finished prince of persia: the sands of time a week or so ago. yet again i find myself disagreeing with the popular opinion. i enjoyed the game elements that others have praised the game for, including good graphics, fluid animation, well-designed controls, decent story, and good gameplay mechanics. and i didn’t mind one of the main complaints people seem to have, which is that the fight mechanics (which, with their “finishing move”, reminded me a lot of eternal darkness) are too repetitive.
what most people don’t seem to find fault with, however, is how utterly repetitive the game is in general, and how it’s not enough of either an adventure game or a platformer to maintain much interest. the game, with its fluid controls, feels like it could’ve been a great platformer, but it lacks most of the things that make platformers interesting. instead the game is set up to be a sort of hybrid “puzzle” platformer, in that you’re supposed to figure out how to progress from one place to another. however, because there’s only one way to progress and there’s such a tiny number of things to try, it’s pretty much always immediately clear what to do. so most of the gameplay actually boils down to typical “pick up key, put in lock” mechanics, but as a platformer, where it’s “run along this wall to that ledge” or “climb the ladder” or “swing from this pole to that one”. where’s the puzzle in that? the majority of the rest of the “puzzles” are of the mind-numbing “push block to fit in this slot” variety and are hardly worth mentioning. in true platformers like super mario bros. at least you get to collect coins and powerups along the way, interact w/ enemies, and, more importantly, actually have to have some skill and good timing to get to the goal. in this i rarely felt like there was such skill required, although there were moments scattered throughout where i felt there were glimmers of the brilliant game this could’ve been.
so all in all not really a keeper, despite the high scores i’d seen. apparently the second of the trilogy wasn’t as well received, but based on what i’ve read the third might be more worthwhile. i guess i’ll have to work my way through the second before starting the third, although it’s going to be a good long while before i’m willing to pick it up and have to suffer through pushing more blocks around. may give the original game a go some time though (included as an unlockable in this version). oh, and apparently there’s going to be a movie from disney??
links! times three!
– good walkthrough at ign
– cool fansite that has artwork, screenshots, and the screenplay of the entire game
– info on the original game at wikipedia.org
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So yeah this was posted over two years ago, but I just wanted to say I feel exactly the same about Sands of Time as you, although I thought the combat was more of a problem than you did. Never understood the amount of praise this game got/still gets
Why did I decide to comment on this 2 year old post? I was reading an article about Sands of Time at InsultSwordFighting (good piece by the way), remembered you wrote this piece and decided to re-read it to remind myself why I didn’t care much for SoT. Every time I read something in praise of SoT I want to play it again and then have to tell myself I didn’t like it. It always sounds good in theory but not in execution (for me at least).
I got the game when it first came out, thought the acrobatics were fun at first but then the game got to be the same thing over and over again just like you discussed. Actually when I think about I feel the Uncharted games do the exact same thing with the platforming (although the shooting is excellent), they give really fluid motions and good control over you’re leaping ability, but at no point are you challenged by the jumping sections and you always know exactly where to go. It feels so automated.
ANYWAY, keep up the posts, not sure how many other people read this blog, but, it’s well written and, whether I agree or disagree with you, you seem to make interesting points about every game you discuss. It’s also fun to get your takes on games that came out years ago as you’re removed from the hype and can look at them from a different perspective.
thanks for the comment. that you agree w/ me shows your superior intellect and good taste. 😉 after having played ico recently i’ve had some renewed appreciation for sands of time, although the fact that i’m not coming from the perspective of someone who played through the earliest 3D adventure/platformers like tomb raider (which i still haven’t played, incidentally) may be what influences my judgement the most. my long-term plan is to play through some of those earlier games and reassess sands of time, but somehow i can’t get past the orig. tomb raider‘s clunky controls. may put that off and try going back to the sands of time sequel which i’ve dipped into and which doesn’t seem to offer anything new except for a character with some epic cleavage. 😉 but i think it would be fun to revisit that gameplay anyway.