This is something wholly new for the Prince of Persia franchise, using the title of the original game but telling a brand new story utterly detached from any of the other previous games.
In other words, this is the start of a new Prince of Persia. You don’t need to have played The Sands of Time trilogy or any other game. Just so we’re clear. There are still people on the bit-tech staff who seem to have trouble grasping that little fact despite being told repeatedly. Right, Harry?
In fact, even if you have played one of the older games then you’re not going to be any better off – though you should still go back and play The Sands of Time again anyway. It’s a particularly awesome game and very much worth playing even if the new Prince of Persia is a totally different game and one without the time-travelling idea.
A new story then needs a new character and while Ubisoft has kept the cast fairly small, the characters are more well developed than a Playboy bunny because of this. The focus of the script has been narrowed so that if players want to keep on hammering the ‘Talk’ button then they can make the game as much a character study as a platformer.
The characters in question are pretty different to anything we might have seen in previous Prince of Persia games too and while the titular Prince has had a rightful claim to the throne in previous games, that isn’t the case here. In the new game he’s just a simple adventurer who has stumbled onto one quest when returning from another. Realistic and earthy, the Prince is a man of steel and silver – a master swordsman who trusts action over words and plans over dreams.
Balancing out the Prince’s wit and realism then is the new character, the Princess Elika. Introduced to the Prince when she tumbles onto him in a sandstorm, Elika is being pursued by her fathers men as she rushes to a nearby temple – sweeping the Prince up in her wake.
With a powerful and holy magic coursing through her, Elika has lived a life of quiet dignity in her position as princess of the Ahura – a dwindling group of priests who guard the prison of Ahriman, God of Darkness. Abandoned by their own god, Ormazd, the Ahura are now but a few and Elika is the only one who retains the holy powers needed to protect the land.
Protect it from what, I hear you ask. Well, from the escaped God of Darkness, that’s what.
Partially freed by Elika’s father, Ahriman has corrupted the Persian kingdom and slicked the skyline over with shadows and malice. Oily ick is oozing from the earth as Ahriman’s corruption spreads and his minions run riot through the now barren and spoiled rooms of Elika’s palace. It’s up to you and Elika to claim the lands back, healing the earth like that whiny Brazilian kid in Captain Planet. The power of Heart really is the lamest power of them all.
Doing that won’t be simple though and you’ll need to reclaim the Fertile Grounds inch by inch, pushing back Ahriman’s generals one by one. He’s got more players on the pitch than there are in the major league, so even if you’ve got all the moves of Ronaldo then it still doesn’t mean this’ll be easy.