Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time, despite the heedless verbosity of the title, remains one of my favorite games. It’s not deep. It’s not elaborate. It’s certainly nowhere near an RPG. But it is fun and rewarding, with mostly low-key gameplay that encourages exploration and is forgiving of mistakes. (I was frustrated by later entries in this series, because they sometimes abandoned the formula that made this game so pleasant.)
I originally owned this game for the Gamecube, and when we sold the GC it I knew losing Prince of Persia was going to be the most grievous loss. I considered buying it again for the PC or for my recently acquired Playstation 2, but it seemed daft to spend money on a game I’d already beaten four or five times already. It’s a great game, but there isn’t that much replay value in it. It seemed like I’d be paying thirty bucks just for the comfort of having an old favorite on my shelf, or perhaps for one more trip through the traps for old time’s sake.
So I was really thrilled to see this: A full version of the game is now available for “free” in an ad-supported format. The idea is that you download the full thing free of charge, and occasionally during a break in the game it will show you a little commercial.
I found this a few weeks ago, and when I tried it out it only showed ads for McDonald’s. This seemed kind of odd. If the first four McDonald’s ads don’t make me hungry for a Big Mac, is ad #5 really that likely to change my mind? Last night I revisited the game in preperation for writing this post, and I played for an hour without seeing a single ad. It’s obvious this is an experiment, and they’re still working out the details. I actually like the idea that A-list games eventually become ad-supported freebies, in the same way that movies progress from theater, to DVD rental, to television.
The game supported my USB “Dual Shock” style controller, which let me recreate the control scheme I’d already learned. However, I found out I had to put down the controller and use the mouse to navigate the menus. Sigh. That’s about par for the course for console ports. If you come at the game fresh and bring your mouse / keyboard control paradigm with you things will most likely work without hassle.
It’s a great game, and might be worth a look if you don’t mind a little crass advertising, which may or may not show up. (The download screen also has some blurb about the game being US-only, but I don’t know how they enforce that or how relevant it really is to your ability to play the game. I’m not going to leave the country just to find out.)
UPDATE: Nevermind. They “discontinued the free trial”, which is an odd thing to say since they never gave any indication that this was a limited time offer. Anyway, it will let you download the game, but not activate it. Bad form guys, bad form.
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