Expert Game Recommendations From the GamePros

December 3, 2008 at 1:22 am (PoP)

Prince of Persia CoverI was never a huge fan of the original Prince of Persia games, but when the series was reborn in 2003’s The Sands of Time, I quickly became a fanboy. The ensuing trilogy on the PS2 and Xbox took the Prince’s plaforming roots and turned them into full-scale displays of acrobatics and dazzling swordplay. But the Prince’s ability to reverse time became the core of the three aforementioned games-and it’s mysteriously absent in the franchise’s debut on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

But it’s not the end of the world because the new Prince of Persia represents a fresh start for the series. Not only is the time control mechanic gone but the visual style has been completely overhauled, placing the Prince in a colorful yet gritty cel-shaded world. Fans of the series will be relieved to hear, though, that stunning leaps and wall-runs still form the basis of the gameplay. There’s also a new sword-based combat system and abundant environmental puzzles to solve. The new foundation proves to be a boon for the Prince because the old formula was starting to smell stale. In my opinion, the new storyline, visual update and improved gameplay mechanics are just what the doctor ordered-it culminates in a game that is much more fun than its close cousin, Assassin’s Creed.

THE BOTTOM LINE: A much-needed and welcome reboot for the series, Prince of Persia integrates wonderfully fun acrobatics with often-tricky swordplay, presented in a beautiful new, cel-shaded art style; it’s an excellent debut for the franchise on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

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Tomb Raider: Underworld Revealed!

December 1, 2008 at 8:09 pm (Lara)

Tomb Raider is well known for larger than life environments and intricate puzzles that usually relate to this environment. Most of the time in Tomb Raider: Underworld, solving a puzzle results in the environment being transformed, usually in order to open up a path for the player to move forward.

These sequences are usually presented in the form of short in-game cinematics we like to call “reveals”. These “reveals” serve one of two purposes, sometimes both, which are to convey new information to the player (what he needs to do next, where he needs to go, etc…) or to plain and simply provide a bit of “wow” by showing an interesting event from a dramatic perspective.

One of my main tasks (and greatest pleasures) on the project was to create these “reveals”. They went from really basic single-shot sequences showing simple actions like a door opening up, to rather complex multi-shots scenes with massive statues sticking out of the ground and giant stone dragon heads rising up and spitting flames. Needless to say, some were more fun to create than others.

If you’ve checked any of the screenshots, videos and demos for the game yet, you’re already aware that all the levels in the game offer fantastic looking sceneries and beautiful lush landscapes. But some of the most impressive environments, at least to me, are featured in the game’s arctic level. From a towering spiral path leading down to a deep pit to a room with giant swinging hammers…, you get an eyeful of some of the best game environments seen in recent years.

Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy playing and watching it as much as I did working on it. And brace yourselves because Tomb Raider: Underworld is going hit, HARD!

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