I played the game for just over three hours last night. I was having a good time, but for some reason I got the feeling I have already experienced all the game has to offer. I hope I am wrong. Some impressions:
- I don't like the Prince. I don't like his character. He's a bit too cocky. Seems out of place. Why can't we just have a regular, believable character for the lead?
- Graphically, the game is pretty, but I am not as impressed as I thought I would be. The Prince's animations are great, the colors vibrant and the cell shaded graphics look very nice, but overall, I have not been floored by the visuals.
- It appears that the entire game consists of entering a corrupted area, working your way up a predetermined path, fight a mini-boss (sometimes more than once throughout the level) then reach the highest point where you "cure" the level, then traverse it again collecting light orbs. Rinse, repeat.
- My biggest problem with the game is that while traversing the levels can be entertaining and it certainly looks amazing with all the crazy acrobatic moves you are pulling off, ultimately, it does not feel like you are really pulling everything off yourself. Once you start stringing moves together, even though your character is doing a lot of pretty amazing stuff, all you are doing is occasionally pressing a button, you don't even have to really press a direction on the analog stick. So the sense of accomplishment is not really as great as it should be, since it at times feel more like a quick-time event or interactive cinematic than you actually pulling off these moves.
- Combat is also very cinematic, requiring timed button presses resulting is elaborate moves. Combat is also different from previous PoP games. You only encounter an enemy (read: only one at a time) at pre-determined spots. This is the only time the Prince uses his sword, as the attack button does not work during the platforming sections.
- You cannot die in the game. This is both good and bad. It is good because it greatly cuts down on frustration and loading screens. If you miss a jump, your partner chick (sorry, in 3 hours of playing I didn't pick up her name. Something with an "E". Elika? Elina?) uses her powers to grab your hand and lift you back up. If you get swallowed by the black ooze surrounding the levels, again, she reaches in and rescues you. Same with combat. Sure, it makes the game a lot easier than it should be, but I think I'll take the lack of frustration over the lack difficulty.
I enjoyed my time with the game last night, but the Prince of Persia series has lost a lot of its magic since the first PS2 release. They have tried to tinker with the formula too much, changing the Prince for the worse, getting a bit too elaborate with the storylines, too fantastical with the environments. I hope the next PoP game goes back to basics. Set it in the real world. With nice but believable landscapes. Have a believable Prince as a lead. Someone a bit more down to earth. Add some flaws in his execution of moves too. He doesn't have to be super human. Make him believable, like Nathan Drake in Uncharted.
Again, this is all based on 3 hours of playtime. Will update accordingly as I advance through the game.