By now, many of you should have heard the announcement that's been simmering beneath the surface for quite a while now. Formerly rumored as "Prince of Persia: Next Gen", the official title is now just Prince of Persia. It's a new project out of Ubisoft, working on an upgraded Assassin's Creed engine with changes to everything imaginable.
First, let's talk about the art style.
That screenshot right there is completely-in-game. The new digs are definitely appreciated. The lines make it look like some sort of living drawing, a mixture of influences seem to remind me of Okami and Crackdown. GameInformer stated that the new prince alone uses 13 times as many polygons as the old, and that his hair uses as much processing power as the old prince in his entirety. Basically, expect a whole lot of detail, but not so much photorealism. I love this look, and think the unique approach will only help the game.
Those of you looking closely may notice the new weapons. This time around, the Prince (who starts off as a mere traveler in this new universe) doesn't have his trusty time dagger. Instead, check out a sexy one-handed scimitar, and that claw-gauntlet on his left hand.
That gauntlet, and the sword, were supposedly picked up on previous adventures. Whether or not this has story significance, I don't know. What I do know is, the gauntlet is the most important piece of equipment in the game. It not only helps you in combat, it's your key to the new platforming elements.
Prince of Persia is taking on a much less linear approach to level design this time around. You hang out in a hub world, a part of the Garden of Eden where you take refuge after a sandstorm. From this hub world, you travel out to different areas, cleaning out the corruption that has leaked from the Tree of Life. The tree used to house the soul of an evil god, one of two brothers who represented yin and yang, essentially. Somehow, the terrible power has been released, and this corruptive ooze-like substance is taking over flora, fauna, and the landscape itself. Each location is an open level, which you have to run around and solve puzzles on while defeating monsters and performing incredible acrobatics.
The gauntlet comes into play here. Sliding, climing, wall running, gripping and anything else you can do involves using the gauntlet to aid you in some way. Slow your descent, keep your cool running on a wall 500 feet above the ground, and stab things gloriously. I can't wait.
Combat has been revamped too. Instead of fighting multiple enemies, you'll usually be only facing one or two. Don't think you'll have an easy time though. These enemies will be ferocious, extremely powerful, and out to get you by any means possible. You'll have to use your environment to your advantage when defeating these beasts, but be careful to avoid corrupted areas. These locations covered in the dark substance are places you should never go if you can help it. Bad things happen if you do.
Hit the link in the title for more information (IGN has a 3 page preview) if you'd like. I can't wait for this game, although its apparent release date is a bit irksome. I'm already going to be juggling Too Human, Fable 2, and Fallout 3 at minimum that time of year, and having this must-play addition to the PoP stable is going to make me very, very aggravated.
Thank you very much to IGN for the beautiful screenshots.
Comments/Feedback appreciated. What's your opinion on the new direction, and will you play the game?