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Prince Of Persia (#110 of 2)

An Unambitious Retreat Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

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An Unambitious Retreat: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
An Unambitious Retreat: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Given that video games are usually better than the movies based on them, it makes sense that the new Prince of Persia game would be just as happy to ignore the chestfest of a movie as I am. Instead, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is inspired by the popularity of the last generation’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time trilogy, ignoring 2008’s poor, unloved, colon-less Prince of Persia (which I’m just going to call PoP-08 from here on, as though it was a Japanese energy drink). But for all PoP-08’s controversial elements, it was creatively trying to build on what had worked in previous PoP games and throw out what didn’t, and PoP: TFS left me longing for its relative success.

PoP-08’s all-quick-time-event gameplay was an acknowledgement that platforming control had never worked very well on the animation-heavy PoP games, where you’re frequently pushing a button and then waiting for the character to catch up. Instead, it went for eye-dazzling flow, a playable rollercoaster where you pushed the buttons in rhythm and enjoyed the show.

Comics Column #4 Mapmaking and the Hoi Polloi (Dylan Horrocks)

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Comics Column #4: Mapmaking and the Hoi Polloi (Dylan Horrocks)
Comics Column #4: Mapmaking and the Hoi Polloi (Dylan Horrocks)

XXIII. “There is only the past.”

Jordan Mechner, creator of the long-lived Prince of Persia video game franchise, released a graphic novel inspired by his games earlier this year through First Second books. A publisher swiftly becoming known for high-quality literary works, First Second usually releases imported works from beloved European cartoonists like Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar, as well as prestige projects from already-known talents like Eddie Campbell or Jessica Abel—the idea of a video game adaptation coming from their publishing house, even a particularly well-marketed book like Prince of Persia (celebrating a major new game release), seemed something of an anomaly. However, unlike most adaptations of a video game into any other particular media—cinema having notably had trouble with the product so far—this book turned out to be surprisingly well thought-out and often gentle in its storytelling. While hardcore gamers who came to the book out of curiosity may have been disappointed at the minimal level of swashbuckling—or, really, any of the superficial elements inherent to the “platform game” video game mechanics—the book is a rewarding, if disposable, bit of fairy tale confection.