Hitting the DS for the first time for the franchise, the Prince of Persia series is back re imagined for the Nintendo Portable. Headlining the DS version is Ubisoft Casablanca responsible for the handheld versions of Rayman Raving Rabbits and while the Next gen versions have been praised highly for it’s reinvented style how exactly has the duel screens re imagined the platform genre for the prince?
The story in Prince of Persia : The Fallen King differs from it’s console counterparts where it begins with the Prince in danger. Whilst seeking sanctuary in a deserted kingdom, he finds that it has been touched by an evil “corruption”. As the Prince seeks a way to protect himself from the corruption, the evil has spread to warp the environment creating obstacles and traps. Along the way,the Prince discovers a creature who is partially corrupted, the Magus. The story is told mostly through stills and text and hence can be easily skipped and overlooked. It never really connects with the audience and Magus who becomes your partner rather than Elika in the console version doesn’t have the same sympathy and emotion as you feel for Elika.
The game is basically broken up into levels containing a number of stages. Each of these stages has various platform puzzles and jumps to get from start to finish. While it is fun to start off with, there really isn’t much to the stages as the top screen basically shows you where you start from to your finish point without much additional exploration involved. Half the time the puzzles will basically “guide” you to the finish. While the classic platform style of the original Prince of Persia is still here, the variety and depth surely isn’t. Half the time you’ll be performing the same kinds of puzzles again and again, only in a different order. To add to the limited puzzles is Magus’s magic which can fire orbs at enemies to knock them back or to grip and move rocks. There are a fair number of these different abilities and they do help mix things a bit but you’ll soon find yourself performing the same thing over and over, either jumping from one thing to another or using corruption. The main problem is in it’s controls. The majority of the game is spent using the stylus and a button to activate magic and while this may sound like it could work well, the execution of it isn’t. Sometimes you’ll find that the controls work well while most of the time it’ll either unresponsive or too responsive. This occurs a lot when trying to jump from platform to platform where you’ll find that you either jumped too late or not even at all falling into a pit below. It just becomes hellish annoying and really ruins the experience as a normal D-pad would have worked much better giving more response. Once you finish the main story, which can be completed in a few hours, there really isn’t anything else to do and you won’t find a reason to go through it again. The boss battles are interesting but a lack of multiplayer or goals and general lack of anything to do after you’ve beaten the game doesn’t help the value of the game.
While visually there isn’t anything that screams out amazing but what is there is solid with the art style having a more “kiddy” feel to them. Not everyone will like it, that’s for sure but we didn’t really mind it. The sound is your regular mix of clashes and grunts of enemies, other than that the music is fine for most part but doesn’t do anything to really stand out.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King attempts to relive the classic Prince of Persia games and while it is a fun normal platformer which doesn’t do much to expand the genre, it’s annoying controls will probably be a turnoff for many. If you can get past the control issues, it’s an alright game.
Story – 6.0 – okay but can be easily skipped
Gameplay – 5.5 – bad controls, repetitive levels
Video – 6.0 – Decent 2d side scroll.
Audio – 7.0 – Some orchestral tracks
Overall – 6.2