FiveThings You Need to Know About Prince of Persia

Nathan Grayson

Prince of Persia may have missed its left turn at Albuquerque en route to the PC, but that doesn’t lessen its value as a game. Inability to die and ample backtracking, though? Those might give you second thoughts about leaving your wallet unguarded around the game’s princely thief. Luckily, Maximum PC has you covered. Prince of Persia, lose the jewel case; we’re getting all up in your space.

1. DRM-free is the way to be – Once bitten , twice shy. PC gamers can’t stop ragging on EA for its use of “draconian” DRM (Will Wright’s next game won’t be out for a few years, guys! You’re getting a little excessive), but Ubisoft is attempting to nip that mistake in the bud with its announcement that Prince of Persia: Mandatory DRM Edition won’t ever see the light of day. Kudos, guys! Now please don’t use this one gift as a measuring stick for the overall effectiveness of DRM. After all, we’re talking a single drop in a bucket big enough to build a wicked-awesome sand castle. Plus, no one likes an Indian-giver.

2. Death and taxes – In Prince of Persia, you can’t die. Ever. See, as it turns out, one only needs a magical princess in order to attain immortality. (Yeah, suddenly Mario’s never-ending quest doesn’t seem so selfless.) Miss a jump? Princess Elika’s dainty, yet freakishly durable hand lashes out and saves the prince from actually discovering what’s at the bottom of one of those bottomless pits (Hint: Grues). Same goes for your totally bitchin’ triple back-flip sword- cannon ball that looked way more like you getting stabbed in the face. Really though, the prince’s person-shaped bottle of death-repellent doesn’t turn the game into an overly easy snoozefest. Since the princess’ bulging forearm tosses you back to your last checkpoint, “death” still happens. However, you’re not forced to sit through a loading screen or anything like that. Quick and simple. But…

3. It’s pretty easy – Ok, there are two ways to look at this. Either, in between sticky gulps of Testosterone-Dew, you’ll mockingly sputter, “I could play this game in my sleep,” and make me hate you, or you’ll appreciate the game for what it really is. Yeah, Prince of Persia’s evil apocalypse practically backward-runs at your foot, just hoping to get its ass kicked, but the game flows so beautifully that it doesn’t matter. Jumps, slides, and wall runs take on a near-lyrical quality – and they look damn good in the process. Plus, even if you do screw up (and you will, eventually), Elika flings you right back into the action. Really, it’s like being a baby with a mobile in your crib. Sure, toy blocks allow for more diversity and challenge, but the mobile’s so colorful and entertaining. That is to say, Prince of Persia’s just fun – difficulty be damned.

4. It’s all on you, boy – For having such linear levels, Prince of Persia gives players plenty of breathing room. Want to know more about the game’s story? Stop and have a quick chat with Elika. Think the frozen lava-forest temple needs a good dusting? Pick it as your next destination. Prince of Persia may be a developer-driven rollercoaster ride, but you dictate the pace. And so, even though the bond that forms between Elika and the prince is a forgone conclusion, it feels player-driven. You choose where and when the dashing duo’s verbal sparring matches occur, which makes their connection feel far more natural. It’s an interesting evolution of the relationship between Gordon and Alyx in Half-Life 2 – and one I’d love to see other developers experiment with.

5. Been there, done that – Prince of Persia’s designers created a Persia that – no offense to Persia/Iran and its wonderful residents – may be even more awesome than actual historical Persia. Good thing too, because you’ll be seeing a lot of it. In the end, the game boils down to performing a number of fairly similar tasks across of a number of areas, and each of its bosses gives multiple same-y encore performances. Granted, fleet-footedly flying down the game’s highways and byways doesn’t get old fast -- especially when game-progressing "seeds of light" just beg you to attempt some of the game's riskier routes -- so repetition probably won’t even be an issue unless some jerk points it out to you.

“Five Things You Need to Know About…” is a fairly self-explanatory bi-weekly feature in which I highlight anything game-related – game, engine, company, etc. –  and break it down into five easily digestible pieces. It’s not meant to be a review, so much as it is a discussion platform. So give my opinions a few minutes of your time and then voice your own. Or tear mine to shreds.

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