Thanks to its graphics, charming characters and an easy system to jump into; the game doesn’t feel like it has aged and is still fun to play.
So do yourself a favour, go play this game.