The new Prince of Persia was my most anticipated game of 2008.
In fact, I hadn’t been so excited for a game’s release since
Twilight Princess two years before. While they were below my expectations, I greatly enjoyed them both, and think that the new Prince of Persia was absolutely a step in the right direction for the series. The “illustrative” art style was gorgeous, and while the combat was frustrating, one-on-one battles were a great idea that I hope will be fine tuned in future iterations.
The re-envisioning of the series was under a lot of scruntiny from fans, and the game was criticized for being too easy. While I agree with this to some extent, the argument of “you can’t die” was frustrating to me, as the “death” system was akin to a typical auto-save function but with the removal of menu screens. In any case, Ubisoft is a company that typically listens very closely to fan response. While this appears to be a good thing at first glance, the Prince often comprimised his greatest strengths last generation following the fantastic Sands of Time. Unfortunately, this pattern appears to continue in the extremely short, rather disappointing Epilogue downloadable content.
Epilogue picks up immediately where Prince of Persia left off. Elika and the Prince are on the run from a reprised threat. The pair duck into an unexplored building and begin their short, linear adventure. I quickly realized that my favourite parts of the original game were almost nowhere to be found in the entire extention. The land remains corrupted, there are no beautiful landscapes to overlook, the “go anywhere” theme is entirely lost, and there is an emphasis on combat. In fact, the combat is made even more frustrating with the addition of a new move. I thought the combat originally showed potential because it was more rhythm based, and eliminated a need for button mashing. I also think “quicktime” events in any game are an annnoying cop-out and, obtusely, the new “move” is a combination of the two. You have to mash the acrobatic button until you trigger a quicktime event. It is obscenely frustrating and removes the promising groundwork the first game laid out.
If anything, Epilogue makes me far less excited for a Prince of Persia sequel than I was before I downloaded it. Although the platforming sequences are improved and the dialogue is better, I can only hope that this expansion is not a sign of things to come.
At an inflated price of $10, I recommend you download with caution.