Saturday, January 3, 2009

Prince of Persia - Why?


Major Prince of Persia spoilers ahead.

I can accept that the Prince fell in love with Elika. Okay, as their relationship developed over the course of the game, it felt like it went from mutual loathing to friendly respect, rather than loathing to love. However, the Prince has always been a loner, living for himself and staying on the lookout for the next fortune, the next girl. He may not have known he had those feelings until Elika dropped dead at the base of the tree imprisoning Ahriman. Or, perhaps he simply kept those feeling hidden from Elika, and by extention, the player. I can believe it in the same way I believe two people can fall madly in love over the course of a 90 minute movie.

What I'm not sure I can accept is that the Prince is so grief-stricken, so selfish, and so stupid at the prospect of Elika's death that he would then unleash Ahriman again into the world, completely invalidating the previous 12-14 hours I put into the game. He's selfish, but the game convinced me that he's not a fool. He understands the devestation that Ahriman will wreak upon the world. He knows how the corruption can distort even the most honorable of kings. He also understands that to Elika, imprisoning Ahriman and helping her people return to their lands is the most important thing to her.

So to suddenly have the Prince be so devestated by Elika's death that he decides to free Ahriman again in order to resurrect her feels like a betrayal of the character, and a betrayal of the player's understanding of the Prince and the time spent playing. Was it supposed to be justified by his established selfishness? Was Ahriman strong enough to cloud the Prince's feelings so much that he would completely undo everything he just did? It feels like Ubisoft Montreal couldn't figure out how to have a cliffhanger ending while also having an epic final battle. As I neared the end, I thought to myself, "I wonder what the story for the sequel will be." Apparently, it will be the same as this game. The final line in the game is Elika asking the Prince, "Why?" That's what I'd like to know.

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