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December 2008
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Prince of Persia: First Impressions

I’ve been playing Prince of Persia (website) since release day.  I wish there were more hours in the day for this, and sometimes I look for new hours just to play it.  My normal day goes like this:


  • 7:00 – Wake up, feed the cat, eat a bowl of cereal, play Prince of Persia
  • 7:45 – Shower, get dressed, play Prince of Persia
  • 8:45 – Leave for work
  • 1:16 – Home for lunch, eat a sandwich, play Prince of Persia
  • 1:50 – Drive back to work
  • 5:15 – Home from work, feed the cat, play Prince of Persia
  • 6:30 – Hang out with friends, make dinner, possibly Prince of Persia
  • 11:30 – Friends are gone, play Prince of Persia
  • … ? – Sleep?

I’ve been waiting for this game for a long time, for two reasons.  The first is that I have loved several of the previous Prince of Persia games, starting with the original (which I played on an old 286 IBM).  The other reason is that it uses a modified version of Assassin’s Creed’s Scimitar engine.  I also knew going into this game that the graphics were cell-shaded, which I usually enjoy.

I was not prepared for the graphical style that the developer chose for this game.  It’s really, truly stunning.  The graphics are cell-shaded, but the level of detail is impressive.  The motion is smooth and fluid, which is strange enough in that you spend as much of your time running on walls and ceilings as you do on floors.  But the style they’ve chosen makes the magical effects gorgeous and brings the characters to life.

Other parts of the game, I expected.  In fact, I pre-ordered it from Game Stop.  I almost never pre-order, but I wanted to get it on release day and I wanted the Limited Edition (which was priced at $59.99, the normal game price – it seems they are all limited edition).  Here, I have to stop and make a dig at Game Stop – they did not have the game on the stated release day, but told me it came out two days later.  Both my pre-order receipt and the all-knowing Internet said the game released on the earlier day.  On the day they had the game, they did not call me to tell me my game was in (as promised on the pre-order receipt, which said I shouldn’t go pick it up until they call me).  When I got in at 5:15, which is right after most people get out of work, they had only one copy left.  Now I can’t be the last person to pick up the game at 5:15.  Surely someone who pre-ordered must want to come in later (e.g. if they work farther away).  So why only one copy left?  Oh, that’s right, Game Stop does sell pre-ordered copies to walk-ins if you ask nicely.  They sold me a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl on release day, even though they did not even have enough to fill pre-orders.  Their logic that time?  “Not everybody picks up their pre-order on release day, anyway.”

But enough about them.  Back to the game.

I hear this Prince of Persia is a short game.  No doubt.  I’m most of the way through it already.  But I think this is a magnificent game and I wouldn’t mind if it cuts short.  That would give me time to play through it again.  It’s also not particularly hard, but I don’t mind an easy game if it’s also fun… and shiny to look at.

My biggest complaint so far, honestly, is the Achievements.  They are not well thought-out.  “Congratulations, you pressed Left Trigger for the first time.”  Seriously, they have that.  It’s worth 10 points.  The Achievements are fairly linear and unimaginative.  Some involve beating a boss without using a specific button – not hard.  Come on, people, put more thought into your Achievements.  Make me do something difficult.  I’m sick of games where I’m walking along and an Achievement pops up.  What’s that one for?  Oh, I was at an impressive view.  Too bad my camera was facing away from it and I didn’t notice until I looked later to see what I got an Achievement for.

All around, though, my first impression of Prince of Persia is stellar.  I give it an A, for Awesome.

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