Candied, crushed sago't gulaman
Jobbar bin Dhuwan-an: Arabiaaaaaan Niiiiights! Like Arabiaaaaan Daaaaaays! Is Persia part of Arabia? Is there even still a Persia? I don’t want to Google anything because as a grade school teacher, I am naturally averse to self-correction. Good morning, street rats. This Sundate, we’ll be talking about Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. THE Sands of Time? Oh my god, I don’t actually care. These are irrelevant details.
A revival or reimagining or remix of the first, unsettlingly realistic Prince of Persia game on the DOS and its contemporaries, Sands of Time revolutionized the spectacle of gaming by seamlessly grafting character movement with player input. And also, bloom. There was so much bloom in the game. It’s like I was giving myself a vaseline facial.
[In Sundate, two writers kick back in their rocking chairs and wax reminiscent.]
Luqas Imman Veluntalala: You have no idea how excited I was when this game was announced. I grew up with the original Prince of Persia , but could never actually get to the end. It was just too damn difficult for my young self.
But the things I was hearing about this game made me chomp at the bit. WALLRUNNING and TIME REWINDING seemed to address all of the difficulties I had with the original game.
Come to think about it, this may have been the first 3D platformer I ever seriously played. The mechanics (apart from the combat) were pitch-perfect, and I felt that I was in complete control of the Prince at all times. And the bloom? GORGEOUS.
Jobbar bin Dhuwan-an: The soft glow around the edges made him extra handsome. If he were alive in modern times, he would’ve been deported. Wasn’t he the dreamiest? I dug the playful banter between him and the Maharajah’s daughter. It was like watching brown Logan Echolls and brown Veronica Mars get cute and catty.
Heart flutters notwithstanding, the game was such a tight and focused gameplay and narrative experience. Until PoPSoT, I got my videogames DEEPNESS satisfaction from lengthy, protracted PSX RPGs. It wasn’t until I met the Prince that I learned that shorter, more on-point games can be fulfilling, too.
Of course, the smoothly-executed ARABIAN PARKOUR HALAHALAHALA helped in snagging my attention. The time rewind was such a novel idea, too. “Whoops, I missed a jump–time to burn up an hourglass of time sand.” It was a limited resource though! Unlike the Prince’s effortless charm, hubba hubba.
Luqas Imman Veluntalala: This rewinding was perfectly reflected in the game’s narrative structure as well– the Prince was telling a story to… someone, and whenever you died, he would say something to the effect of, “No, no, no, that’s not how it went.”, and when you pressed Start to pause, he would go, “Shall I go on?”. This storytelling mechanic was a stroke of genius, taking into account the time manipulation aspect and recalling 1001 Nights.
Much of the Prince’s charm was brought to us by the exceptional voice work of Yuri Lowenthal, but like the original Prince of Persia, the rest of it was brought by the fantastic animations. Every action of the Prince was shockingly realistic, from his leaps, to his ledge-balancing, and to his swordfighting dance. It lay the groundwork for incredible motion capture in games like Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed. The latter of which, is, unfortunately, PoP’s effective spiritual successor, but UBISOFT RECENTLY TEASED PRINCE OF PERSIA NEWS SO THAT IS EXCITING.
Jobbar bin Dhuwan-an: Oh man, but what if the player was really bad? It would be the worst story! “And so I didn’t clear the ledge and I fell to my death. Wait, no that didn’t happen. Let me try that again. And so I missed the ledge again and I got killed by falling on the ground. Hmm, no. I’m didn’t die! I’m still here. I’m positive I made the jump. I did! Because after that, I stepped into a spike trap and impaled my butts. Wait–”
Confession. I didn’t play the other two games in the trilogy. The first game was all I needed. It was such a closed narrative with an unimpeachable ending. It was such a perfect little tale. But have you? Played the other Prince of Persia games? Add the 2008 game to the mix if you’ve played that, too.
Luqas Imman Veluntalala: I did, I did play the two subsequent games in the trilogy– enhanced ports came out on the PSP. People absolutely hated the gritty, “badass” prince in the second game (who was not voiced by Yuri Lowenthal), but I managed to ignore that crippling detail and see the improvements to the gameplay:
Vastly improved combat, even more refined platforming, an Ocarina of Time-esque period mechanic, and an expansion of the lore. The third game brought Yuri Lowenthal and the charming Prince back, and was a fitting end to the series in ways that expounding upon it would be spoiling.
I have yet to play the 2008 game, although that is in an entirely separate continuity. I did play the 2010 Forgotten Sands game, though only for the Wii and PSP, which are two entirely different games both mechanically and story-wise. It had yet another version for the HD consoles and PC, which I have yet to play! Prince of Persia, man.
Jobbar bin Dhuwan-an: Well if you’re recommending them, I guess I’ll give them a spin! Good thing they’re all available on the Microsoft Windows Entertainment System Personal Computer Console! That makes my life easier. I wish I had more TIME though.
That’s it. That was my joke. My only joke and it’s that my responsibilities have stolen all of my mirth from me. There’s no escaping the horrifying trill of children’s laughter. No escaping the slipshod hill of papers on my desk. There is only tedium that cannot be sped up. And brilliant moments of joy that cannot be slowed down.
Luqas Imman Veluntalala: Conveniently enough, Ubisoft recently teased some Prince of Persia news. This was supposed to be presented at E3, but they were too busy showing off the tininess of French men next to Aisha Tyler and Assassin’s Creed IV.
Is it the next game in the series? Or a shitty iOS app?
Only time will tell.