8.5

Loved it to begin with, but soon got repetitive and had to make my gaming sessions shorter.

I should state up front that I am not a regular Prince of Persia gamer. I briefly flirted with the old classic on the 386s (the fact that is was the only all-colour game together with Dangerous Dave that I had access to was the main reason), but to be honest I found that the basic PoP was too hard for my liking. However, I got hooked again by Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and it's story-telling style. I also liked Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed very very much so I thought I would give the latest Prince of Persia a try.

First impressions completely bowled me over - the visuals were slick, the animations were incredibly smooth (I have an AMD X2 6000+, 3 GB RAM and an 8800 GT, so reasonably up-to-spec) and the new art style is especially enchanting. After I unlocked each art slideshow in the "extras", I used to sit through the whole slideshow (sometimes twice) and just gawp at the pictures and listen to the music. The music is another fantastic thing about this game - cheerful yet haunting, I'd find myself humming it quietly at various points during the day even when not even thinking about the game or my computer.

The actual gameplay, though, I found to be not so overwhelming. In the beginning it was great, as I discovered how to execute the various moves and jumps and wallruns, etc. So too the first few combat sequences. But then it started to get a bit repetitive. And I felt a bit insulted by how the difficulty was "raised" in the battles with the Warrior. Button-mashing is NOT my idea of a refreshing challenge. And I don't believe the "console gamer design" excuse. Come on. Console gamers played Oblivion, too, and loved it just as much - so blind button-mashing isn't necessarily what they are looking for, either.

Overall, I enjoyed it very much for the first 10 hours, and I especially liked the little gems they included as sequences for how you learn to use each Power of Ormazd that you unlock. It was a thrill to unlock each successive once to find out how they would work. But once I had unlocked all 4, and collecting light seeds didn't carry as much significance (no feeling of satisfaction on executing that difficult move to capture that trickily-placed light seed, one step closer to the next power), I found it a bit of a drag to carry on just to beat the remaining big baddies and finish the story. Also I found the ending a bit weak (not the bit about collecting the last light seed - don't want to say more for fear of a spoiler - but not the bit about the last light seed). I mean dealing with the last 2 baddies in the game (the dad and the dark god). That could have been fleshed out a bit more and done better.

Overall, I gave it an 8.5 to GameSpot's 8.0, but that's just because I loved the artwork so much and went back to gawping at it after I finished the game. Also, there was a hint of maturity about the choice given to you at the end of the game regarding the last light seed. Just a hint, though.

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