01 March 2010
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Xbox, PS3, Gamecube
The tagline for "Superman: The Movie" said "You will believe a man can fly."
And we did. Decades later this is still the comic book film against which all others should be compared. They simply nailed it.
I could say the same for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The tagline should read: "You will believe YOU can run on walls." The game so effortlessly hands over the controls to the player, so perfectly intuits man and machine, that you can believe in the moment that it's you soaring around the ruins, reversing time and careening off walls and poles with ease.
If not for the recommendation of a good friend and beloved Philadelphia bartender (yes, I know a lot of bartenders) I might have missed this title. I'm typically not much for platformers of any kind. But John - who claims he will write for this blog one day - told me this game was perfect. Unlike me, John will not waste time with a bad game. John won't let a game's flaws slide. Suffice to say, if John is playing it it's a great game in every way.
So, you know, I took his advice.
And I still play this game today. It is the best of the last-gen trilogy and far better than the last installment. Even with it's often infuriating difficulty and painful trial and error, the game set the right tone. It knows just when to give the platforming a break and let you kill some bad guys. And when that nearly gets tedious, you'll find yourself putting Spider-Man to shame with some acrobatic feats and clever puzzle-solving.
There are hundreds of great games in the history of this medium, but not all of them elicit the sort of universal praise and respect you hear about this one.
It stands - or sands - the test of time.
By Victor Paul Alvarez