Reviewed by Jimmy - 12.20.05
Introduction:The Prince has returned in The Two Thrones to its former Sands of Time flavoring. Ending the trilogy we have an epic Arabian adventure that will please long time fans. Although, a little troubled, or should we say schizophrenic, the new Prince still knows how to deliver the action. We are happy to crack open Ubisoft's latest, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.
The Game: Prince of Persia : The Two Thrones is the third in the series of POP (Prince of Persia) games for the consoles. The Sands of Time was a landmark game that was visually breathtaking while providing a new dynamic platforming action. The Warrior Within followed with the Prince taking a darker approach which didn't catch the same excitement as Sands, but overall was a good game. Now The Two Thrones is ready for the Christmas rush, and we are glad to see his face.
The story follows the prince returning to home city of Babylon, then loosing his love Empress Kileena to an attack from an India army. In a daring rescue attempt the Prince battles through a war torn Babylon to only to find himself in a staggering new development with an old enemy and the familiar sands of time. This brings me to the new dynamic in Two Thrones which is the Prince's dark side. The Dark Prince a nasty side effect by the Sands of Time. Complete with electric veins this more vicious version of the Prince needs to kill to stay alive. This starts the schizophrenic works of Two Thrones and as the plot thickens you come to learn that the Dark Prince has his own agenda. The idea of split personalities is a common theme within movies, but for some reason it's under used in gaming, and I'm glad to see a plot along these lines.
One slight problem with the dual personality is that you don't have control of when you switch over to the Dark Prince. It would have been nice to select whichever personality was more appropriate, especially in combat. The Dark Prince seems to have an advantage in combat with the interesting whip attachment to his dagger. The Two Thrones seems to be more fluid then Warrior Within, and for myself it brought back the joyous feeling I had while fighting in Sands. The most obvious new feature besides the Dark Prince in Two Thrones is the ability to perform Quick Kills, basically a stealth kill which is pretty self explanatory.
The time control is still presented in Two Thrones which is a major draw to the game. The Prince also has a few new moves like diagonal jumps, the ability to jam your dagger into a wall to climb higher. The game has a good balance of action, puzzles, combat and plat forming which all fits together nice. I felt the game is a little linear overall, but this helps bring home the strong story aspect. One fun gaming moment is the highly publicized chariot race through the Babylon, it's a great inclusion although challenging. I'm actually surprised chariots didn't come into play until now.
This series wouldn't be as popular if the controls didn't flow as good as they do. Just look a similar adventure game like the latest Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness and you can verify that fact. The Prince must have monkey DNA, because he can leaps and jump seamlessly, it's like he floats across multiple terrain without a lost step. The overall control scheme works well, and this is accompanied by an unproblematic camera controls. The Prince isn't a cakewalk and it can get frustrating, but it's never because of the controls.
You really can't complain much about the gameplay aspect of the Prince. It's fun and exciting, at times challenging, but always interesting. The story has an impact which goes along with the smooth flowing motion of the game. This is the way we like our Prince and hopefully future installations will follow along the same path.
Graphics & Sound: In the graphics and audio department Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones shines once again. The detail is extraordinary during the game, and the art direction brings the series back to life. It isn't the same grunge metal approach from Warrior; we are back to brilliant eastern architecture that has spectacular lighting effects. The animation gets smoother every version of the Prince, and no doubt Two Thrones has the smoothest character animation of all three. Two Thrones also has great ascetics and an overall excellent level of design, in the graphics as much as the audio. The Two Thrones defiantly has an advantage with its eastern approach which isn't seen in other games on the market. The Ubisoft Montreal team has put together a nice presentation to coat the excellent game mechanics which comes together to make a memorable piece of work.
Mojo: The Prince knows he has the mojo, and even if some gamers are harping on the Dark Prince I dig his glowing bad self. The last effort in the series really put me into a down spell with the game, which I had high expectations for. Now The Two Thrones has made my Prince of Persia experience cool again. No other game flows like this and the Prince just up'd his game with this 3rd inclusion. It's cool to be the Prince, tell me where to submit my application.
Lowdown:The Prince has returned and everyone who enjoyed Sands will no doubt be proud of the Prince once again. The adventure in its entirety is masterful accomplishment and gives us everything we could ask for from this franchise. It makes me almost giddy thinking about the Prince on the next generation hardware. Pick this sucka up!
Game: 9, Graphics/Sound: 8.5, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 8.5 Final: 8.5 / 10