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September 6 2008
Prince of Persia - PS3 Preview
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Taking on one of the boss characters.
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Elika shows you the path...

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Texturing in Prince of Persia is impressive.
When it comes to game franchises being resurrected of late there is no better example of how to do it right then Ubisoft's Prince of Persia series. With millions of sales for the three games on the PS2 (and other systems) there was little doubt that we would see a fourth game in the series.

It has now been three years since the last game in the series, The Two Thrones, was released. Still without a subtitle (and who knows, there may not be one) this latest Prince of Persia is the first time the series will be hitting next-gen systems, and with the game in development for around three years already it not only looks polished, but also quite exceptional.

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Simply the best cel-shading ever.
Set in a land rooted in ancient Persian mythology, the Prince finds himself caught in an epic battle between the primal forces of light and darkness: the God of Light, Ormazd versus his brother Ahriman, the destructive God of Darkness. The Prince arrives just in time to witness the destruction of the legendary Tree of Life an act which threatens to plunge the entire world into eternal darkness. Manifested in the form of the Corruption, a dark substance that physically contaminates the land and the skies, the Prince must partner with Elika, a deadly companion, to heal the world from the evil Corruption.

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Prince of Persia's artwork is impressive.
One thing that must be made clear is that this next-gen game doesn't follow the Sands of Time trilogy. This is a new Prince, with new missions, new locations, and an entirely new storyline. Indeed the entire feel of the game will be different as Ubisoft are making Prince of Persia a much more open-ended and free roaming game then previous games in the series.

In terms of gameplay the mechanics look largely similar. The Prince is very acrobatic, and can jump across large gaps, hang off ledges, and attack enemies. The combat remains a key component of the series, but the developers have confirmed they are aiming for more realistic duel styled battles in a similar vein to the original game from 1989 (can you believe that it has been 19 years since that game!). The combat though will remain as intense as ever.

Another very big change to this game is the inclusion of an ally during the Prince's travels in the form of Elika, a dynamic AI companion who joins the Prince in his fight to save the world. Gifted with magical powers, she interacts with the player in combat, acrobatics and puzzle-solving enabling the Prince to reach new heights of deadly high-flying artistry through special duo acrobatic moves or devastating fighting combo attacks.

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The Prince uses a wall launch point.
Graphically this game looks quite stunning. The visuals have shifted to cel-shaded characters, although with much more detail then we associate with the art style, and while it may be a bit of a change from past games in the series, it certainly does look wonderful. The range of moves, and the way that the Prince and Elika work together is superb. Indeed the game is powered by Ubisoft's proprietary Anvil engine which was used in the companies stunning Assassin's Creed - we can only hope that this game reduces the amount of screen tearing though.

A release for Prince of Persia is currently targeted for December 4th 2008, although Ubisoft have said if the game is not ready they will push it into 2009, we don't have long to go until we can check this game out. Prince of Persia looks like another brilliant game in the series and Ubisoft must be applauded for keeping the series fresh. Here's hoping the result matches the potential.