Monday, November 30, 2009

Prince of Persia - Complaints

I did a TON of gaming over the Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately I didn't do any blogging, so now it's time to play catch-up.

First I'll finish my series on Prince of Persia. I was pretty positive about the game earlier, but now it's time to vent some bile by pointing out all the game's flaws. In no particular order:

- The combat is boring and cheap. It relies way too heavily on quick-time events, some of which require the player to hammer away on a specific button for several seconds. Enemies block at random and can trigger special attacks whenever they care to, often multiple times in a row later in the game. I could do the platforming in this game for hours but the battles lose my interest in seconds.

- Enemies also sometimes glow a specific color that indicates they can only be hit by a certain type of attack. The color for a magic attack with Elika is black. The color for a throw attack is dark, dark, dark purple (i.e. black). If you call for Elika when you were supposed to do a grab move, she collapses in a heap until you can get to her position and revive her. Take a guess as to how this works out during a frantic, quick-time event laden battle. An Xbox can render THOUSANDS of different colors - why exactly did these two have to be identical?

- PoP is surprisingly glitchy for an Ubisoft game. In particular, the Epilogue is very poorly constructed. The most egregious was an audio bug that caused a high pitched screeching sound like nails down a chalkboard to loop constantly while playing. Most of the bugs are well documented in the online community, yet Ubisoft has done little to fix them.

- Speaking of the Epilogue, which can be downloaded from Live for a little extra dough, it is a FLAMING TURD. I've heard that some people complained the game was too easy, and Ubisoft apparently thought the best way to handle that complaint was to sharpen their platforming gameplay to a point and shove it under our fingernails as we tearfully apologized for our impertinence. The retail game makes you feel like a superhero as you swing and leap around the environment, while the add-on content makes you feel as if the Prince's hands have been replaced by walrus flippers, stumbling and flailing about the ridiculously lengthy series of jumping puzzles.

- Oh, and everything that sucks about the combat in the regular game is 100 times worse in the Epilogue. Same bosses as the original but even cheaper? Hooray!

- The Achievement list is mostly based on widget collection (1001 light seeds). All the icons are the same crappy picture. The whole thing is pretty uninspired.


- And the worst issue of all: the ending is CRIMINALLY bad. I would have been irate with the ending if I hadn't been so stupified with its pure idiocy. Not only does it not make any sense given the characters, but it completely nullifies everything you worked to achieve in the game. Then everyone complained that the ending sucked, so they made an Epilogue to give the game a more "satisfying" ending, only that one sucked too! You go through the whole game working your ass off to save the land, then undo it all in seconds. Why? So they can make a PoP2 and make you do it all again. Seriously Ubisoft...fuck you. That is a total dick move and I won't forget it.


I'm not sure what to make of Ubisoft these days. I've liked their games in the past, but we're not getting along so well lately. At least I got the sense that they were trying to make a good game with Assassin's Creed, even if they failed miserably. This PoP game has some strong points, but it's riddled with bugs and bad design decisions, plus the cop-out ending is a total deal-breaker for me. I'm not ready to cut them off completely, but a couple more bombs like this and we could get to that point.

For those still interested in PoP, I'd recommend renting the retail version and avoiding the downloadable Epilogue like the plague.

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