Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
With the Prince of Persia franchise you are always sure of two things, “realistic” platforming and instant Death Traps.
The realistic platforming really needed working on because before The Sands of Time the best realistic platforming going was in the Tomb Raider games and look how they turned out. That old style of platforming was outdated and it nearly killed the Tomb Raider franchise so Ubisoft had to start from scratch. What we got in the end was gameplay that would look right at home in a Wachoski Brothers Matrix flick, the Prince has gone from being slow, clunky to fast, fluid and slick. Oddly enough this style of platforming was so effective that Tomb Raider went and copied it. Since this change the series has followed the formula of run, jump and climb. In all the Prince controls like a dream, the gameplay in this area has been balanced to the point where it feels almost completely fair.
The death traps were always going to be the cause of frustration, players needed an alternative to restarting the level constantly, because of this “The Sands” were introduced to the gameplay giving you the ability to rewind time and fix mistakes such as taking a nasty fall and dying. This mechanic is brilliant because it lets the game keep the risk and reward gameplay while getting rid of the frustration. It also adds some humour to the game allowing you to drop 60 feet and then watch in amusement as you jump straight back up. If you don't like the Prince then you can just drop him in a spike pit over and over again.
The thing I dislike about the likes of Mirrors Edge is how you get a game over whenever you die. This breaks the flow of the game, get rid of that flow and the enjoyment factor just plummets. When you consider that the game is about fast paced, well thought out platforming the last thing you want is for it to be a chore.
The only aspect of the gameplay that can be criticised is the combat which in comparison to the rest of the game feels slow and cumbersome, it is another case of hit the enemy when they are not attacking and block when they are, you can jump over enemies and use a variety of attacks but most of the foes are unaffected by these special moves so you are left having to use the hit and run method which is just dull.
Not to give the game too much credit it does have a few annoying moments with the best examples being a door puzzle that is really nothing more than a guessing game and the fact that the bosses are total pushovers.