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May 27, 2009

Review: Prince of Persia: The Fallen King

Prince of Persia: The Fallen King
Available for Nintendo DS

On the heels of the latest Prince of Persia console game release, Ubisoft has also released Prince of Persia: The Fallen King for the Nintendo DS. Though The Fallen King’s Prince character is slightly modeled after the current Prince character in the console storyline, this Nintendo DS game actually brings its own story, characters and new style to the Prince of Persia series, so don’t expect a copycat version here.

This time around the prince is trying to survive a world that has fallen into darkness. The god of chaos, Ahriman has unleashed a cloud of corruption that has begun to plague the kingdom. The Prince, following a tip, decides to head to a reputed safe haven, but instead finds the town to be rife with corrupted creatures and a trio of floating magic users. It is up to the Prince to find the god of light and obtain his help to rid the kingdom of the corruption. However the Prince does not have to do it alone. Along his journey the Prince encounters a Magus by the name of Zal whose magic draws the corruption to him and has corrupted the lower part of his body. With Zal’s magic to aid he in his mission the Prince must stop Ahriman and his forces before all hope is lost.

Prince of Persia: The Fallen King plays much like your typical side scrolling action adventure, but with a very unique twist. The entire game is controlled using the stylus, while the buttons on the Nintendo DS are completely useless. Problem is though, if you move your stylus a bit too high or a bit too far to the left, you’ll cause Prince to fall to his death over and over again. Luckily the developers put a lot of check points in the game, so don’t worry if you never master the art of the stylus controls.

The Fallen King does stay true to the Prince of Persia style of acrobatics as the Prince is still able to perform a multitude of wall climbing, wall jumping, and wall sliding moves. Movement in the game is quite simple controlled by either sliding the stylus along the bottom of the screen or holding it still at the other end. The combat system has you just tapping each enemy as they approach to attack. Pretty simple sounding but when put into practice you find that Prince doesn’t seem to respond properly to most of your actions. You move him to jump and he just walks off the cliff. Grand ...

The background graphics are rich and most of the objects lying around in game become interactive at some point or another in the game. The character designs have a very manga chibi style feel which makes the game play experience feel much like a living comic book. Even the stylus has its own effect when touched to the screen. Dragging the pointer across the field leaves a trail of glittering blue-white light that greatly improves the overall look and feel of the game. All in all the game is very clean and appealing to the eye.

The sound could have been much better considering the effort they put behind the graphics in this game. The sound comes off very budget which was a huge disappointment especially when the newest console version of Prince of Persia had a beautiful and haunting soundtrack. When you’re on the level select screen navigating the stages, the same track plays for the entire time and when you’re in a game level, you’ll hear the another boring track run over and over again until you clear the stage. So if you decided to turn the volume all the way down on your DS, don’t worry, you won’t be missing anything. Also there are no voiceovers in this game only text conversations, so be prepared to read a lot of text.

While Prince of Persia: The Fallen King is a pretty looking game, its lack of button controls made it down right frustrating to play and difficult to enjoy. While I am a fan of the console version of Prince of Persia, I honestly think that Ubisoft should have put more energy and time into this instalment of the franchise before they released it into the wild because it’s hard to believe after playing both Prince of Persia and this that the same company could create two completely different games: one perfectly wonderful and exotic and one so god awful to control and listen to. I suggest Prince of Persia fans stick to the console version and leave The Fallen King on the store shelves.

Rating: 4 out of 10
Pass it!

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