Prince of Persia is a series that I fondly remember from my childhood. So for the past few months I was revisiting all the Prince of Persia games starting from Sands of Time to see if they are just as fun as I remember them to be. So without further adieu, here is my experience and what I think about the Prince of Persia games. For the most part I tried to keep everything spoiler free for any major events that you experience in the game.
Sands of Time :
The game surprisingly still holds up very well. It still looks absolutely gorgeous and has a really entertaining storyline revolving around an ancient artifact called "The Sands of Time". Voice acting overall is pretty solid. Many people remember Yuri Lowenthal as a voice actor for the recent Spiderman games but I doubt if anyone still remember him as the voice actor for The Prince. He did an Absolutely fantastic job in making the Prince a really likable and charismatic protagonist.
When it comes to controls and gameplay, it might feel a little bit dated, you can quickly get used to it. Combat is fine, but is much better in the sequels.
Platforming is still really fun with some great set pieces, though there are some places where you have a fixed camera, which can make for some annoying trail and error platforming sequences. It rewards exploration as you can find some secret hidden fountains that will increase your overall health.
But the real meat of the game are the powers given to you once you acquire the Sand Dagger. You have Power of Revival and Delay allowing you to either go back in time or to slow it down. These two are absolutely invaluable for both combat and platforming sequences. Then you have 2 other combat specific powers. Of course you cannot use your these powers indefinitely, you have a set number of Sand Tanks which are consumed each time you use a power. So you can only use powers or correct your mistakes a set number of times.
I'd say if you are planning to play the Prince of Persia series definitely start with this one as it is still an absolutely blast to play.
The Warrior Within :
This game right here is basically the Hack and Slash version of DOOM. With metallic music playing the back ground while you are fighting waves of enemies, decapitating them with blood spurting everywhere while throwing edgy one liners.
If you have played Sands of Time, then it might feel a bit odd to hear that same Prince saying stuff like "You should be honored to Die by my sword" or "Throw down your swords or loose your arms" or "Death to all who stand in my way". This time The Prince is voice acted by a different person "Robin Atkin Downes", but he does a pretty good job considering the tone this game is going for. Metallic music also really fits right in with the atmosphere , intense combat and chase sequences.
You are exploring gloomy dark Gothic Architectures. Atmosphere in this game is top notch. Enemies also look a lot more demonic. And for the entire game you are chased by Dahaka who is apparently the Guardian of Time. So in the previous game Prince was supposed to die, but didn't and that really pissed it off. So it wants to make sure that the The Prince meets his death to restore the timeline.
Story manages to be both cheesy and engaging at the same time, with some cool twists and turns. Both Combat and Platforming are improved. Combat is much smoother and you have access to quite a large number of moves right from the very start. Boss fights are much better. You still have those secret fountains to find which increase your overall health.
But guess what, if you somehow managed to find the all hidden fountains, not only do you get a new weapon at the end, but you have to fight a completely different final boss that gives you the true ending. Otherwise playing the game normally without finding all the fountains, you just get a default ending which is not cannon. And believe me back then this shit confused a lot of people when they played The Two Thrones.
But in the end, I absolutely loved this game and is probably my favourite in the entire series.
The Two Thrones :
I personally think that The Two Thrones is better than Sands of Time but still not as good as Warrior Within. This game merges the gameplay of Warrior Within with the tone and setting of Sands of Time. Yuri Lowenthal returns as the voice actor for The Pince.
Combat and Platforming is just as fun. This game now introduces a new quick time event mechanic which will be used for stealth kills and other finishing moves. But it does a pretty poor job of explaining that. It will tell you that you just have "PRESS" a certain button during that sequence when actually you have to keep holding it till the entire sequence is over.
Also gameplay changes a bit once you progress further into the game, and you get to transform as The Dark Prince. Playing as Dark Prince has its own pros and cons. Now you deal more damage and have access to some AOE attacks and some new finishing and stealth moves. You more agile. But as a downside you keep loosing your health unless you kill enemies and consume their sand.
The banter between The Prince and The Dark Prince throughout the game is very entertaining. But you are not free to switch between the two whenever you want. It only happens during some scripted sequences and your transformation is over as soon as you are done with than sequence. I would have liked game provided more flexibility and allowing you to switch between them when ever you wanted.
Overall The Two Thrones is a solid game with fun combat and platforming and boss fights. And you get a satisfying conclusion, marking the end of the Sands of Time Trilogy.
So that's it about the Sands of Time trilogy. These is one of those few trilogies in which loved every single game. So now about the two Prince of Persia games which were released after the Sands of Time trilogy…
Prince of Persia 2008 :
This game looks absolutely gorgeous. Cell-Shaded Art style is amazing. Compared to previous games the animations of your character during gameplay are beautifully done. Everything from platforming to combat just feels so slick and smooth and satisfying. You have some good diverse locations to explore. Combat is surprisingly fun once you get into it. You have can sync your attacks with your partner to create some amazing and some visually spectacular combos. You don't have the Sand Powers from the previous games, instead you have a magical parter called "Elika" who will help you out.
Even though I like this game, unfortunately it is my least favourite in the series. The Story and the characters are just not that compelling or interesting. Story is also forgettable and I thought the ending was pretty bad and undermines everything you did till then.
Game also gets very repetitive. So the entire game , most of the time all you do is to visit a region , purify it and move on to a different region and do the same. And for unlocking other regions, you have to collect these light orbs. So once you are done purifying a region, you just go through the entire region again just to collect them.
The biggest issue is of course that you don't die in this game, even if you tried. Every time you fall off a cliff or an enemy almost kills you , your partner will automatically revive you, every single time. While some people may like this mechanic and say it is just like an instant reload. But personally I didn't like it. Completing a particularly hard platforming section or a combat sequence feels more rewarding when you get a "You died" or "Game over" screen, and you have to repeat a certain section till you figure it out. And checkpoints were fairly generous in previous games, so that was never an issue.
It should have kept the Sand Powers from the Sands of Time trilogy instead. Previous games allowed you to rewind time to correct your mistakes, but you could only do it when you had enough Sand Tanks with you, and it takes some time for the rewind timer to recharge so you could not spam it. So you can only correct your mistakes a certain number of times. It was a much better feature.
I really have rather mixed feeling about this one. As much as I love the art style and the visual presentation, the repetitive gameplay loop and uninteresting story really kept me from enjoying this game.
The Forgotten Sands :
Ignoring all other mobile and spin-off games, this is unfortunately the last Prince of Persia game we got since 2010, atlast on PC.
For the most part it is pretty good game, but again it just not as good when compared to SOT trilogy. Story takes place between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within. But you don't really need to play Sands of Time for this or Forgotten Sands before Warrior Within. This is one of those inconsequential events which happens in-between two major sequels and that doesn't really change anything.
One thing that this game does the best is "Platforming". If you enjoy "Prince of Persia" series for platforming then you have to play this one. You have to use all your powers synchronously like rewinding time , freezing water , restoring environmental structures while you are platforming. It gets just keeps getting more challenging and fun as you progress.
Combat unfortunately on the other hand is very streamlined. You attack combos are very limited. Sand Powers are replaced with Fire , Ice attacks , Stone armor and Whirlwind. And to be honest Stone armor and Whirlwirl are all you need. Boss fights look good as a Spectacle but are very dull to fight.
Story does seem interesting in the beginning, but ends up being just a rehash of Sands of Time and quite a boring one at that. Ending is also a letdown. Powers and different platforming sequences make the experience fun till the end. But when it comes to story and characters, it completely misses the mark.
Well that was it for all the Prince of Persia games. Even though I was a bit disappointed by the last two entries, this series will always have a very special place in my heart. And I do recommend everyone who likes action-adventure games to give this series a try ( at least Sands of Time trilogy ). You will not be disappointed.
It really saddens me to see that Ubisoft shelved this franchise and instead is focusing on it's successor Assassin's Creed. I just hope someday Ubisoft gives this series the attention it needs. But I really hope that if they do make a new Prince of Persia game, please do not make it a big bloated open world with repetitive stuff.
Linear handcrafted levels with compelling characters and story with some neat action and platforming segments, that's what this series is all about. No xp, no loot, just a linear story driven hack and slash game. I know about the Sands of Time remake, but to be honest I didn't really like it. I know it is an early build, but I am still skeptical about it till I see some actual gameplay. Hell I am not sure why Ubisoft wanted a remake of Sands of Time. They could have done a remake of Prince of Persia 3D. Now that deserves a remake.
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