This game takes the magical spirit of Sands of Time, the opressive, menacing dark world painted in Warrior Within and blends it with the flowing gameplay of The Two Thrones.
It then takes the Prince of Persia handbook and throws it out of the window. Instead of giving us more of the same structured - oh god booby traps - avoid them and then meet a bunch of enemies and then work out this spatial/mirror/light/turn a crank puzzle gameplay - ubisoft montreal have taken the fun platforming, wall running and swinging found in previous installments and made them entire pathways for you to traverse and help you move through the enviroment with great pace, finesse and ease.
The prince is han solo in anything but name, the princess is very padme - but somehow through amazing dialogue and little deliberate nuances and animations to the characters - the developers make you care for them. This game is a masterpiece - the level designs are clever and intuitive to progress through if a little unelegant and the disney/studio ghibli art style used - finally makes the question of whether games are an art form - assanine.
The combat certainly has learning curve - but once you grasp the basics becomes a welcome distraction from the leaping about. You can not die in this game. If you fall in to an abyss - Princess Elika will just grab your hand and set you back on solid ground. Even in combat scenarios she is always there to throw you back in to the heat of battle. This is a welcome addition and lets the game flow (no game over screen) and allow you to progress through the game with little hassle. There are some quick time events during fights scenes - but you can not die (there is no health metre) so they become more of a small inconvenience rather than a big problem.
The game will probably take about 10 hours - depending on how much you stop to enjoy the view (Believe me there are some amazing vistas to enjoy in this one - the game is drop dead gorgeous throughout) but getting to the end is worth it as there has not been a conclusion to a full retail game this satisfying and damn right thought provoking all year along. Embrace the light. Mani.