Hidden Gems: Prince of Persia 2008
Prince of Persia is a very well-known established franchise among mobile and console gamers alike. Sadly the 2008 retelling of the beloved series didn’t really get its praises for good of a game it really was. The story starts with out loveable Prince being lost in a sandstorm and running into Elika, an attractive young lady with some mystical powers that seems to be in trouble, and Prince (you never learn his name as is tradition) decides to help her in her quest to recapture Arhuman, an evil demon king of darkness and put him back in his tree prison.
The game does of slew of interesting things to how the game works and flows throughout the story. The main being that you can’t die. Now that might sound like the game has no risk but in actuality it just allows you to better experiment with the great platforming mechanics and awesome combo mechanics of the fighting system. Now you can’t die in a fight but when Elika saves you your enemy regenerates some if not all of their health and if you fall off a platform you restart where the last area of stable ground was (which in some instances is pretty far back, this being a Prince of Persia game after all)
Elika follows you around throughout the game and I know that sounds like it’s just another person you have to pay attention to she is actually one of the most useful companions in any video game I’ve played in a long time (I shudder at the thought of Ashley from Resident Evil 4 or Donald from Kingdom Hearts) No only does she help you not die, she can help you reach father jumps with her magic, she can heal lands of corruption creating collectibles for you to practice your platforming skills to acquire and she even helps you in combat as she is one of the four buttons useable in combos that you can sequence together in order to help you defeat enemies.
Most fights are pretty straight forward one on one fights where you have the four attacks to use for combos (Sword Strike, Magic, Gauntlet, or Jump attacks) Some battles, mainly the boss battles require you to memorize different statuses that enemies go through where you can only harm them with certain attacks. Some boss battles even take it to a higher extreme where you must solve puzzles in the midst of intense combat. It really makes you feel like each fight is different and it really gives you a sense of pride when you finish and enemy with a slew of well-timed counters and combos.
The platforming has three different types of moves also, being jump, interact and magic. You end up traversing huge landscapes with different and themed terrain depending on which of four different areas where you are currently traversing through. Elika soon learns new magic abilities once you collect enough orbs of light to get you into hard to reach places and areas you previously weren’t able to get to. When you are getting the hang of it you find yourself flying from area to area with a good amount of speed and skill while the game shows of it’s amazing landscapes and gorgeous graphics.
This game uses cel shading art (which I am a big fan of) to really fill out the large landscapes it displays before you. You end up going through four different areas, in the order you choose, and seeing these large and very different backgrounds on display. There is so much story telling in each area, with all of them having some subtle and some large objects fitting into the narrative of the story without them ever having to explain them to you. You understand the areas you are in before the characters even have to explain the backstory behind them. They game runs smoothly with very few glitches and bugs that shows a level of polish that we seem to miss in some games even some of recent years.
Now I’m just going to gush for a second. This game’s art is so fucking cool and nice looking it makes me sad that games don’t use cel shading as much anymore. They took so much time into the animation of the characters in how they get around and the two main characters never seem to clip into each other at any point. The game makes a note of Prince catching Elika or moving her so he can continue on his platforming path while she seamlessly follows you. The story is so fucking good too, not only does the relationship between the two main characters grow and become more complex but also the relationship between you and the bosses you fight. The voice acting is top tier with some going on to be big household names in voice acting in games and movies like Nathan Drake from Uncharted, Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil, Starfire from Teen Titans and even Crypto from Destroy All Humans. The story makes a note for you to dislike the main enemies but also feel bad for them because most of the time they had good intentions but ended up being tricked by Arhuman into becoming his slaves to do his bidding. AND THE LANDSCAPES ARE SO FREAKING PRETTY, I can’t get over it. There’s so much detail and awesome areas where if you see it you most likely will go there at some point and I just find it crazy for how good this game looked when it came out 12 years ago.
Sadly, even though this game was well reviewed by critics it didn’t sell as well as Ubisoft intended. With some saying without the ability to die it takes away from the fun of the game. Where I feel like that isn’t true simply because the gameplay is still fun, the story is engaging and the characters are very human and relatable even with such a fantastical setting. With Assassin’s Creed releasing just a year before and creating way more of a buzz monetarily (Assassin’s Creed selling 140 million copies, vs Prince of Persia’s measly 2.2 million units), Ubisoft decided to not continue with the story and instead follow a franchise in the Assassin’s Creed universe instead. With that being said I hope if you find thee time to play this game it is easily picked up on many stores for a relatively low price and I would Highly recommend giving it a try. I hope you all enjoyed this post and if you know of a game that you think deserves more credit than it got or just one that didn’t reach as wide of an audience as it should have let me know in the comments! Anyway, that’s my blog and have a good day guys! PEACE!