Joystiq Review: Prince of Persia Epilogue (DLC)

"I'm glad you're still doing that."

The Prince's relief at being spared another fatal plunge, even if it squashes his pride just a tad, is well justified in Epilogue. Crumbling, daunting, dark and no more practical than most video game locales, the Underground Palace is the sort of place that makes you glad you invested in that magical, life-saving companion. Its entirely linear layout offers a breathless string of platforming challenges for the Prince, a final chicane of scurrying and swinging that requires more adept timing than anything else in the main game.

That isn't to say that the downloadable extension is a mere taunt directed at those who scoffed at Prince of Persia's forgiving nature. The difficulty curve matches the dire situation crafted by the story, which has prompted the acrobatic duo to flee rather than fight. It's easy for me to recommend Epilogue based on the engaging spatial puzzles or the elaborate, corruption-riddled platforming sequences, but the real draw is witnessing the aftermath of Prince of Persia's poignant climax.
The tone has shifted from adventurous to somber and defeated, with the Prince and Elika experiencing a reversal of roles. Now it's the Prince who adopts a serious interest in the affairs of gods, while Elika retreats into a shell of apathy. If "What happens next?" was a question you hoped to have answered by Prince of Persia's end, then consider this $10 well spent.

Your investment also nets a new power for Elika, dubbed "Energize." It restores fallen pieces of the environment for you to clamber across -- but only for a limited time. You'll have to adopt an urgent pace should you hope to run on something more than thin air. In some cases, even a delayed double-jump will send you back to the start of the sequence!

Epilogue's 2-3 hour running time is justified not only by collectibles hidden off the main path, but a new shape-shifting enemy. Of course, his convenient ability is really just a cheap excuse to make you fight two of the main game's bosses again, this time one after the other. Victory requires a modicum of strategy on your behalf, but the battles against Epilogue's other enemy are far more engaging and relevant to the plot.

While Epilogue's important connection to the main game's narrative proves to be its strongest draw, Ubisoft should be commended for using its Prince of Persia capstone as a means to address some of the criticism faced by the game. It's a tougher, slightly more thoughtful affair that's recommended to those who finished the game ... and to those who beat the game.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.