Reviewed: December 31, 2008
Released: December 2, 2008
Ubisoft has yet again decided to invest their time in the Prince of Persia franchise and sadly I would have to admit that they wasted their time, at least when it comes to their latest installment on the Nintendo DS. Prince of Persia: The Fallen King just doesnít live up to it name. Now I have only played one Prince of Persia game (Sands of Time) but I think that most would agree, that is a hard act to follow.
This time around the prince is trying to survive a world that has fallen into darkness. The god of chaos, Ahriman has unleashed a cloud of corruption that has begun to plague the kingdom. The Prince, following a tip, decides to head to a reputed safe haven, but instead finds the town to be rife with corrupted creatures and a trio of floating magic users. It is up to the Prince to find the god of light and obtain his help to rid the kingdom of the corruption. However the Prince does not have to do it alone. Along his journey the Prince encounters a Magus by the name of Zal whose magic draws the corruption to him and has corrupted the lower part of his body. With Zalís magic to aid him in his mission the Prince must stop Ahriman and his forces before all hope is lost.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King plays much like your typical side scrolling action adventure, but with a very unique twist. The entire game is controlled using the stylus. When I first turned on the game and realized this I was very apprehensive. I had never played a DS game where everything was controlled with the stylus and nothing else. The D pad and the A,B,Y,X button are completely and utterly useless.
However The Fallen King does stay true to the Prince of Persia style of acrobatics. The Prince is still able to perform a multitude of wall climb, wall jumping, and wall sliding moves. Movement in the game is quite simple, by either sliding the stylus along the bottom of the screen or holding it still at the other end, enables the Prince to navigate the level. The combat system is just as simple as the movement controls - see an enemy then tap on it repeatedly to defeat it.
The learning curve of this game is pretty much non existent. What you canít figure out is explained with the in-game tutorials. The different stages of the game are full of jumping and wall climbing, but with using the stylus this can become quite frustrating. Many a time I found myself wanting to make the Prince jump but he would walk off the cliff instead. Iím sure there is probably a trick for this but I have yet to find it and let's face fact; it should not have been made that tough to figure out.
The graphics for Fallen King are some of the best that I have seen for Nintendo DS in a long time. The backgrounds are rich and most of the object lying around become interactive at some point or another in the game. The character designs have a very manga chibi style feel which makes the gameplay experience feel much like a living comic book. Even the stylus has itís own effect when touched to the screen. Dragging the pointer across the field leaves a trail of glittering blue-white light that greatly improve the overall look and feel of the game. All in all the game is very clean and appealing to the eye. The magic that Zal wields catches the eye and the rich colors and detailed action sequences immerse onto the Princeís world.
The sound could have been better. Of all the DS games that I have played it seems that they skimped on the budget when it comes to the music. Whether this is to save money or put the money into something else in game, The Fallen King just doesn't impress when it comes to the soundtrack. When on the level select screen navigating the stages, the same track plays for the entire time. You then get to hear that same music until you finish the stage. When you pick a new stage you do get some new music but then you must listen to that same track until you finish that stage. If you decided to turn the volume all the way down on your DS you wonít be missing anything. Also, there is absolutely no voice acting so every conversation that takes place must be read. If you are not a fan of reading then do not pick up this game.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King had its moments of fun. The game being completely controlled with the stylus is a very fun and inventive way to play the game. However, this stylus-only control scheme can also make the game more difficult and even a little frustrating. You constantly have to pay attention to where the stylus is and how you are moving it. Moving too far or having it too high can spell doom. Have no fear though; Ubisoft did help us out this time with checkpoints. If you fall off the edge of a cliff or are defeated by an enemy you simply go to the last checkpoint that you passed. If you are not easily frustrated and like playing a DS game with just the stylus then Prince of Persia: The Fallen King is right up your alley.