Prince of Persia
Date: Thursday, December 25 @ 15:45:51 EST
Topic: Adventure Game Reviews
I am a firm believer that mistakes are unforgivable if they were made knowing full well that it would end up as a fucking disaster. And Ubisoft has a knack for fucking shit up...
Pimp of Persia: Prologue
A game as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is essentially how fun the game is. And although said whole might be greater than the parts combined, it is useful to evaluate them independently. I am a firm believer that mistakes are unforgivable if they were made knowing full well that it would end up as a fucking disaster. And Ubisoft has a knack for fucking shit up. A competent developer, such as Crytek, would design a perfect game, incorporate lush tropical environments, then throw in Crygens and inadvertently fuck up and otherwise flawless game. Ubisoft, on the other hand, pushes the bar (or lowers it), by creating a game with awesome graphics, amazing controls, a kick ass story, the ability to fight multiple opponents, then tossing all that out the window and creating a sequel which has as much to do with the predecessor as Far Cry 2 (see a pattern?). Furthermore, said competent developer would have the good conscience to never incorporate crygens again, Ubisoft, on the other hand, reincorporates the respawning enemies. That's right, the single most annoying aspect of their other major franchise was reincorporated here. What the @#$%. Fuck you Ubisoft, fuck you for ruining my life.
I don't know if I have an inherent bias b/c I hated this game religiously before it even came out, but I can't help feel like the major reviewers are being held at gun point. This game got praised for its graphics all over the board (Geoffe Keighly even went as far as to nominate it for the best Action Adventure game...along with MGS 4 and GTAIV ). We're talking crap like “breathtaking visuals”. Even if you take the character animations out, which are total crap, and you ignore the fact that there's probably no real time ambient maps, the levels still look terminally average. I call this slow and steady erosion of level design the Hitman syndrome.
Let me go on record as saying I did not finish this game. I got to exactly half way through and then I wanted to kill myself. I honestly feel like chopping my cock off I'm so frustrated. I want to smash myself in the face for actually playing this thing for so long. If, at some point between half way, and the end, the game magically turns around and starts coming together into a coherent, fully functioning game, then I apologize. But if I play this game for one more second, I'm going to break my laptop into a thousand pieces.
Some girl falls into the Prince's lap (literally), and there is a paper thin deceit to justify the prince following her around, then they get to a massive tree where they release the antagonist. Then the girl starts rambling on about life trees which is yet another paper thin deceit to justify an open world environment. Along the way, there are a lot of plot twists, like getting to the end of a level and then finding out that you have to go back to the start of the level again. Or when you have to start collecting these orbs which you couldn't care less about. Ubisoft doesn't just think outside of the box, it shits all over it.
The game starts out with the most forgettable introduction, which could well be a parody of...of whatever. Something about “one sand in the desert”. No doubt the guys at Ubisoft took the opening line from Sands of Time (“Time is like an Ocean in a Storm”) and decided to come up with the closest thing to it, but then got stoned and went to Denny's. There is a completely uneventful intro which is meant to get the user acquainted with the controls.
Now there is a lot of talk about how this game is far and away, the “easiest game in the series” . This is as a result of people misinterpreting the facts. This whole rage over not dying, is moot. It's just a quickload. Where it does come into play, is its effect on puzzles. In Sands of Time, every room was a self contained puzzle, and you had to find your way from A to B, without dying. Here, dying is not an issue, so the developers have made some insane puzzles that definitely require hit-and-miss tactics. Another reviewer (see bottom) captured this gracefully when he pointed out that "just because you can respawn only a few inches away from where you die isn't an excuse to make unfair platforming sections that require multiple playthroughs to perfect". Furthermore, people were throwing a tantrum over the fact that Elika tells you where to go if you're lost. This isn't meant to cater to the comatose, but it was most likely a last minute addition after Ubisoft played the game and realized that the game is so fucking open ended that you haven't the foggiest idea in which direction to go. Imagine the Assault level in Crysis, but with no map. That's what this game feels like: A fucking disaster.
Dude I swear to god, some of these enemies respawn. I have fought the same shit guy in the same god damn place twice now. Dude this game licks balls. I just walk around aimlessly. I have no idea what the fuck I'm supposed to do. I just see a pole and I swing on it, if it has scratches I run along it, and if there is a ledge, I shimmy along it. It all has to do with the open ended gameplay. You end up using Elika's hints, not b/c the platforming is particularly difficult, but because if you don't, then you find yourself going in circles, and fighting the same god damn respawning mutha fuckers 100 times.
There are 24 levels to complete, most can be completed in 15-20 minutes. Some require you to gain certain powers. These range from mystical trampoline leaps, to the totally absurd. One power has you riding Elika like a spaceship whirling through each stage. To gain these powers you have to collect light orbs. And this is where the game totally falls apart. You end up covering the same ground so many times, moving back and forth between gaining orbs and using them, that the game starts to feel like Far Cry 2 (even the respawning enemies are there! Plus you also get a sense of disorientation). In Two thrones, they made the game longer by having you backtrack through every fucking level but at a different point in time. Well, here they have you complete the boss, then start collecting light orbs. If this was optional, it would be totally acceptable. But it's not. So it isn't. This is such a nuisance, that even Geoff Keighley picked up on this cheap ass “attempt to pad the length of the game” .
I literally have no incentive to finish this game (except to maybe write this review): the boss fights are tedious, the levels are bland, and the story is non existent. Even the platforming sucks, since you shimmy the same ledge a thousand times over. You do the same 3 fucking things over and over again
1)Get to boss
I've got this puppy set to 1600x1200 with 2x antialiasing and the graphics are really great. The colors are bright and the textures are usually good.
The character models, on the other hand, look like that fake grass that comes with your sushi (not the seaweed). You really get the feeling the characters are 2D. I thought the whole point of a 3D engine was to make games look 3D, but here, the characters look like scraps of paper blowing in the wind. The prince's abs look as pathetic as Morgan Webb when she bleached her hair blond (who's she kidding, she's dumb naturally).
The level design is utter ass. Words can not explain how shitty the levels are. This would have to be my biggest gripe with the game. Every level is essentially the side of a mountain, and you run along conveniently placed platforms and ledges. Gone are the amazingly detailed indoor environments of Sands of Time, and in its place you get the most basic environments. I'm surprised they didn't give a level editor since the majority of these levels feel like something out of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. I'm not shitting you, a good portion of the time you spend sliding down platforms.
The animations are hit and miss. Sometimes, like when the prince is shimmying along a ledge, the animations look surreal. At other times, like when he jumps, or when he's swinging from a pole, he just comes across as the biggest douchebag. Elika is just a complete disaster, and if I see her grab my hand and revive me one more time, I'm going to scream. The facial animations are crap, with the exception of the exceedingly beautiful eye render effects. The enemies are a joke. They must've used Lou Ferigno for mocap, cuz they move like they shat their pants.
WRT to platforming, it has your basic Uncharted: Drak...I mean POP controls. They extend the Sands of Times controls rather well, although they are nowhere near as tight. Sometimes, you're swinging on a pole, and you hit the jump button, but then Elika rains on your parade, and you shuffle to the left/right to give her room. Then, all of a sudden the jump event kicks in and you jump but without the right timing. There are also a few instances where jumping won't suffice, but the Elika assisted jump overshoots the target...Then there are times when the controls make you want to kill yourself. Nowhere is this more pronounced than the Elika space shuttle sequences. There are a whole host of moves which defy not only gravity, but the boundaries of space time. The prince can jump up, then jump up again...he can also run across the ceiling, do backflips off the ceiling, grab onto conveniently placed rings, and then to make matters worse, he can transfer from that ring onto a vertical wall then jump up to a higher part of that same wall. This is beyond suspension of disbelief. This is total absurdity.
Fighting goes back to the old POP 3D engine, where every strike is a gamble. It's not bad, it just doesn't have the intensity that Sands of Time had. Think COD 4: Modern Warfare, but without auto aim and there's only ever one terrorist on the screen at any time. Also, instead of dying, Captain Price takes you into his bosom, and nurses you back to health. Nevertheless, they still have the spirit of the POP genre. Once you get the hang of it, sword fighting can become really fun as you link combos together. The biggest problem I have with it is that there are a lot of context sensitive moments in there, but none of them seem to work for me. Half the time I can't figure out which button to press (my keyboard doesn't have a claw button) and the other half, the button doesn't do jack shit anyway. Button mashing is the only option here. And after a while it gets FUCKING irritating. God damn it I hate Ubisoft.
The voice acting is crap. In fact, the Prince actually uses the word crap once, in the form of “oooohh craaaaap”. That's real authentic. Imagine Jude Law fucking up his performance by screaming “Suffering Suffatacks” in Stalingrad. The dialogue just aint authentic, so it doesn't suck you in. However, to their credit, they did incorporate some persian words in there. It took me a while to pick up on it, but when you ask Elika to show you the way, she says some Persian one liners. On a whole, the audio is pretty solid (but then again, what the fuck is the difference between good audio, and mediocre audio?). Oh, and also, the voice actor for the prince is the same dude that did Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (which btw had far superior graphics to this shit game). He did a superb job as Drake, but this role doesn't suit him. It's like if David Hayter Switched from doing Solid Snake to doing Mario.
A game is usually greater than the sum of its parts. However, this game just doesn't come together well, so the cracks around its edges really start to show. The story is non existent, the characters are hard to bond with, and the environments are nowhere near the scale they were in Sands of Time, and ultimately, it's an open ended platformer that's too open for its own good. I can't bring myself to recommend this to anyone. I think there really is only one score to give such a terminally average game.
Pimp of Persia: Epilogue
I've been playing as the Prince since its inception. After Sands of Time, the franchise went in a new direction. POP 3D was based very closely on Persian culture. Not that I give a fuck about Persian culture, but if you make a game about it, then I think you should. In this one they have Nathan Drake as the Prince, the chic looks like your run of the mill skank, and the story has nothing to do with Persia. I really wish the developers would stress authenticity a little more. Also I'm pissed off with these god damn review sites acting as a literal automatic stamp. They should grow some balls and call it like they see it. Read this review, it's infinitely better than mine.
Ubisoft, if you're reading this: Don't EVER make an open ended game ever again. You are legally retarded, and can't handle this responsibility.