The duo flees from the collapsing temple, and Elika tells the Prince about the Fertile Grounds that have to be healed in order to restore the Tree of Life and get Ahriman back to prison.
The Prince is not quite enthusiastic about having to save the world instead of leading his usual luxurious and easy life, but he takes up the job anyway.
The developers have moved away from the linearity of the previous games of the series and you can visit the Fertile Grounds in random order. Some of them will only open up later in the game, however, and you have to visit every location to complete the game. The gameplay is largely inherited from The Sands of Time trilogy, but with an emphasis on pair play: Elika not only saves the Prince from falling into an abyss but also helps him perform acrobatic tricks and fight the enemies. There are some RPG elements: you can gather Seeds of Life to open new magic abilities of the Prince’s companion.
The combat system is somewhat simplified in comparison with the previous trilogy. You won’t see hordes of enemies here. Most of the fights are one to one. The hero fights with a sword and also has a glove with diamond claws.
Elika can serve as an aide, too.
There is no health indicator. Instead, the game will inform you that the Prince has received a critical blow and is vulnerable. But even if the Prince is knocked down, he does not die. Elika throws the enemy away with a magic attack and helps the Prince to get up on his feet. The enemy will restore some health during that time, though.
You cannot die while performing various acrobatic tricks, either. If you make a mistake, Elika will catch the falling Prince and help him get back to the platform the unsuccessful jump has been made from.
This may look as taking the pressure off the gamer, but on the other hand, mistakes are unavoidable considering how much jumping and wall-walking you have to do, and you’d soon lose your interest in the game if you had to replay some sections of it often. This safe gameplay is complemented with the option of arbitrary saving, which is unusual for this game genre (the position at the beginning of the level is saved). These safety measures are all right with us because the game has a well-developed plot which makes it a good magic adventure rather than just a trainer for your reflexes.
The game runs on Ubisoft’s own Scimitar engine that had previously been used in Assassin’s Creed. The engine is modified for Prince of Persia to better match the fairy-tale setting. The game looks splendid indeed. The cel-shading technique creates a special magic atmosphere, concealing the few drawbacks such as Elika’s unrealistic hairdo or the lack of polygons. This can be explained by the fact that the project was developed for multiple platforms, but we can expect it to run fast on the PC. Let’s check this out right now.