Gasps, sighs, tracts of libel, whatever your response to finding out we don't rate Prince of Persia, please don't overlook the fact that it joins a couple of other games this year in a distinguished club: games that don't add insult to injury.
Videogames are traditionally harsh on failure. Super Mario made you do everything again if you fell between the gaps, and the only thing that's changed for him since then is that it's now ludicrously easy to amass dozens of extra lives.
POP though, like Fable II before it, reckons that you're your own harshest critic, and that you'll do enough scolding and ranting when your thumbs send the Prince hurtling to his doom. Having Princess Elika's magical hand grab you back to the last solid platform gives you a bit of ground to make up, but it isn't the reason the game's too easy - that responsibility lies elsewhere, in the basic platform mechanics and bland level design, as detailed in today's review.
With any luck, Elika's magic hand and Fable's gentle treatment of players will become more prevalent in future. We've long known that challenge isn't just about dexterity, but also lateral thinking, deduction and intuition, and it'd be nice to see more games that make things interesting, rather than simply difficult.
Not that this should rule out stupidly brutal and punishing sadism simulators like GTI Club, of course, but we can have both. We can also, at least in Europe, have Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon for the DS before America. Take that!
This week in shops:
- Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City (Wii)
- Colour Cross (DS)
- Dragon Ball Z: Origins (DS)
- Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World (PS2)
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (DS)
- Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods (PC)
- Grand Theft Auto IV (PC)
- Prince of Persia (Xbox 360, PS3)
- Prince of Persia: Fallen King (DS)
- Steel Fury: Kharkov 1942 (PC)
This week online: