Posté le : 25 décembre
To start: I used to add a header to these reviews, but since it often made the review too long to sumbit, I've opted to leave it on my Backloggery page.
Gameplay: Sid Meier has a development mantra he calls the "Covert Action Rule," which goes, "It's better to have one good game than two great games." While this isn't necessarily a perfect way to continue into this game, it's the best one I've thought of. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is one you probably already know about. If you don't, then what you should know is that this game is half parkour simulator and half sword-fighting game; the latter of which I found to be incredibly infuriating at times, but I'll talk about that part later.
The platforming in this game is really, really fun. There's a slight bit of puzzle to the platforming sections, but usually never to the point where you've gotta stop for a minute or two to think about how you're gonna tackle these jumps. Those are saved for the actual puzzles in the game, of which there are about five puzzle areas. The first one is of the highest quality in my opinion, but that's not to say that the later ones are bad; it's just that the first one is really well-designed. As far as the controls go, there's essentially a "magic parkour button," (you should definitely use a controller for this game, by the way) and most of the actions are done automatically. This can lead you to throw yourself off of a ledge more than a few times when you're starting out, but thankfully you've got the ability to rewind time once you get the Dagger of Time.
This brings me to the combat, which I feel is both far too simple and far too complex. It's far too complex, since there are apparently 50+ combos that you can do in the game, of which I only ever really needed one (attack attack attack attack etc.), and there is no documentation in-game for the combos. That's not to say that having combos are a bad thing; I'd just like to know what they are. The game does no tutorializing as far as combos go, and in fact I only learned about this vast number of combos because I looked it up. This is one of the main reasons why the game can be very frustrating; I'm assuming that these combos are in the manual or something, but the Steam version doesn't come with a manual. Even then, the combos really should be in game in a menu somewhere. Also, there were many times in which I found myself stuck on the ground and unable to get up. It turns out that if you are blocking while you're on the ground, you can't get up. The game doesn't tell you about this either. Another reason why the game is too complex for its own good is that there's only about six different types of enemies throughout the entire game, and they all pretty much have the same AI pattern of "surround player, stunlock to death," which sure does suck whenever your only real way of getting out of that situation is jumping over enemies, and the type of enemy surrounding you are ones that can't be jumped over.
The game is also far too simple, partly because of one major sin: automatic lock-on. If you are even pointing your analog stick in the directon of the enemy, you'll magically be attracted to that enemy for a while, even if you're pointing away from them. It's really annoying, and can lead to many times of getting surrounded. Trying to roll through a tight gap to avoid getting surrounded by un-jumpable enemies? Too bad; you're jumping on the un-jumpable enemy. Trying to attack a once faraway enemy that you're getting closer to? You will if you get lucky enough that the Prince stops ogling at an enemy you were attacking prior. Even beyond the frustrating bits with the controls, there's the fact that every single enemy is defeated in the same way: attack until they fall on their stomach, use the dagger to absorb them. Also yes, if you were wondering, the lock-on can mess you up with this as well, leading you to use powerups on enemies you didn't want to when you were just trying to absorb some sand.
And then there's your game-long escort, Farah. Notice how I said escort and not partner? Intentional. She's an absolute idiot in combat. She comes with a bow, but constantly insists on standing statuesque directly in the fray, even when being attacked, when a much simpler solution would be for her to get to some dang high ground. There's loads of it around, so there's really no excuse for it. Also, if she dies, the game is over. What does she offer to the game as a whole? The ability to crawl through small gaps. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, she's about as useful as a puppy, mouse, or other small animal. She's about as useful in combat as well, actually. You see, she can't actually kill enemies. She just stuns them every now and then when she's not looking around in random directions admiring the architecture as though the idea of stone buildings is the most amazing thing ever. Long story short, she's absolutely useless and is more of a liablility than anything else.
Speaking of the architecture (and something positive), the level design is fantastic. I'll go more into detail in the graphics section, but for now, I can definitely say that they did an excellent job creating a world that feels natural for the most part. There are a few pretty contrived places here and there, but who knows what those crazy architects are up to anymore, eh? Apart from that, though, that's all I really have to say about this game's gameplay. The platforming is super fun, but the combat just really brings the game down in my opinion. Then again, maybe games like Metal Gear Rising, Bayonetta, and Devil May Cry 1 have led me to expect too much from these kinds of games. I still stand with what I said at the beginning; this game would be so much better if it were two games: a game focused almost entirely on platforming with maybe 5% of the game being combat, and another game being 95% combat (with a more-developed combat system/enemy variety) and 5% platforming. As is, you've got one really good thing and one really frustrating thing which kinda makes me not wanna play this game again. If it weren't for the combat, this game would easily get a 10/10 from me, but with the combat, it drops to a 7/10. Great at times; absolutely miserable at others.
Story: You may have gathered from that one paragraph that I don't like Farah all that much. You'd be right. To be honest, it still doesn't really make sense why she comes along at all; she's useful for being small and that's about it. All this being said though, she's not a badly written character; just an okay one. She is a love interest of the Prince, which again feels pretty contrived to me, and to be quite frank; I think the Prince is insane for wanting her. Oh well; I couldn't possibly hope to understand what goes through the Prince's head. As for the prince itself, he's pretty much straddling the line between hero and anti-hero. He wants to do good, but he's a bit of a selfish prat at the same time. Then again, he *is* a prince, so you can't expect him to have had the greatest socialization experience growing up, so fair enough. Apart from Farah and the Prince, everyone else is just a minor character. The premise and delivery is pretty cool, too; it's being told in terms of a story, and as such, has the ablility to go back and forth, as does happen with the story and the gameplay. It's all quite clever, I must admit. While the character arcs may not be the most amazing thing ever, I can appreciate the clever nature of the delivery and the premise enough to give it an 8/10.
(I actually have run out of space; time to put the rest in the comments again!)