The Five: Prince of Persia
The 10-Cent Tour: The iconic Prince gets yet another reboot. Is he a worthy heir to the Sands of Time throne? Uncle Crispy finds out?
1. You cannot die in this game. I repeat, you cannot die in this game. A beautiful woman with very attractive abs (she must do her Richard Simmons tape every day) follows you, wherever you go, and will save you whenever you mis-time a jump or, in the words of the developer doing the demo "do anything stupid." "It's OK to suck," said David Wilkinson, one of the developers who's working on the game. "That's the message we're trying to send to people." Also: There are no hourglasses in the game, so you can forget all about time manipulation -- in other words, there's no more pesky rewinding.
2. This woman's name is Elika. The developer, during the demo, also said that Elika "will never get in your way." There's a long, rich history of sidekicks being more cumbersome than useful, but this iteration of the Prince games promises to right that wrong. (Sheva in Resident Evil 5 also seems to be trying really, really hard not to be a burden.)
3. The game looks quite unlike anything seen on the E3 show floor. It combines cel-shading with what looks to be hand-drawn animation, creating a unique aesthetic that's very easy on the eyes.
4. The game has an eco-friendly theme. Yes, you're jumping around, solving spatial puzzles, and fighting bosses, as you would in any traditional videogame. But in this particular Prince, you're banishing corruption and quite literally leaving trails of flowers in your wake.
5. The game's levels are massive, imaginative places, rivaling anything seen in the older iterations of the Prince of P. games. Whatever you see, no matter how far off it is in the distance, you somehow will be able to get there.
The Crispy Forecast: Surprisingly sunny with a chance of a late-afternoon shower. The devs have certainly created a world we want to inhabit -- no small feat there -- but the LEGO Star Wars-esque "nobody dies" mechanic might make the game feel dangerously casual. "Do you like dying in videogames?" Wilkinson asked when I pointed this out to him. You do have a point there, damn you, Wilkinson.
This preview is based on a publisher-driven demo of the game. The game is scheduled to be released on Nov. 7, 2008.