Monthly Archives: August 2007

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time AGAIN!

I finished this yesterday. Got distracted midway by Resi 4, and then by 6 Robin Hobb 800+ page books. But wow though, this game is so good. Level design was superb, dialogue was excellent, and I loved the grace of the movement and animation so so much.

As well as that, it was a very pretty game:

Sands of time

Weirdly enough I really loved the voice acting too. I can count on one hand the games where I’ve thought the voice acting was done well and suited the characters. They got it spot on with Prince of Persia though, and the music through the game was great as well.

They got the difficulty level right too. Just enough so your stomach drops with dread when you see the latest fiendish timed trap sequence, and your heart lifts just as high when you manage to complete it, but not so much that you are still trying to get through it half an hour later, growling in frustration. Everything is really tightly done, and it’s the kind of thing where you can see the designers and coders and testers have put hundreds and hundreds of hours into making everything exactly right.

In fact one sentence can summarise just how immersive this game is : When the Prince is climbing up the torture chamber, jumping from beam to beam, occasionally overbalancing with bats flying out at him and no sand left, I actually experienced vertigo.

Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy and the Tawny Man trilogy

Okay, firstly I really really enjoyed these books. Well actually I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but they sure as hell inspired pretty extreme emotions in me. I’m not really the overly emotional type but these books had me weeping solidly for the last hundred pages or so, and laughing aloud and tearing up some more all through them besides.

The characters are elaborately constructed in little steps, and all of them are 3D and have depth, which is great. It’s what I like in my books, be they fantasy or not, it’s probably the most important thing to me. It was hard at first to get past Robin Hobb’s wishy washy first person narration style, but after a bit I realised even though it’s not my favourite tool in the world, she was certainly using it effectively.

The main protagonist is incredibly human – not only in his unreliable narration but in his thick-headed stupidity, embarrassment, inability to read other’s emotions. His distrustfulness and the way he made countless mistakes and misinterpreted pretty much everything only made him more endearing. I wanted to give him a clout over the head a couple of times mind you, but what’s important is that he was a human character, and a masterfully written one at that. Can’t tell you how rare this seems to be in novels.

I don’t want to really go into a HUGE rant about the characters and relationships as I doubt anybody who might read this really cares, but I’ve got to say on the offchance that anybody who knows what I’m talking about reads this :

The ending was the most disappointing I’ve come across in a long time. WHY in the name of god would you set up your characters and lay down scenes and in the epilogue completely ignore all the rules you’ve given them and come up with a lacklustre “happy” ending? WHY.

Phew, okay, got that off my chest – moving swiftly on……..

Oh yeah, I went to Naples for a week and also finished Resi evil and did my placement presentation – but this is all secondary to me NEARLY DYING OF THESE BOOKS.