26 March 2011

HD offerings...

I'm a big fan of the Prince of Persia series and, having been given some vouchers for my birthday, I decided to get the Prince of Persia Trilogy HD collection on PS3. If this is the way that companies re-hash old classics to make them into HD offerings then i won't be buying any more.

The Sands of Time:

First off, it's a lazy port. Seriously, the sound during cutscenes is so quiet that you struggle to hear it and the voices aren't tied to the "voices volume" but instead to the music volume, meaning that you can't improve the situation because if you manually crank up the volume on the TV set, the music drowns out all the important dialogue regardless.

Secondly, the "HD textures" are pretty limited. Most of the environment has been updated texture-wise but the textures on the character models of the prince and Farah are poorly done. Whenever the prince opens his mouth and i see a bright red, flat surface in there it pulls me right out of any immersion i might have had. Similarly, when i see the inside of Farah's eye sockets for whatever reason (i'm assuming that there's some conflict with the way the port renders on the PS3) i'm wondering why i'm not playing this on my Gamecube where these weren't issues. Flat, monochrome textures should have no place in an HD update, this isn't the N64 we're talking about here....

Finally, if they're going to do an HD update of a classic game, at least make SOME effort. Remake the character models in higher poly-counts - as long as you keep the same dimensions you can just tie them into the same animations. It would be nice if they also didn't mess up the sound levels in the game as well... Yeah, it would be nice to be able to appreciate these classics as i once did.

As it stands, i really can't recommend anyone buy any HD classic remakes unless they hear good things about them.... I'm really disappointed in the quality of this release.


Well, having played through three hours of this classic game, i'm starting to appreciate how much the sound and conversation in games (and specifically this one) makes a huge difference in how much enjoyment you get out of th experience. Whoever did this port to the PS3 HD version really messed up the sound. The talking is too quiet so you miss half to three quarters of the conversations and quips; removing character and character development between the two protagonists.... The effects noises are completely out of whack with the rest of the game world, with knocks and plods from the nearby enemies overwhelming other sounds. Specifically, directional sound is broken, i find, as when you run around, things that Farah says are lost in the background noise compared to the originals.

The worst part is that the only tools the user has to balance these things are pretty useless. Reducing the music level also reduces in-cutscene dialogue (as i mentioned above)... so you need that high.... but leaving that high means that you can't hear the talking.... so you need that option set to high as well.... but, ideally higher than the music.... but then you can't hear the talking during the cutscenes..... and then there's the sound effects which are quiet as well.... except for those enemy noises when you're not in combat.

It's probably the most frustrating sound-balancing/design that i've ever encountered in a game..... and doubly so because it was perfect in the PS2 and GC versions of this game.

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