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Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones Review

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: December 1, 2005 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

In 2003, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time introduced to us a completely new type of “adventure� game. With an overzealous prince, loveably exaggerated acrobatics, and room-sized puzzles, Ubisoft brought us a truly unique gaming experience. Its predecessor, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, fell a few sizes short trying to fill the shoes of the original, with less than satisfactory graphics, break-your-controller-frustrating puzzle sections, and the Prince’s whiny attitude that rivals that of any emo kid. However, on December 1st, 2005, Ubisoft more than made up for its previous failure with the acrobatic Prince’s latest installment: Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.

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The game picks up from where The Two Thrones left off, with the Prince returning from the Island of Time, his love Kaileena by his side. The calm can only last for so long for the Prince, however, for when he returns to the city of Babylon, he finds it being attacked by an army from India; nothing but the flames of war and the smell of blood as far as he could see. Not wasting any time to cut throats and save lives, the Prince quickly abandons ship and heads inside the city to wreak havoc on those who’ve destroyed this once beautiful city.

As to be expected, the most engaging part of the game is finding out how to get from point A to point B, using the Prince’s arsenal of smooth acrobatic moves that range from running along walls for a ridiculous length, bounding extreme distances, and jumping from wall to wall. A few new moves have been added to the fun, such as being able to stab your knife into and slide down way to conveniently placed curtains and tapestries. Although the puzzles in The Two Thrones are quite enjoyable, they’ll prove to be no where near as challenging as those of the previous game. Those who resets went into the double digits during certain sections of The Warrior Within should have no trouble at all climbing and bounding through these. This can be good or bad, depending on how experienced you are in the series.

Whether you like the difficulty of the puzzles in The Two Thrones or not, you’ll be happy to know that getting through them will be more enjoyable than ever. The control scheme for The Two Thrones is the best yet, making movement across the ledges, rooftops, and randomly placed spinning saw blades ejaculating from the floor and walls feel smooth and clean. In addition to the wonderful controls, the camera is flawless. There will never be a time in the game where the camera angle is awkward or wont move where you want it.

The game’s combat has never been a truly enjoyable aspect of the game, and, sadly, this game is no exception. While controlling the Prince’s movements and attacks have become infinitely better than the previous two, the combat is still more or less simple button mashing combos that do way too much damage for the amount of buttons you’re required to press. It’s better than the previous two, and looks very impressive on screen, but it’s more of a timeout until you can get back to ninja-running through other parts of the level.

However, Ubisoft has implemented a “substitute� for those quick, unneeded and linear combat sequences. The introduction of “Speed kills� allows players to instantly kill enemies without going into button-mash mode (kind of like God of War, but not as cool). The player must first find a place where they may drop down on the guards, which is usually a ledge or wall that is all to conveniently place above the guards. Once you’re in this position, all you have to do is press the triangle button. The Prince then enters a cool cinematic scene where he finds some elaborate way of cutting their throat or stabbing them in the head. This allows players to avoid the sometimes annoying combat, and also makes the game a bit more strategic trying to find the path to go that will initiate the speed kill.

The Two Thrones also attempts to introduce something completely new to the series: racing. Needless to say, this was a bad idea. There are two parts of the game where the Prince controls a chariot whilst it bulls through the streets of Babylon, and one where the Prince has to steer a large monster through a door, each of them will bring out the ‘controller-breaker’ in all of you. Steering the chariot is something like trying to steer a refrigerator with plastic wheels, as well as the back of the carriage being extremely wide, making it very easy to underestimate how much space you have to get through certain areas. Unless you have plenty of sand, prepare to become good friends with the loading screen during these parts.

The biggest, as well as most obvious, change in the game is the Prince’s dark half. Thanks to the Sands of Time (seems like nothing good comes from this stuff) the Prince has developed what some might call an alter ego. Throughout the game, the Prince will turn into the “Dark Prince�, whose entire body is char and ash, with glowing veins and a shadowy head of hair. The Dark Prince has a few new quirks, such as new combat moves and combos, a badass “extendo-sword� called the ‘Daggertail’, and a rope that allows him to reach places that the Prince wouldn’t normally be able to reach.

Combat with the Dark Prince is much more enjoyable, although a bit cheap at times, considering his combos can sometimes take out several enemies at a time without much effort. Also, the Dark Prince’s life is constantly diddling away, making it a necessity for they’re to be a constant flow of enemies to survive. Given this, there are numerous foes for you to fight while you’re controlling the Dark Prince. Combat with the Dark Prince also looks much more impressive than does the normal Prince. The Dark Prince was a good addition to the game, and truly shows the dark side of us all.

The Two Thrones also looks stunning, with a beautiful“ Arabian Nights� feel to it. The environments range from rooftops, to the streets of Babylon, underground tunnels, and tombs. Tiny details such as the curtains blowing, or torches’ twitching as the wind blows really brings the game to life. The character designs aren’t the best, but the obscenely beautiful background graphics and atmosphere more than make up for it. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones is a breath of fresh air for fans of the series that have just gone through The Warrior Within. Fun, and extremely addicting gameplay, beautiful scenery, and an engaging storyline make Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones easily the best in the series.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.5
Written by Matt Evangelista Review Guide