Prince of Persia

Film
3 out of 5 stars
THE (NOT SO) LITTLE PRINCE He's more like a royal pain.
Photograph: Scott Garfield THE (NOT SO) LITTLE PRINCE He’s more like a royal pain.

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The Prince is dead; long live the Prince. This franchise reboot leaves the last Prince of Persia trilogy behind for an all-new story. When the battle between warring gods of light and darkness destroys the mythical Tree of Life, the world falls prey to the Corruption: polluting shadows that threaten to swallow mankind whole. The new Prince, a mysterious wandering swordsman, agrees to help Elika, a mystic trying to set things right. Elika’s actually a sophisticated AI helpmate who’ll aid in solving puzzles, fighting bad guys and traversing the game’s vast landscapes. But Elika is too perfect: Her protectiveness shields players from fatal missteps in combat and flies them back to safety if they miscalculate jumps. The resulting lack of challenge effectively drains any fun from the game.The only thing left that inspires you to trudge through is the high production quality. The game makes several advances that crystallize the best aspects of the series: gorgeous, painterly art direction, silkily animated acrobatics and a vibe straight out of the Arabian Nights folktales. The admittedly sharp dialogue and luscious visuals evoke a nice blend of Middle Eastern mythos and Miyazaki-style whimsy, supported by a winsome orchestral soundtrack. But as superlative as those pieces are, they’re not enough to carry the game on their own. The story might show the new Prince finding his heroic nature, but the game’s constrictive hand-holding makes the player feel like a bit of a wuss.

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