Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Prince May Cry

Yikes, almost the end of September! It's going to be one of those years. I've still been pootling along on PS3 games in the background, but I feel very little incentive to write about them. I've finished off another three Prince of Persia games. The Two Thrones was ... to be honest, I can't really remember much at all about it already, so that'll tell you how much of an impression it left on me. I don't think either of the sequels managed to capture what made the first game so great. Next up was just Prince of Persia. A reboot that was going to be the beginning of a new trilogy. It was graphically very different, much more painterly, and still looks pretty good. I thought the gameplay let it down a bit, though, especially the combat sections. Combat was extremely boring and limited. No fluidity to it, and I never felt like I was in control. Luckily, there isn't much combat and most of the game is spent running around the world exploring new areas. I should step back a bit, as the structure of this game is very different to the others. In this game, there is one hub world, and from that you can reach four other linked worlds, that are each made up of their own set of linked levels. Certain parts of each level are locked until you break one of the four seals back in the main hub, which is achieved through finding glowing stuff (I can't remember the name the game gives to it!). Each of the four mini-hubs is ruled by a boss, and you have to fight that boss four times. Each time you defeat them, you lift the darkness from that area of the level and reveal a bunch of the glowing stuff, which you then need to re-explore the level to locate. You don't need to grab every single piece to unlock the seals, which is good because it became mighty boring after a while. Other than the boss fights, there's only really one or two other fights per level in the game with identical shadow monsters that are pretty easy to dispatch. That's it. I told you there weren't many fights. In the game, you only really fight 5 different enemies, the shadow things, the four bosses (you fight each of them four times and they incrementally gain more moves, but you won't really notice them), and the final boss, who's really just a roll up of the other four bosses. It's really dull. The exploration is better, but the environments are all very samey and you're doing the same thing to navigate them, which is reinforced by the fact you have to run through each of them multiple times to find all of the glowy bits. Oh, and you also have a partner with you at all times. She acts as your time-rewind power, and automatically saves you any time you would die. She does this infinite times, so there's no way of actually ever dying. It's great in a way, but it does take away a bit of the challenge. There's just an inevitability that you're going to brute force your way through the game in the end. And the ending was rubbish. They were obviously expecting to make a sequel so the whole thing is left on a cliff-hanger, but it didn't sell well enough and that was the end of that. The final game was Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. They obviously decided that nobody liked the new prince, so this was a return to the original template of the first trilogy. Same old prince (though his character model is really terrible...what were they trying to do there?) and same old castles, traps and dungeons. The problem with returning to the same old template is all a little boring. The environments and enemies are exactly the same as we're already used to. They did introduce a couple of new powers here, one to freeze water, allowing the prince to run across waterfalls or swing on jets, and a rewind function where parts of the level that used to exist when the castle was in its prime can be temporarily brought back so you can cross them. As the game goes on, these level features become more difficult and more intertwined, needing a lot of triggering on and off of different powers in order to navigate the levels. Some of those were quite fun to get across, but the forgettable scenery meant that I've pretty much forgotten most of that game already, too. Ah well.

I then started Devil May Cry, as I have the HD remake on the PS3, but I just discovered that it wasn't a Plus game - it was one I've paid for - so I might skip it for now and move back to a Plus game, next on the list of which is Costume Quest 2, which might be a fun little diversion. I quite enjoyed the first one, though it lost its way a bit toward the end.

I just remembered, I also finished Epic Battle Fantasy 3! This is a game I've had on the back burner for years, dipping in and out of every now and then to do the odd level, and I finally sat down and finished it. It's a turn-based JRPG-style game where you manoeuvre your party around the cartoon environment, picking up treasures, fighting monsters and leveling up. It's a very simple game, but pretty good fun for the odd 5 minutes here and there. I also own the next game, so I might give that a go as a background game one day.

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