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January 12, 2006
Prince of Persia Revelations - PSP Review
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He's not going to be in a sequel!
The Prince is back, well, actually he's on the PSP for the first time, but in a guise that may be very familiar to PS2 Prince of Persia owners. You see Prince of Persia Revelations on the PSP is actually a port of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within with a few extra frills. Why port the second game and not the original, or the latest third title in the series? Who knows. One thing is certain this game is one which was highly anticipated by gamers, and Ubisoft were obviously pressed for time with the game making it onto the shelves only days before Christmas. Does this rushed development mean a inferior game? Sadly it seems so.

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Sliding down the curtain.
The story for this game pretty much follows that in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. The Old Man said to the Prince, “Your fate has been written. You will die.” Hunted by the Dahaka, an immortal incarnation of Fate seeking divine retribution, the Prince embarks upon a path of carnage and mystery to defy his preordained death. His journey leads to the infernal core of a cursed island stronghold harboring mankind’s greatest fears. Only through grim resolve, bitter defiance and the mastery of deadly new combat arts can the Prince rise to a new level of warriorship – and emerge from this trial with his life.

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Three on one, I like those odds!
In terms of gameplay this is pretty much a direct port of the PS2 game with a few extra levels and bits thrown in for good measure (and probably to justify the name change in Ubisoft's eyes). The Prince looks wonderful moving and the game has transferred pretty well to the PSP's controls with the analogue sliding stick doing a solid job of handling the Prince's movements around the levels. Ultimately this game fails for exactly the same reasons that the PS2 game failed, and then some more. Firstly it's quite a dark game both in terms of tone and visuals. With such a dark game visually it actually makes it awkward at times to see upcoming traps and smaller details, especially when playing in a light area making the screen less visible. The developers have included some new areas to explore however they are both small and rather unexciting and add little to the overall experience. But that's not the worst of it...

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The graphics are quite gorgeous.
What really hurts, no, destroys this game is the constant loading. We're not talking about loads between levels (although they are there), nor between sections of levels (loads are there as well) but right in the middle of the damn action. Perfect example. The Prince will come across two rotating columns with blades spinning around requiring precise precision to roll between them. As you push forward to roll the game pauses. Granted it's only for a fraction of a second but by god it's one of the most disruptive and downright incompetent things we've seen in a video game in a long, long time. These pauses occur when running down corridors, battling enemies or pretty much at any other point during gameplay. Also annoying is the save structure. The game will only allow you to save after you reach certain points in the game. This was fine on the PS2 however with the PSP's portability it's a little annoying.

Prince of Persia: Revelations isn't a revolutionary game on PSP in terms of graphics. It has some wonderful texturing and the developers have certainly captured the look of the PS2 game, but on closer inspection you realise that it's not a perfect port with a lower polygon count on the main character and enemies which look quite angular at times. Fortunately this lower polygon count means the game's animations still look pretty smooth which is a bonus. The pre-rendered CG movie was another disappointment with some obvious compression artifacting.

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Kill him!
When it was revealed that Ubisoft were actually porting Prince of Persia: Warrior Within to the PSP the first thought I had was that they would thankfully replace the rock based music with something more appropriate - they didn't. Why, for the love of god, would you not fix the most despised aspect of the original, especially when you're apparently altering the game for PSP. Fortunately the games effects are all very solid. Another MAJOR annoyance is the sound effects. While some are fine the majority are so out of sync with the action on the screen you'll wonder what is happening. People talk, their lips stopped moving seconds before, there's an explosion, the sound occurs 2 seconds later and so on. It's terrible and should never have been released like this.

All these issues are ones which should have been fixed prior to release, especially as the game is almost a direct port of a year old PS2 title. It's quite clear the Ubisoft rushed this product to get it onto shelves in time for Christmas but they were so late arriving they should have held the product back to finish it properly. For the love of god, why Ubisoft didn't you port the brilliant original game, or the latest title? Why choose the worst of three games to bring to PSP owners? Prince of Persia: Revelations is utter disappointment.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSLevels look great, characters quite angular. Videos too compressed.
SOUNDThey kept the rock music. WHY?? Delayed effects are so annoying.
GAMEPLAYThe PS2 game was passable, but loading destroys the PSP version!
VALUEThis game is too similar to Warrior Within and too buggy to get value.
OVERALLSometimes I look at decisions made by companies and individuals and just shake my head. Why port the worst of three Prince of Persia games? Why are there so many loading pauses? Why is that bloody rock music still there? Why are the sound effects so far off? What should have been one of the PSP's highlights of 2005 ends up as one of its biggest disappointments.

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