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BulletMagnet avatar 11:19 PM on 12.03.2008  (server time)
Pseudo-Review: Prince of Persia “LE” Content

Well, the new Prince of Persia is finally here – suffice it to say, I’m one of many impetuous gamers who reserved the title early and picked it up this afternoon. That said, you’ve probably already read a handful of reviews and impressions of this much-publicized product, and many more of the same are likely to follow in the coming days – as such, instead of posting another writeup on the game itself, I decided to offer something a little different, and aimed at a much smaller audience. Having been pre-ordered, my copy was upgraded to the much-touted “Limited Edition”, available only to those like myself who were willing to jump in head-first – that being the case, I’m sure that there are a fair amount of my fellow gamers who hesitated to commit to the title so early on, and are wondering exactly what they might have missed – here, for your reference, is a quick rundown of exactly what the LE includes. One final note – this refers to the 360 version, though to the best of my knowledge the PS3’s LE is pretty much the same (if any notable differences exist please let me know).

First things first – that “collectible LE packaging,” the alternate cover image, the sepia-toned picture of the Prince’s claw glove? It’s actually just a decorative cardboard box – open it up, and inside is a regular ol’ DVD case with the “standard edition” cover image on it. Open that up, though, and you’ll find that the game disc itself is placed in a thin hinge attachment, while lurking behind it, resting in the “main” disc holder, is the LE DVD. That’s right - the entire laundry list of LE extras, from the behind-the-scenes stuff to the art gallery to the soundtrack – is all crammed onto a single disc. If you start it up, here’s what you’ll have at your disposal, in its entirety –

”Making of” Feature – The showpiece of the LE extras, this 12-minute video gives a brief look at the basic elements of the game (art design, concept, etc.) and how they came to pass, including brief interviews with a few of the programmers, designers, and others involved. The tone is a bit goofy (yeah, the cameraman is threatened with the Warrior Within sword…again), and there’s not much here that you haven’t seen in similar “making of” featurettes, but it is still kind of neat to take a gander at the amount of man- and machine-power behind a single game. At least I thought so, at any rate.

Digital Art Book – Appears to be about 30 pages of artbook scans; offhand I don’t know whether this book is available for sale in physical form (or whether it would include stuff not seen on the disc, or vice-versa), though it certainly looks like it might be, since cover page and credit images are included here. You can scroll through the selection via the “chapter” buttons on your remote, as well as zoom in on them for a closer look – unfortunately, despite some nice artwork on display, the images struck me as a bit blurry, even when viewed up close. In fairness, my TV can only display 720p, so maybe things would look better in 1080…

Mini-Strategy Guide – Apparently a preview of the “official” player’s guide, around 50 pages total, scrolled through and viewed in the same manner as the “art book.” Most of the information contained here is a basic rundown of controls and moves – in otherwords, stuff you could already find in the instruction booklet, while the rest is a walkthrough of one particular section. Nothing of much note here, since most anyone who would be interested in the guide in the first place likely reserved that, too.

Videos – On display in this section are a trio of character “speed art” demonstrations, the first Developer Diary (which has been viewable online for a bit now), and an “art video,” which is basically an extra trailer designed to show off the game’s art style. Most of this content is neat to watch once, but very brief.

Soundtrack – Sorry, no separate audio CD here – you’ll need a DVD player to access this music, and will need to leave it (and whatever screen you’ve got it hooked up to) running to keep the soundtrack playing. What’s more, there are only a half-dozen tracks, though some of them are pretty long, totaling up to about 35 minutes of music – I haven’t played enough of the game to know if this selection manages to cover all of the scores present therein, but either way, in all honesty I wonder how many people regularly set aside a DVD player for a purely aural experience (well, in fairness the background image changes along with the songs, but still).

Trailers – I can only guess that some sort of obscure law mandates that every “extra content” section of anything has to have a few of these tossed in someplace (“You never actually released trailers for this product? Then make some up!”). Three of them are included in this case, most notably the semi-lengthy “walkthrough” teaser – suffice it to say, they are what they are, but lose a fair bit of their former appeal once you have the actual finished game in your possession.

Unless I’m forgetting something, I believe that should cover the whole enchilada. All in all, while nothing extraordinary, it’s worth keeping in mind that this package really isn’t a “Limited Edition” at all, at least not in the sense that one usually thinks of it – since auto-upgraded pre-orders cost exactly the same as buying the game “normally,” the extra disc and packaging are really just glorified pre-order bonuses. Of course, the fact that the additional frou-frou was free certainly helps its cause, but at the same time I feel pretty confident in telling the “wait and see” gamers out there that they needn’t worry about having missed something major here. Not to mention that, if you still feel that you must have the LE for whatever reason, before too long you’ll likely see used copies of it on shelves – if you were patient enough to pass it by on release day, waiting for that should be no problem.

Hopefully this write-up proved of interest to someone – if you’d like something above clarified or expanded upon, feel free to ask.

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