x360a Review: Prince of Persia's Epilogue

Dan Webb

Prince of Persia was the last must own title of 2008. It’s impressive presentation and engaging story was a huge factor in the title’s critical success but its general ease and lack of challenge was the title’s Achilles heel. The open ended finish from the original retail title was (for most) an epic finish that perfectly setup the game’s Epilogue which is now available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 points.

If you’ve not played the retail version yet, stop reading now because we’re getting to the nitty gritty of the Epilogue which does discuss aspects of the main game’s pinnacle. The ending of the Prince of Persia for me personally capped the story off perfectly and the Epilogue picks up minutes after Ahriman is unleashed once again. Rather than attempting to put Ahriman back in his place, the Prince, and a now pissed off Elika, will spend the next few hours scaling the depths of the all new Underground Palace trying to escape his wrath as he slowly gets stronger and stronger.

The Epilogue says goodbye to those pesky light seeds and it even says goodbye to the wide open and picturesque vistas. Instead, you’ll spend time in the dark and dreary Underground Palace with its fairly limited colour and life. Whilst Ubisoft said they were going to respond to fan feedback and make the Epilogue harder than the main game, in all honesty, that failed to materialise. The game just seems to be more frustrating now as they overuse the moving corruption blobs which tainted the main game. The controls are still as easy as ever and the only aspect I can see that is actually a little harder is the fact that reaction times on QTEs (quick time events) have been cut ever so slightly ... but you’re still invincible so does that really matter?

The Underground Pavern is a brand new level, not to the same extent that Tomb Raider Underworld recently achieved, but a worthy effort nevertheless. You’ll find yourself embroiled in longer acrobatic combo sequences throughout the Epilogue than found in the main game, and find yourself fighting a “new” enemy ... the Shapeshifter. I say “new”, but what I really mean is the King’s old corruption form that can change in to the Warrior and the Hunter. A bit cheap you say? Just a little.

The Epilogue also introduces a few new game mechanics in the form of a new power and a new combat move. The new power, “reenergize”, works a lot like the other pads in the title but instead of flinging you across a cavern or up a wall, this one creates temporary, translucent walls the Prince must use to get from A to B. The new combat mechanic isn’t much to write home about as it merely triggers a mini QTE scene where you and your foe charge one another. Despite the new mechanics being nothing majorly new, when coupled with the slightly more interesting puzzle sequences, they do however keep the Epilogue feeling fresh and unique from the main game which is credit to Ubisoft Montreal’s new content.

You’ll be glad to hear that the achievements are now fixed after the release day balls up and they are a great aspect of the Epilogue for one simple reason ... there is a little bit of a challenge in some of them. They also nudge you towards playing through it twice as activating all the Fresco pads and completing it under 2 hours are two contradictory achievements. If there is a reason you’d sit through the short prologue numerous times, chances are the achievements will be the main reason.

Unless you absolutely thought Prince of Persia was one of the great games of last year, it’s truly hard to recommend the Epilogue to you. Sure the new level is great and the story is as we’ve come to expect from the series, but after the short 2 hour burst, there is nothing left to do. Had the DLC cost 400, even 600 points, we’d recommend it to everyone, but again, the DLC fails to deliver a lasting experience like so many have before it. If you’ve got money to burn, carry on, it’s a great chapter of the Prince of Persia series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I expect more than 2 hours for my £7/$10 ... it would almost be cheaper to watch a movie and that’s saying something!

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