“Prince of Persia” and the undeniable triumph of returning to the essence | Babelia

New Prince of Persia, which comes 13 years after the last canonical part of the saga, puts us in the shoes of someone who is not the Prince of Persia. It’s quite an iconoclastic approach at first, but the interruptions in the game don’t end there. Ubisoft’s latest game is a fantastic installment in the saga that, although there’s still a long year ahead, is a strong and surprising contender for being one of the best of 2024.

And the point is that no matter how much Prince of Persia: The Lost Crownlet’s put ourselves in our place Sargon – one of the Seven Persian Immortals tasked with finding Prince Hassan, who has been kidnapped under strange circumstances – what’s important is the game’s mechanical structure, which very smartly addresses the drift that the saga has taken to deliver an excellent work that has a return at its heart to the origins.

If we do a little archeology, we can see that the series follows a bit of the general path of the entire medium: Prince of Persia appeared in 1989; In 1999, he made the leap into 3D, and from 2003 to 2010, the Sands of Time saga was released, which added parkour to the 3D environment (the style of these games can be said to be a direct predecessor to the saga). . Assassin’s Creed) and the rewind mechanic, which added a time dimension to the platforms and made the game very interesting.

Now, when no one expected anything from a saga that did not take advantage of its leap into cinema, and when the mechanical drift of the game series seemed to be subordinated to Ubisoft in Assassin’s Creedthe saga returns to its origins with a story in scrolling a two-dimensional horizontal that deeply embraces the original hallmarks of the franchise and which, to everyone’s surprise, suddenly becomes one of the best representatives of the genre metroidvania.

Image from Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown.

This genre metroidvaniaso called because its foundations were laid by the sagas Metroid And Castlevania. These games produced good results in the late 90s, based on two fundamental principles: two dimensions and a wide and deep map that was explored in a non-linear way. That is, we did not move from phase to phase, but could enter the map from the beginning until we found some obstacle preventing us from moving forward; an obstacle that we could overcome with the help of some object found in some other part of the map itself.

From the year 2000 metroidvania They have experienced a resurgence for the simple reason that the game design is very efficient when it comes to setting up the game, and that it can be much cheaper than a 3D game if you do it yourself. In 2017, sublimation of games of this type appeared, Hollow Knightwhich became one of the best games in history thanks to the combination of two specific ingredients: characteristics metroidvania added those from the saga souls (extreme difficulty, double death concept that penalizes all player progress). It was also a great game in terms of setting, sound, and level design. It’s not this one Prince of Persia does not reach the level of perfection (a strange and dark perfection, but perfection nonetheless) Hollow Knightbut it’s not unreasonable to say that this is the best metroidvania since 2018 when this game came out.

This is interesting. Years and years of improving graphics and 3D environments, pouring money and talent into perfecting real-time combat, resulting in some of the best games in recent years(Blue skysaga of Ori, The Miracle of Super Mario Bros., cup, Inside), reproduced in two-dimensional format. And for some of the best combat systems(Persona 5, Baldur’s Gate III, Octopath Traveler) take turns.

That is, we are experiencing a fierce creative explosion forward, but, contrary to common sense, also backward: to patterns and structures that have already proven their effectiveness decades ago. The lesson is said and learned: sometimes it is better to improve an existing formula than to try to reinvent Coca-Cola.

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