Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you: they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am or why I say this. Sit down and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard.
I will be honest, when I was younger, platforming games scared the hell out of me, I played the demo of Sands of Time and Warrior Within: I did not get very far at all.
Fast forward 7 years and I have broadened my horizons to every single genre of game, If I am not good at it, I will plug away at it until I beat it. I played Prince of Persia 2008, some complain that it is easy, but it is the game that got me into 3d platforming. I loved the setting, the music, the characters; it was easily one of the best purchases I had made in a long time.
Not too long ago, I watched the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time film. What can I say; I enjoyed it. I was an enjoyable night out. Afterwards, I had an uncontrollable urge to rewind time. So, that very same week, I acquired the Sands of Time Trilogy. This is where the real adventure began.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
I wasn’t too sold on it when I started it, but it grew on me fast. The Prince was such a likable character, talking to himself while doing some impossible platforming feats. The combat was simple, yet satisfying. I made it ¾ through the game until I realised I could do counter attacks, it became vastly more interesting. I would jump over an enemy’s head, attack them, they would counter it, I would counter their counter attack, they would counter my counter-counter attack; it became an epic fight until one of us mistimed it or dodged away, still, there is something odd about the combat that I just can’t place my finger on; some annoying things are you have to stab every downed enemy with the dagger of time or they will get right back up with full health. The first time I witnessed this is shouted out “HERESY!” followed by “GODDAMN ZOMBIES!”. The platforming itself was tricky, made worse by some horrible camera angles, thank god you have the ability to rewind some mistakes then; as parts can be wildly frustrating. Some of the sand abilities were incredible, from freezing enemies with time to using a Haste attack that decimated everything.
I don’t want to mention graphics as it is an old game, but the first time I saw it, it hadn’t aged that well. That was until I became completely absorbed in the world, by then it didn’t matter, it looked perfect to me. This proves that you don’t need nostalgia goggles. The story was simple: you unleashed the sands of time, turning nearly everything into a sand creature; you need to use the dagger of time to put the sands back; so begins the journey across the wonderful city into the tower of dawn to fix everything. But you’re not alone: for about half the game you have Farah, a princess, your counterpart. She has a bow and arrow that stuns baddies while you do most the dirty work; she can die if you neglect her, but it never feels like an escort mission, she can handle herself, providing you handle yourself. She can also fit into cracks in the walls to unlock doors, I’m sure there’s a sexual innuendo in there somewhere... But Farah really has character, the conversations between her and the Prince are fantastic, it’s funny, it’s really and you can feel the relationship build, and strain when they disagree on something.
The story is just nice and simple, with a sprinkling of mind-fuck.
There are few characters: Main ones are, The Prince, Farah and the Vizier.
The music in the game grew on me too, it had that Arabian nights feel it, it is difficult to describe, but some of the music is just epic, especially a battle track called ‘Tower of Dawn’; by the time it plays, you notice it just as you have become extremely combat proficient, you know shit is going down.
A brilliant thing about this game is how the Prince narrates it, every time you pause it, you hear the Prince say “You don’t want me to finish my story?” or something of the like, when you save “Alright, I will continue my story from here next time” and even when you die, the Prince retcons it with “No no no, that's not the way it happened. Shall I start again?”. I never got tired of hearing him and his narration. He even calls himself out on it when he talks to himself “why am I talking to myself. STOP TALKING TO YOURSELF!” If I was a woman, my heart would swoon for him.
To sum up, I just loved this game. I was sceptical going in, as I heard that PoP 2008 fans and SoT fans were pretty split, but I loved both equally. The story in SoT, which really doesn’t come together until the end, definitely wins out though; I just love the quirky Prince.
out of 100
grains of sand.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
the battle hardened Protagonist exclaims.
... Who is this jerk and what have you done with my beloved Prince?
That was my first impression. ‘Let’s make it Grimdark for the hell of it!’. Everything was a shade of grey, the music is annoying as hell and the Prince is a weary ass hole. Good thing the platforming and story save the fuck out of this game then.
I guess I had a similar experience with this game as I did with The Sands of Time; It grew on me. The platforming was harder, maybe because of a lot of stupid camera angles, it was a lot more demanding as well, as the fabled Sands become in high demand at certain points, sometimes I ran out of sands and had to rely on a single far back save point; frustrating, but at the same time, rewarding. Combat was harder, maybe because of a lot of stupidly annoying enemies, some enemies dodge all you attacks and can only be counter-attacked, some guys can attack past your block, others can attack you from a distance, it only gets frustratingly annoying when they all gang up on you at once; this caused me to search for unintentional ways past them at points, one saving grace for the combat, however, is the ability to pick up fallen foe’s weapons that you could throw, in addition to your increasingly powerful primary sword of course.
The story was a lot more involving and complicated that the first game though, in fact, it reminded me a little of Planescape: Torment; it wasn’t an epic journey to save the world, but about a man trying to save himself, in this case, The Prince is getting hunted by the Dahaka, a beast that is in charge of the timeline, the Prince should be dead, so the Dahaka tries to make it so; the Prince goes to the Island of Time to stop the sands of time from ever being created, therefore the Dahaka will have no quarrel with him. Of course there are quite a few twists and turns, but it is needless to say that I enjoyed this story.
This game seemed a lot longer than Sands of Time, but I have a feeling that it is mostly due to the large amount of backtracking that is required made even worse if you want the collectables and Life upgrades. The final battle was just fantastic (I battled the Dahaka instead of the Empress because I spent extra time acquiring all of the life upgrades, totally worth it), a lot more interesting and epic that the Sands of Time final boss. While I am here, I feel obliged to mention the numerous bugs, most of them small, but apparently there is a game breaking bug that requires restarting the game, luckily I didn’t run into it, but I felt like I ran into every other small bug that existed.
The Main Characters were: The Prince, Kaileena and the Dahaka.
To summarise, I enjoyed bits of this more than Sands of Time, such as the story and crazy platforming, but Sands of Time still wins out on aesthetic and music (By the end of Warrior Within, I never wanted to hear an electric guitar ever again.)
out of 100
grains of sand.
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
“Time is precious. Time is fleeting. Time... Is something you have very little of.”
Yay, the Prince is back baby!
The Prince has returned to his home: Babylon. But that evil Vizier is back and he wants to be a god... what an asshole. This final instalment in the trilogy really brings the Prince back to his roots, aesthetically, it’s a lot more in line with The Sands of Time, but the improved combat and platforming gimmicks are taken from Warrior Within.
The Story follows the second ending of Warrior Within where the Prince kills the Dahaka (Now you can see why I pained to get the life upgrades last time), Anyway, killing the Dahaka saves Kaileena, but royally fucks with time, undoing everything in the first game. So the Prince and Kaileena sail into Babylon and the game begins. Action right off the bat.
Another thing I like about this, is the fact that Kaileena narrates the game in the exact same way the Prince narrated Sands of Time, this brought a smile to my face. I’ll just brush over the plot here and say that the Vizier f*cks shit up, becomes a sort of god, and the Prince is almost turned into a sand monster. Luckily for him, he grabbed the Dagger of Time: the primary weapon in this game. So you go on a mission to kill the Vizier and accept your mistakes in life. Simple enough.
The pros here are: Aesthetically, it looks fantastic, the linear journey through the entirety of Babylon never upsets the eyes. The music is great, they dropped the shit from Warrior Within and went with music similar to Sands of Time, as well as making the game actually feel like it bringing the trilogy full circle, it sounds fantastic. Another pro is your counter-part: The Dark Prince. This guy is your alter-ego, your voice in your head, he gives you the power to transform into an actual Dark Prince/Sand creature-type thing. This makes combat extremely easy, gives you more platforming abilities with your dagger-tail-chain-whip-thing and any sands you collect fully restore your health, the only downside is that your health constantly drains in this form until you reach a body of water that changes you back, it broke up the gameplay and gave you more toys to play with, what’s not to like? The platforming without enemies, that’s what. Too many a time did I die without a single source of sand; I sure put the pressure on though, I’ll give it that. Back to the gameplay; a few times during the game, you are given control of a chariot as you race through the city to your next destination: I dislike this, it felt tacked on and crashing into a corner or wall was far too easy, every trip drained my sand tank.
Moving on, there were plenty of boss battles in this game, a change from the last two. All of them were different and required different strategies to defeat, from 20ft tall creatures to your nemesis, they all felt unique and satisfying to beat.
Another addition to the game is stealth kills: where you sneak up behind a baddie and use the action button, wait until your dagger glows blue, then stab the living shit out of them without alerting anyone else. I found this tricky at first, but it soon became invaluble and badass.
The bad things about the game include the extra long detour around the city, I mean, there’s a god to kill, your people are dying and it feels like you are taking the most scenic route through the city, it really slows the pace down, it just seemed a lot more noticeable this time. When I played through the game, I wasn’t really engaged, I was mostly playing out of habit, and sometimes it just didn’t grab me. As for the end fight, well, it really didn’t feel epic enough, there was too much rolling around and not enough fireworks, so to speak. It’s nearly redeemed by the final blow, however, where the Prince jumps up, time freezes, the camera does a 360 spin around him, before he stabs the fuck out of the Vizier, hundreds of feet above the tallest tower that is towering thousands of feet above the city.
Next up, the characters. The Prince himself is a lot more enjoyable this time, the charisma of the SoT prince with the skills of the WW, made a great protagonist. Meanwhile, the Dark Prince was freakin’ hilarious, I’m pretty sure he’s my favourite voice in my head of all time... if that made sense. He always has something to say and helpful advice while having fun ridiculing the Prince. Kaileena had an ever-lasting presence throughout the game with her narration, even though you only see her at the beginning and the end, I felt her role was gimped, but I can understand her absence as Farah is back. Yes, Princess Farah is back, with chainmail and a better bow, while not as involved as she was in SoT, you still help each other out and she still saves your ass a few times, the only bad thing here was the fact that it felt that you were always chasing her and trying to catch up to her, you never really teamed up to kick some serious ass. The Vizier is an asshole as usual. Aaaaand the rest of the cast was forgettable. Oh, except that old man in a cutscene who is all like “Goooo my Prince, defeat the bad guy, the citizens will fight the sand army and buy you time! Gooooooo!” what a classy bearded man, I hope he survived that battle.
In conclusion, this was an absolute blast to play and a fantastic end to the Trilogy, the pros far outweigh the cons and the story ties up in a nice circle.
I’ll give it 90
out of 100
grains of sand.
So, Now I’ll look at the Trilogy as a whole...
...Man, I don’t know where to even start, it was incredible. Sure, it was excessive platforming, it dragged in quite a few places and the camera was never really fixed, but it was one hell of a journey. Looking back on it, I did enjoy myself. A few save-points a day for the past month has been entertaining as hell. I had to take it in doses. A few levels a day keeps the sand monsters away.
The Memorable Cast:
The Star of the games.
Prince: No no no, that's not the way it happened. Shall I start again?
What’s a game without a beautiful woman who can kick your ass?
Kaileena: I have seen your future... And it does not look good.
Farah: Look! a crack!
On the Left: Asshole. In the middle: I don’t even know who this guy is, I like him though. On the Right: The best character in the series.
Vizier: Give me the dagger; you have unleashed the sands of time. I can undo what you have done... Give it to me!
Old Man: [Honestly, I can’t remember, but it was inspiring]
Dark Prince: Tick tock, Prince. Tick, tock.
Great characters, but now, back to the meta-plot: I’m a sucker for time-travel things, and this takes the cake, it’s extremely difficult, but with the ability to rewind time, it makes it easier, but by limiting that power, it evens itself out. I’ll take rewinding time, to checkpoints any day.
So, ask me: What is The Sands of Time Saga?
It is an epic journey of time, a battle against the darkest foes and fears, it is the views of impossible feats and jumps, a story of redemption and accepting consequences, it is the making of a hero, it is a love story, it is a race against and for time.
It. Is. Awesome.
I just fucked with time. Time is my bitch, the laws of causality will obey me. For I have known: The Sands of Time.
You see, Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you: they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am or why I say this. Sit down and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard.