When I heard about the new Prince of Persia
game mid 2008 and, later on, saw how pretty it looked, I was so giddy I had to get a change of pants. The new pants weren't quite as comfortable as the pair I had been wearing several minutes before, but that was alright because there was going to be a new Prince of Persia game and that was awesome.
I didn't actually play the game until July this year, more than seven months after it had come out and four months after they released the actual ending of the game that you had to pay extra cash for (which, might I add, is complete bullshit). It's not that I lost interest in the game, the whole time it was out I would mutter to myself on occasion "You know, I should play that new Prince of Persia
game, whatever it's called." No, I was just strapped for cash, and I still am, so buying games is not a luxury I get to enjoy too often and renting is out of the question because I like to explore every facet of a game when I play one, and five days was in no way ample time for such a manner of playing.
When I did finally get my hands on a copy of the game, I was prepared to devote an entire afternoon to basking in the glory of the new Prince of Persia
title. Eventually real life got the better of me and I ended up only playing for about two hours that day, but over the span of several weeks I would finally work my way toward beating the game and getting to the ending that would appear if you payed an extra fifteen dollars. When I finally did reach the end credits of the game, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, and not because of the non-ending. There was something about the game that was just so... familiar...
To illustrate a point, allow me to explain the unnamed character who isn't royalty but is nonetheless named "The Prince" in the latest installment of Prince of Persia.
"The Prince" is a daring adventurer who has had various escapades and has explored the world far and wide seeking treasure from forgotten tombs, and has gained knowledge of the world and how it works from his past journeys. He is an aloof, fun-loving character who is thrown into a bad situation involving an ancient, abandoned city. The wise-cracks and one-liners come aplenty, but he has the ability to show his serious side, and he doesn't really go too in-depth about his past. He seems selfish at first, but reveals himself to have a good heart and a conscience. He is voiced by Nolan North.
Now, allow me to describe the character of Nathan Drake, main character of 2007 Playstation 3 exclusive title Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
, a game that is so far one of my favorite games of this generation.
Nathan Drake is a daring adventurer who has had various escapades and has explored the world far and wide seeking treasure from forgotten tombs, and has gained knowledge of the world and how it works from his past journeys. He is an aloof, fun-loving character who is thrown into a bad situation involving an ancient, abandoned city. The wise-cracks and one-liners come aplenty, but he has the ability to show his serious side, and he doesn't really go too in-depth about his past. He seems selfish at first, but reveals himself to have a good heart and a conscience. He is voiced by Nolan North.
Throughout the entire time I played Prince of Persia
I got the unmistakable feeling that I had played a platforming game with neat acrobatic gameplay, combat, and the occasional puzzle that needed solving with this same exact character before. Now, please note I'm not calling the games similar. If you boil them down to the basics they are very similar (and you have now ruined a perfectly good disc by putting it in boiling water for I don't know what reason), but you're definitely playing two very different games. No, my concern is with the wise-cracking and at times goddamned annoying main characters of the game. They are the same. They act the same, they sound the same, their professions are the same, and their good looks and impossible hair are the same. It's all the same. I don't know if this would have been less noticeable if Nolan North had not voice-acted for both characters, but all I know is that it did not help. Granted, Nathan Drake was a much less annoying character, but that changes nothing, they are clones of each other down to the very last offhanded and comedic comment nonchalantly brushing off their latest near-death experience.
I know I'm not the only person to see this. When I discussed the game with my good friend it didn't take very long at all for us to get to this subject. Now, I'd bet that these similarities are accidental and were never even noticed by Ubisoft when they were making the game, but it was something I could not, for the life of me (or The Prince, who I had jump off of just about every edge in the game) ignore the similarities between the characters. It was so prevalent in my mind that I kind of expected Nathan and Elaine to be one of the unlockable skins in the game that I never bothered to figure out how to get. Are they one of the unlockable skins?
Now this offers a whole new question, as well Are our video game characters becoming too samey and are they all just starting to become homogeneous? The answer is: Of course, don't be stupid. Grizzled space marines and the scared protagonist who eventually comes to his own and the girls who seem cold and distant from the main character but eventually open their heart to them and they fall in love and make kissy faces at each other. Sentence fragment. It's not a sign of the apocalpyse for good stories or anything, it's just that you're always going to have, in any media, characters who are the same as other characters, just like how Bruce Willis is always going to be the hilarious toughguy in the movies or Michael Cera will forever be typecast as that awkward kid (I wonder what'll happen the day he decides to sport a beard. You know it's coming). Despite all this, you're going to have your unique characters as long as there are good developers out there who hire good writers to make good characters for good stories.
As a whole I won't comment on what I thought of the latest Prince of Persia game (I thought the game to be too easy, slightly boring, and I didn't find either the story or the characters to be engaging. Also, you had to pay fifteen dollars for the ending. Seriously, what the hell?), I simply had to wonder if anyone else noticed this strange phenomenon scientists call "These Two Characters Are Exactly The Same" Syndrome.
I think that's Latin or something. read