E3: Prince of Persia: Kindred Blades

The prince is packing. Has Ubisoft been able to improve the reborn franchise yet again? We take a look at PoP: Kindred Blades.

Fancy presentations for King Kong and Rainbow Six aside, the crown jewel of Ubisoft's show was arguably Prince of Persia: Kindred Blades. The continously running trailer hinted at a game that had a much more detailed, layered, and epic storyline than any of its predecessors.

Prince of Persia 3 is a direct sequel to the last intallment The Sands of Time. Our hero returns to his home city of Babylon to find it cast in the dark shadow of evil. He becomes a fugitive in his own empire, trying to stay alive. This of course gives us an excuse to run, swing, and slash in typical Prince of Persia style.

Although this demo was not hands on, the game seems to be running on a version of The Sands of Time engine, so you can surely expect the same smooth gameplay. And since this takes place directly after the last game, you can also expect the same basic moves and skills, including the always nifty time-warping abilty that gave the last Prince of Persia its subtitle.

Of course, this is definitely not the same game. The development team at Ubisoft has made sure to up the ante in all areas of the game to keep players interested in the series. The most important new feature is there are now two playable characters. Apparently, exposure to the sands of time have caused the prince to have a bit of a split personality problem.

When the normal prince is exposed to fire, he transforms into the bad-ass Dark Prince. And when the Dark Prince is exponed to water, he becomes the normal prince of old. The two characters don't just look different, they each have different weapons and abilities. The normal prince maintains his swords and fighting style.

The Dark Prince carries around a chain that he uses to slice up enemies in violent fashion and grapple far off walls. In fact, Ubisoft has designed the game in such a way that you will have to switch between the two charcters to complete the levels. Thus the unique abilities of each charácter is used to the fullest. Another great new addition to the game is "Speed Kill". This is sort of bullet time feature that allows you to move in and kill multiple enemies in the blink of an eye.

Ubisoft doesn't skimp on anything. The action is faster and more intense; like riding a chariot zipping at full speed through heavily trafficed streets. The enemies are more menacing and smarter (they will attack you if the see you at a distance or hear or coming). The graphics are beautifully rich, with detailed textures.

The particle system helps throw realistic dust and smoke along the narrow city streets of Babylon. The development team has created an moody atmosphere and World that demand the full attention of the player. Kindred Blades almost seems like the grown up version of Prince of Persia. It is the one that has been around the block a few times, and looks it. Just watching the demo had your humble writer fully engrosed. And this is with only a small portion of a interesting story explained.

Ubisoft's expert combination of action, and story depth will make this prince the king of the holiday season 2005.

Mike Knowlan
Contributor, Kikizo Games

Video Coverage
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Prince of Persia 3: Kindered Blades
Trailer   (Ubisoft)
1.43m 15MB DF, SD, 30

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