Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I Put This Down, Then Picked It Up Again

I put this down, then picked it up again
because it's good enough for one more round.
I put this down, then picked it up again
thought it would be better this time around.
I put this down!

Nothing like a Tubthumping reference to start a new line of posts.

Anyway, I Put This Down will be yet another short archetype of posts. Each IPTD post will be a brief discussion of my thoughts of a game that I played for a bit, but didn't finish immediately. The pattern for these games will be the following: I bought it, played it, put it down, forgot about it, picked it up again. The discussion will take place after I pick it up and start playing it again. Who knows what will happen the second time around?

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

The Prince of Persia titles have exhibited a new form of platforming/adventure games ever since their original
conceptualization. In these games, you play as the Prince of Persia himself who has decided that the best way to save Persia from the rule of an evil king is to run around a bit, jump off a few walls, and kill some bad guys. Fair enough. These games are praised for their ability to combine parkour-like skillsets with puzzle-solving, and dungeon-crawling mechanics. In addition to all of the moves that I wish I could do in real-life, the prince also uncovers a dagger whose hilt stores the sands of time. Releasing the sands of time from the dagger reverses the flow of time. This ability can be used during gameplay in a way that is exactly like re-winding an old VHS tape (speaking of old reality...). Pressing R will not only employ the power of the most ridiculous but still awesome backwards WOOSHing sound effects, but will bring the prince back in time for up to about 5 seconds real-time. So that's what we have for us today - a parkour prince and a dagger that can reverse the flow of time.

Of course, I am writing as if I intend to belittle the game - I don't. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time really is a fun game. The controls, outdated as they are, are solid, and although the camera makes me want to die, the ability to reverse the flow of time in order to undo your mistakes is compensation enough. So the 3 big questions are the following:
Why did I put this game down?
Why did I pick it up again?
What do I think of it the second time around?

I did just admit that I thought this game was fun, because I do - I wouldn't lie to you guys. But I put this game down a long, long time ago because I thought it fell into a trap that Mirror's Edge introduced me to, but wound up existing for a long time before that. You see, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is really 3 different styles of gameplay arranged separately on 1 disc. This game is exactly 33% parkour, 33% puzzle-solving, 33% hack-and-slash combat, and 1% synergy (this proto-discovery was realized by my friend Dylan = credit where credit is due). What is unique to the P.O.P. series is the parkour-extreme-platforming so I bought this game (my first Prince of Persia game) thinking that it was going to be about 90% parkour and 10% wishing I was still doing parkour. The trap that this game falls into most likely stems from the developers thinking that the parkour parts were awesome, but the princes' skillset weren't large enough to create a game of 100% parkour without it starting to feel repetitive after about 2 hours. So what they did was create additional gameplay styles that included combat, by throwing in some beat 'em up sections which consisted of the slaying of multiple waves of enemies until everyone except you is dead. Fine. But what happens with these "solutions" sometimes is that the very remedy used to cure repetitive gameplay becomes repetitive. So let me be more specific to this title:
Problem: The game would be boring and repetitive as shit if ALL you did was parkour.
Solution: Add more game mechanics, like fighting and puzzle-solving, in order to prevent the parkour from getting stale.
New Problem: Fighting and Puzzle-Solving get stale and supersaturate the game to the point where I miss the parkour. #ijustlearnedhowtobold

So I really really loved the parkour parts of the game, but the combat sections were sloppy, and the puzzle-solving sections were challenging, but not fun, and were really more annoying than anything, as they hindered my ability to throw myself off of buildings and stuff. I put Prince of Persia: Sands of Time down because I couldn't handle how not fun the puzzle-sections were. All I wanted to do was some wall-runs and some jumping off of stuff, but apparently Sonic The Hedgehog is still my best bet for that desire.

Probably 18 months passed and I decided to see what would happen if I popped that disc back into the cube again. Perhaps, I thought, my new found video-game wisdom would aid in my future appreciation of what is usually considered to be, like, the 5th best Gamecube game ever. Resuming my old file, I immediately became stuck in a parkour portion that only a youtube video walk-through could help me out of, and then was INSTANTLY thrown into the most annoying puzzle-section I had yet to behold. I cleared it after about a half hour of fucking falling like an idiot, and pretty much just said "fuck it" after that. Prince of Persia has yet to see the world outside of its since then. Being several hours into it, I feel like I have played it enough in order to decide that I have seen what I needed to see.

On a side note, I understand that the game took a different approach to the video game soundtrack by...well...not having one, but it didn't work. If I am going to literally be watching myself fuck up, and be forced to watch myself fuck up in reverse slow-mo, then imma need some tunes to keep me going. And that's all I have to say about that.

I put this down, then picked it up again, and threw it back to the ground
where it stayed down.

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