Prince of Persia: The Fallen King
Posted 4 years ago By - Steve Clare
As they did with Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft has released a DS version of a game to complement its console counterparts. And also akin to Assassin’s Creed, the DS version of Prince of Persia, titled Prince of Persia: The Fallen King, is a poor show. Average visuals, repetitive audio, and imprecise controls coagulate to create an overall underwhelming experience.
The storyline of The Fallen King is similar to the console version in that it follows the Prince in his fight against Corruption. In The Fallen King, however, the Prince fights with a new ally at his side: the magus Zal. Zal has managed to stay largely unaffected by Corruption through liberal use of his magic, but it still has some sway over him. This proves to be largely a positive thing, though, because Zal can use Corruption to manipulate certain objects or beings. While the story is pretty good, the manner in which it is presented is not. There is no voice work; text conversations between the Prince and Zal advance the plot, and this medium is not at all engaging or immersive.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King is a fairly traditional platformer. You maneuver the Prince and Zal across the screen, avoiding spike-filled pits, falling blocks, spinning saws, and other dangers. You will fight the odd guard, but these fights are very easy to handle. You can block any attack and strike down the guards with two quick hits. What differentiates The Fallen King from other platformers is its liberal use of the DS’s touch screen. The Prince runs to where you touch the stylus on the screen, jumps across pits when you touch the other side, and runs up walls when you drag the stylus along them. Unfortunately, the touch screen controls are often horribly imprecise; the game often misinterprets jumps as runs or wall climbs as wall slides, and as you can imagine this leads to the Prince dying, a lot. The game isn’t particularly hard, but when you have to quickly jump across hovering platforms and the Prince instead simply runs off them and dies it is incredibly frustrating.
No voice-overs make dialogue less engaging
The other part of the game is Zal, the Corruption-riddled magus. By holding down any face button on the DS, your commands go to him as opposed to the Prince. By tapping certain points or dragging certain strings, you can have Zal manipulate the intermittent Corruption in an environment to move around heavy blocks or swing deftly over obstacles. Zal isn’t used nearly as much as the Prince, but the controls are very intuitive when he is.
When Prince of Persia: the Fallen King works, it works extremely well. Jumping across gaps, scaling walls, and dodging saws can be extremely satisfying when all of it is happening at the light touch of your stylus. But when the game begins to misinterpret your commands, and you helplessly see the Prince collapse upon sharp spikes or fall from a high platform again and again and again, it simply becomes frustrating. The touch screen controls are the game’s greatest asset and also its greatest liability.
When Prince of Persia: the Fallen King works, it works extremely well.
The game does feature great pacing and level design, which keep it engaging despite some repetition. There are 50-some stages to traverse, and the difficulty ramps up nicely with each one. In addition, new concepts are introduced gradually, so you never feel overwhelmed with new ideas. The levels themselves take you through a wide variety of locales, from dark caverns to bright cities to exotic coasts. Zal widens his array of powers as the game progresses, and new challenges follow each addition.
At first glance, it might appear that The Fallen King is the kind of game that can only be done on the DS. However, it can also be said that everything the game does with its controls can be done--and done better--without touch controls.
Graphics & Sound
When it comes to visuals, Prince of Persia: The Fallen King can be summed up in one word: average. It has a nice, big colour palette, with dark, cool colours in the darker stages to bright, warm colours in the city. The graphics often appear very pixelated, though, with not much detail while you are actually playing. During cut-scenes, the character design is much better, with a lot more detail. Unfortunately, you spend a lot more time playing than watching cut-scenes, so the graphics are overall unimpressive.
Graphics often appear very pixelated
The music in The Fallen King is pretty good, but it gets very repetitive, and will soon drive the volume toggle on your DS all the way down. The in-game ambient noises; that is, the grunts from the Prince, whirring of saws, etc. all sound fairly nice, but they aren’t enough to really improve the audio quality sufficiently.
The game has a good number of levels, but many people won’t find the drive to complete the quest, as the bland storytelling doesn’t offer any incentive to do so. Completionists can burn some time searching the levels for hidden treasure chests, or collecting enough coins to open doors that conceal interesting secrets. Ubisoft made an odd decision, though, when they made it impossible to return to previously visited worlds. There are five in the game, and once you pass through them you can only come back if you start a brand new file.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King is an ambitious but ultimately unimpressive platformer. Its interesting control scheme can be very fun and immersive when everything is running smoothly, but as soon as those moments end and frustration sets in the game ceases to be fun. When coupled with bland storytelling and a lackluster audio-visual presentation, you’re left with a disappointing experience that could have been much more. Fans of the platforming genre will find a fairly fun experience, provided they can overcome the game’s faults, but the rest of us can do better, especially considering the fact that the DS has a huge library of high-quality titles to be checked out.
+ Ambitious control scheme
+ Great pacing and level design
- Repetitive music
- Annoying boss battles
- Many gamers won’t bother to complete the game due to repetition and boring storytelling
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Release Date : 2008/12/02
System : Nintendo DS
Publisher : Ubisoft
Developer : Ubisoft Casablanca
Category : Adventure
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
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