Prince of Persia Review: No One Here Gets Out Dead

There's a price for all this fluidity, and it manifests as a nominal delay between a button press and each move's on-screen execution. That leads to occasional misfires as you overcompensate, especially when perched on poles, where you'll hit the jump button to fire off at the proper vector, but the game's queued up an additional rotation, so you'll swivel an extra turn and plunge into empty space. You're also treated to a few on-rails throwback Space Harrier-style flying sequences, where concentric circles of light hamper your peripheral vision and add gimmicky difficulty to a spasmodic exercise in jerking the camera around and twitching evasively to reactively avoid obstacles thrown up in your passage. Flying in a platformer hasn't been done properly since Mario's cape antics in Super Mario World, and it's at best a tediously superfluous tack-on here.

But like DICE's remarkable Mirror's Edge, Prince of Persia is at its best when you're simply exploring its astonishing expanses — pausing, considering, testing, and when you're perched at some towering, insanely askew angle with the world spread out below, resting to digest the heart-stopping panoramic. Ubisoft Montreal had the intrepidness to lose a fundamental design crutch here, and the aptitude to triumphantly craft an experience in which — to quote Christopher Eccleston in "The Empty Child" — everybody lives.

PCW Score: 90%

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