Tag Archives: Prince of Persia

Death to death achievements!

In videogame terms, I die a lot. It’s one of the best ways to learn how to play, dying. Unsure if you can make that jump across the gap? Try. Think your rocket launcher will blast a hole beneath your feet to fall through? Try. Curious as to how long Banjo can hold his breath underwater? Try. What’s the worst that could happen? Oh…you died. Hmm. Let’s put quotes around it actually.

Oh…you “died.”

Well, try again.

Back in the day, you could die as many times as you had lives or hearts or hit points or whatever. You had something, and if you ran out of it, you ceased to exist. Also, falling off a cliff generally never worked out well.

Recently, dying in videogames is becoming a thing of the past. Suffer too much damage in Fable II, and you fall unconscious for a bit, only to wake with some scarring and experience drain. Charge head first and unprepared into a Big Daddy battle in BioShock and you’re revived in a nearby Vita-Chamber unscathed. Miss a Prince of Persia jump because you are too busy oogling all the pretty colors? Don’t worry. Elika will save you. And in the LEGO games I’ve been enjoying recently, you just explode into bits and reappear in a second or two, ready to punch, shoot, and collect all over again. No big deal.

Now, the debate currently is not towards dying in videogames/not dying in videogames. Instead, it’s about achievements linked to these. They are never fun, and they are rarely for those that die a lot (e.g., me). Instead, the challenge is always to not die…or die a small amount.

Sifting through my Xbox 360 collection, I found a couple death-themed achievements, and sadly, I’ll most likely never unlock them. First, they are full of The Stress. Second, they are a lot of work. Third, I’m really not a cheater, and so the whole save/restart a level if it doesn’t work out seems a bit silly to me. Doing it that way is not really achieving anything in the end. Anyways, here’s some I found:

Kung Fu Panda: Invincible (50 Gamerscore) – Make it through the entire game without dying.

BioShock: Brass Balls (100 Gamerscore) – Complete the game on Hard difficulty without using a Vita-Chamber.

Prince of Persia: Be Gentle With Her (100 Gamerscore) – Elika saves you fewer than 100 times in the whole game.

Yeah, right.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time movie trailer

Having just beaten the most latest iteration of Prince of Persia, I was surprised to see that there’s a film coming out for it in 2010. Here’s the trailer:

I don’t know. Might be good, might not. Certainly has the Persia look of the original games (something the reboot missed out on completely), but Jake Gyllenhaal and Jerry Bruckheimer have me worried. Time will tell (pun intended)…

JUST BEAT: Prince of Persia


Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre(s): Action Adventure
Mode(s): Singe player
Rating: Teen
Time clocked: Definitely less than 12 hours according to the Speed Demon achievement

To start, I had mixed feelings over 2003’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (for the Playstation 2). For one, I absolutely loved running around and bouncing off walls and performing some serious parkour. But the fighting/battle system was terribly unforgiving despite the time mechanic which allowed players to rewind scenarios if they didn’t play out like they wanted. When I’d enter a room full of baddies, I’d groan, and the only way to hear happy noises from me was to get out of said room so that I could run around. But these memories were enough for me to steer clear of the next iterations in the series, which I’m glad I did because I’ve only ever seen them described as gothy and emo. Hmm…

But then the series got a reboot. A colorful one, at that! Prince of Persia for the Xbox 360 tells a typical story: boy meets girl, girl needs saving from overpowering god of darkness, boy saves girl but not without sacrifice. More specifically, the Prince and Elika must travel to a bunch of lands within her kingdom and heal them to keep Ahriman trapped within a giant tree.

While the plot itself is fairly yawn-yawn, the dialogue is a treat, as is Prince of Persia‘s utter lack of interest in spoon-feeding the player. At any point during gameplay, a player can push a button to have the Prince speak with Elika. What spews from their mouths depends on where they are and/or what just happened, and it helps to make both characters fun and engaging. You’ll really feel like they have a tag-team relationship going on by the game’s end.

Graphically, the game is gorgeous. The corrupted lands are bleak and dirty, ragged with oozes and chipped stone, but once they have been healed a wash of color spreads and we’re treated to a lush, vibrant playground. Some might not like cel-shading in this day and age, but I think it has the potential to be even more amazing than photo-realistic games like, say, Final Fantasy XIII or Gears of War.

Unfortunately, not all is bells and whistles. If Prince of Persia is to have a fault, it is in its repetition. The balance of acrobatics, combat, and puzzle-solving is just that: a balance. You will run and climb your way to the corrupted land (acrobatics), possibly solve a riddle (puzzle-solving) to get you to the next level…where you will fight a mini boss (combat). Rinse and repeat. There is little variety, especially when the mini bosses all have a pattern to them. After the lands are healed you can spend time hunting down balls of light, but you really only need to find 600 or so to complete the game, and I don’t I’ll go back and find all 1,001 of them.

Achievement-wise, Prince of Persia seems fairly forgiving, especially since you can’t die (more on that in a second). I unlocked 35 out of 60 on my first playthrough, none of which required too much skill. A majority of story progression-based, some involved special tactics against the mini bossess, others were more about collecting. My favorites were Improvisor (10G: Congratulations, you used the environment to your advantage.) and Precious Time (10G: Congratulations, you know when to stop.).

That said, I will never achieve Be Gentle With Her (100G: Elika saves you fewer than 100 times in the whole game.). Technically, the Prince can’t die…but I died a lot in this game. Missed jumps, timing off, QTE jitters. I’m pretty sure Elika saved me at least 500 times or more. A moot point, but I’m a little put off by the fact that the achievements all use the same picture and word “Congratulations”…feels a bit robotic if you ask me.

In the end, the reboot works though. It’s a much more colorful and lively game thanks to the graphics and voice acting, even if it gets stale rather quickly. A little more variety would’ve been nice especially since it was billed as having “open-world gameplay,” but for $20.00, I had a good time. You might, too.

7 out 10