The wind is free, but the sand goes where it is blown.
What is one grain of sand in the desert? What is one grain of sand in the storm?
Prince of Persia is another Continuity Reboot for the action-adventure and platforming Prince of Persia series, developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released in the United States on December 2, 2008 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and on December 9, 2008 for Microsoft Windows. It was later released on March 24, 2009 for Mac OS X via the Cider engine.The game is set in ancient Persia, with the eponymous Prince as the main character. He is accompanied by a woman named Elika, whom he met after a large sandstorm diverted him from his course and he ended up in a mysterious land. Players traverse many different environments using his acrobatic abilities to scale walls and even crawl on the ceilings. Throughout the journey, players combat various enemies as they attempt to cleanse the land of corruption. The game's storyline and setting borrowed some aspects from Zoroastrianism.The next chapter is a downloadable expansion simply titled Epilogue, released on March 5, 2009, exclusively on consoles. A spin-off DS game, Prince of Persia: The Fallen King was released on Dec 2, 2008. Penny Arcade made a thirty-page comic about the origin of the Hunter.As of March 2012, there has been no word on a true sequel to the game; plans for it have apparently been put on hold in favour of making a fourth installment in the Sands of Time series.
The Mourning King. Everything he did was to spare his daughter Elika from having to kill herself to imprison Ahriman.
Arc Words: "If you would have your wish, then give me mine."
"What is one grain of sand in the desert? What is one grain of sand in the storm?" First stated by Elika then by Ahriman.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Subverted. Elika tries to pull one on the Prince at the start of the Epilogue DLC, but it doesn't help either of them see the other's point of view.
Badass Normal: Compared to creatures twisted by evil and given the power to use corruption as a weapon, a princess who can wield magical light, and a vengeful god who wants to unleash misery and suffering upon the world in a never-ending reign of darkness, the Prince has a sword and a clawed gauntlet. And he's kicking ass.
Benevolent Architecture: An uncanny amount of the scenery is implausibly handy for jumping/climbing/hanging/swinging/free-running around on. Which is lucky, since there's a distinct imbalance in the ratios of really-high-places to staircases/ladders/jetpacks, smooth stable floors vs. fataldrops etc.
Character Development: The left trigger/L2 is a dialogue button for the "Prince" to talk to Elika, which may dole out a hint, more about the backstory of the land or characters, or simply Han-and-Leia-esque playful banter.
Charles Atlas Superpower: All the incarnations of the Prince are inhumanly agile. The Prince in this game might take the cake, however. The boss fights make it clear that he is more than strong enough to block and parry the blows of a massive stone behemoth, that he's physically stronger than the rest of the Corrupted (who are larger than him and empowered with darkness), and that his head is harder than the Mourning King's helmet. He can generally throw the Corrupted in the air one-handed, as well.
Cutscene Power to the Max: The Prince is able to grab hold of specific ledges and bars to move around the area. In certain cutscenes, though, he is shown to be capable of much more elaborate manuevers. This style was actually moved into Assassin's Creed made by the same people, where you can literally grab onto almost anything.
The Prince and Elika have special animations if Elika lands on the Prince.
There are unique conversation options available for the Prince and Elika during pretty much every single section of the game, even before Ahriman is released, and many of them pertain specifically to the events happening right then. For example, if you try to talk to Elika while climbing a collapsing tower, she'll yell at you to keep going instead of standing around.
Although the sword and gauntlet have no purpose when the Prince is standing on a flat surface, pressing the attack button will make the Prince wiggle the sword a little, while pressing the gauntlet button will make the Prince adjust his gauntlet so it's more snug.
Downer Ending: The Prince releases Ahriman in order to revive Elika. The Prince calmly walks away as Ahriman's darkness engulfs the land. Somewhat subverted in the Epilogue, where it's revealed that the Prince revived Elika because her power is the only thing that can defeat Ahriman for good; if she'd stayed dead, it would have just been a waiting game until Ahriman's seal broke and he took over the land without resistance. Then it's played straight again when Elika leaves the Prince high and dry to go look for her people, and it's implied that Ahriman attacks him shortly after.
The DS game The Fallen King, which could be considered a sequel to both the main 2008 game and Epilogue, at least leaves some hope for a happy ending. It has The Prince go after the king of the City of New Dawn in an attempt to summon Ormazd, and gains a temporary ally, Zal, the "good half" of the king, who ends up dying after killing his other half. The Prince's other new ally, the Ancestor, leaves a message of hope for the Prince, promising that, in time, an inner power would be revealed and new ally would be found.
Double Jump: Elika can use her magic to swing the Prince farther through the air, although he doesn't gain any additional height.
Dramatic Wind: There's always some wind blowing in the land of the Ahura.
The Dulcinea Effect: Discussed and subverted. At the end, the Prince resurrects Elika partially because it's the only way to defeat Ahriman for good, but also partially because he's fallen for her. But to be fair, he did just spend a good chunk of time fighting the forces of world-ending darkness with her, which tends to bring people together.
Escort Mission: The developers went out of their way to avoid the Escort Mission feel with Elika, with an explicit intent of changing the way player's look at AI-controlled allies. They succeeded.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: There are plenty of towers in the game, but only a few qualify for this. The Martyrs' Tower, which the Prince speculates is from the 'ominous and forbidding' school of architecture, is where the Hunter strung up the corpses of those he caught. The Alchemist's lair is a hodgepodge affair held up by balloons with an observatory located at the very top.
Failure Is the Only Option: If you want to actually finish the game, you have to release Ahriman despite having spent the past god-knows-how-many hours sealing him away.
Fallen Hero: The Warrior, who accepted Ahriman's offer of power so he could protect his people. Also, the Prince at the end.
Flaw Exploitation: Whenever the Prince and Elika fight the Warrior, she tries to appeal to the Warrior's honor to get him to reject Ahriman, often against the Prince's wishes. The Warrior finally accepts her offers in his dying moments.
Foreshadowing: The Prince refers to both the war his parents died in and his fight against Ahriman as "someone else's war", in addition to expressing doubt that someone could fight for something other than themselves. When Elika gives up her life to re-seal Ahriman, the Prince releases Ahriman again to resurrect her. There are also several hints to Elika's earlier death, which is in itself more foreshadowing the above spoiler.
Elika: Trusting your own judgement can get lonely. Prince: You rely on someone else, they'll just let you down. Elika: You haven't let me down. Prince: You haven't known me long enough.
For Science!: Stated word-for-word to be The Alchemist's reason for turning to Ahriman.
Elika:It looks quiet. Prince: Don't say it's quiet. Don't ever say it's quiet. and (After seeing that where a boss stands is precisely where they need to go:) Prince: Why do we always have to move towards the bad guys?
Prince: Oh, come on, I've helped old ladies home from the market. Elika: If they had attractive daughters. Prince: Yeah. I helped them, too.
Elika gets in on the act, too.
Elika: I'm beginning to worry about you and your donkey.
The Ghost: Ormazd never appears in the game, and we only learn about him second-hand through Elika.
Grave Robbing: The Prince admits to this. Shamelessly. Hey, it's not like they need it anymore, right?
The Prince: I reclaim abandoned property!
Guide Dang It: Plenty. Finding all the Light Seeds, for one. If you want the "Precious Time" achievement, you have to hold completely stillafter Elika dies. Do not touch any buttons, not even ones that don't make the Prince move. Hell, set down the controller, just to be safe.
After you seal the evil back into the can, you get to walk around while credits roll, trigger a cutscene, and then find yourself trapped in a relatively small area of the game and expected to somehow figure out what you're supposed to do next - let the sealed evil out of the can you've just spent the entire game going to great lengths to seal him back into - with only a cryptic camera shot that could be showing off the restored landscape, and a flashback sequence explaining one of the game's unanswered questions as hints...
Heads-Up Display: Inverted. Aside from counting up your light seeds, there is no HUD whatsoever.
Heroic Sacrifice: Elika dies at the end in order to reseal Ahriman. The Prince promptly releases Ahriman to free her. She's not happy about it.
Interface Screw: The Hunter likes to spit gobs of corruption, which obscure the centre of the screen. When the Prince is infected with Corruption by the Alchemist, the screen has a sickly green and black border. The same effect happens in red and black if the Prince is injured during a fight.
Malevolent Architecture: The land was falling into decay even before Ahriman broke out, and the Corruption just made everything worse. Lampshaded by the Prince: "When you rebuild this place, find a better architect."
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Prince chalks up his involvement in everything to (bad) luck, while Elika claims it was Ormazd's doing. Ultimately, the truth of the matter is left ambiguous.
Metroidvania: The game is a 3D version of this genre. Played with, as you choose which powerups you unlock.
The game opens with The Prince calling for Farah (the name of the Love Interest from the Sands of Times trilogy). Later when asked if Farah is his girlfriend, he reveals it to be the name of his donkey.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Invoked at the end. After sealing away Ahriman (at the cost of Elika's life), the Prince almost immediately undoes the same seal he worked his hands to the bone to put in place. See Sadistic Choice.
No Flow in CGI: Inverted. There's always a slight wind blowing, and everyone's clothes react to it, even in different ways. The Prince's long scarf bearskin cape billow dramatically, while Elika's blouse only moves a little.
Nominal Importance: Averted. The Prince is never named except in The Movie, and several of the games have the majority of characters go unnamed. It's most notable in this game, which has eight different characters, but only two have names: Elika and Ahriman.
Jailer... Torturer... What injury have I done to you That you have not done to me?
Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The game's map screen helpfully shows you which Fertile Grounds are corrupted, which are corrupted but you have the powers to access, and which have been cleansed. Additionally, you can press a button at any time for Elika to send a ball of light to your selected destination for you to follow.
Only Smart People May Pass: The game contains several puzzles. The most notable example of this trope, however, doesn't appear to be one at first. In the final encounter with the Concubine, she creates five illusory copies of Elika, and you must find the real one. However, running into or attacking the six one-by-one reveals that all of them are illusions. How do you uncover the real Elika? By throwing yourself off the tower, of course, prompting her to save you, as always.
The Only Two: The Prince and Elika vs a God of Evil, his four lieutenants, and an endless horde of mooks. Lampshaded by the Prince: "You know, I wish some more good guys would show up."
Partially justified; when the Prince talks about spreading the word about Ahriman to get more people to come and keep him trapped, Elika points out that the stories would also bring forth people who want to sell their souls to him. It's better if he remains a secret to the world at large.
Protagonist Without A Past: The Prince. He tells Elika as much when she starts questioning him. Hell, the game manual even backs him up on this one. If Elika's persistent enough (ie, if the player keeps hitting that Snark Button) he does reveal that when he was young both of his parents died for someone else's cause, leaving him with an uncle. He's been all over the world and met all kinds of people, but never got strongly attached to anyone. He robs graves and is always getting into trouble, and he's repeatedly gotten his hands on and subsequently lost a great deal of treasure. Where he comes from, rather than inheriting power, people get it by killing each other or bribing their way into it.
Pyrrhic Villainy: A bit trickier to see, but it's there. It is implied in the DLC that Elika is somehow crucial to defeating Ahriman for real. By bringing her back to life, Ahriman has secured his release, but it will ultimately bring about his downfall.
Real Is Brown: The game does have this, but the areas became much more colorful after being purified. Additionally, each area has a certain color palette before being purified.
Recycled Title: The original game and this one share the name Prince of Persia. Early in development, subtitles were considered, including Prodigy and Heir Apparent.
Rescue Romance: Played with. The Prince meets Elika as she's running away from men sent by her father, but it's implied that she would have gotten along just fine without him. Played a bit straighter when Elika saves the Prince from a collapsing bridge, but it's still a while before they begin to warm up to each other.
Reverse Grip: The Prince will shift his scimitar from a standard saber grip to this when going into a defensive stance.
Right Man in the Wrong Place: Had the Prince not happened to fall into the canyon, the game would've turned out very differently, and probably for the worse.
Sadistic Choice: The game gives the Prince a pretty hefty one: keep Ahriman trapped and the world safe (for the short time it takes for Ahriman to bust out of the weakened prison), or undo everything he's fought for and release Ahriman to destroy the world in order to bring Elika back from the dead so that she can find a way to put Ahriman back in the seal for good. And because, of course, by then we have completely fallen for her.
A Sinister Clue: Kinda. Looking from the temple, the Corrupted get more evil as you move from right to left.
The right-most Grounds are guarded by the Warrior, a Tragic Monster and the only Corrupted Elika feels sympathy for.
Moving left, the Concubine sold her soul in a moment of weakness but is too smug to be sympathetic.
The Alchemist betrayed and tortured his own people but served Ahriman because he feared death, which is somewhat understandable.
The left-most is the Hunter, the most decadent of the Corrupted with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He sold his soul simply so he could murder humans.
Speedrun: There's an achievement ("Speed Demon") for finishing the game in under 12 hours.
There are also achievements for running between the different fertile grounds in under a set amount of minutes.
Take My Hand: How Elika saves the Prince. Repeatedly. Additionally, if Elika attempts to jump to a ledge the Prince is hanging, she'll start to fall, but the Prince will spin around and grab her hand.
To Be Continued: This is the Achievement that pops up after the Prince resurrects Elika and releases Ahriman. Turns out they've abandoned the new storyline in favor of a fourth installment to the "Sands of Time" storyline.
Unflinching Walk: The Prince walks calmly away as he is engulfed by a sandstorm and a dark god flies overhead.
Unwitting Pawn: Ahriman uses the same sales pitch on both the Prince and the Mourning King and succeeds both times. Ultimately subverted in the second case, as the Prince has Elika brought back to life so she can defeat Ahriman for good.
Video Game Caring Potential: What makes the final Sadistic Choice hit so hard is that the Prince must choose between undoing the result of many hours of gameplay and giving up on the person he and the player have grown to adore throughout said hours of perfect teamwork and bilateral UST-laden snarking.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Throw the Prince down pits as many times as you like! And infinitely, because Elika will always save him, although you will miss out on an achievement if you do this too much. Some of the combat moves are rather nasty, too - throwing an enemy into the air, juggling them with your sword, grabbing them out of the air and smashing them to the ground, shoving them through pillars, hurling them off ledges...
Wall Crawl: Along with ceiling crawl. Assuming there are rings bolted along the wall/ceiling, he can run along them indefinitely. Even Spider-Man would be impressed.
Wall Jump: Hell yes. The Prince can do it indefinitely, even.