developed by Ubisoft Montreal
published in 2005 by Ubisoft for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox initially, and later for Windows, Wii and PSP
Quick Timeline for Your Reference
1989 Prince of Persia
1993 Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame
1999 Prince of Persia 3D
2003 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
2004 Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
2005 Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
2008 Prince of Persia
2010 Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Ubisoft began their Prince of Persia reboot in 2003 with the critically-acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. This game introduced two great concepts: 1) extremely acrobatic platforming type action and 2) the ability to rewind time. SUPPOSEDLY, the game didn’t sell as well as hoped (which I don’t understand, as it sold at least 3 million copies according vgchartz.com) so they decided to give the prince a makeover for the next game, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. In this rather silly sequel, the Prince is now an annoying, mopey asshole that fights babes in really slutty armor while Godsmack – yes, Godsmack – plays in the background. Ugh. Many people were annoyed by the new direction. The next game – and the subject of this commentary – The Two Thrones – attempts to reconcile the two interpretations.
The Two Thrones finds the Prince being less of a bitch and more of an upstanding guy as he was in the original. The slutty babes are less egregious. The platforming is more pure and interesting a la Sands of Time and, THANK SATAN, we’re spared from the annoying/pointless/maddening backtracking of Warrior Within but we DO get the greatly improved combat from that game. The one area where Sands of Time really fell short was the combat, especially compared to the incredibly intricate and ingenious sword-fighting of the 80s/90s games. Two Thrones has many moves, combos, and acrobatic attacks. Unfortunately, none of them are really as natural and clever as the fighting mode in the very original from 1989.
The story is pretty laughable and the Prince is still pretty cheesy. He still refers to himself as the Prince of Persia and people say cheesy things to him. If you can ignore all that, then the action is pretty enjoyable. The acrobatics in all of the Ubisoft PoP games are always enjoyable and fun and make up for a lot of silly marketing-inspired presentation decisions.
The primary innovation in this game is some sort of stealth attack. I guess the designers wanted to be more like Metal Gear or Splinter Cell or something. Basically, the Prince can sneak up on dopes but then the player is required to watch a scripted sequence and hit the attack button at just the right time or the stealth element is lost. I thought this feature was pretty mixed. Generally, I’m not a fan of contrived, unnatural controls and I hate relinquishing control of the character. It reminds me of the stupid portions of Resident Evil 4 or the stupid-piece-of-shit-that-everyone-loves God of War that have actions that require quick tapping of randomly-selected, arbitrary button combinations. If I wanted that crap I would just play Guitar Hero.
A really standout segment occurs at the end of the game in something of an epilogue segment that looks totally different from most games and really resembles what TV shows and movies have convinced me an acid trip looks like. If I had to suggest one of the games from this particular trilogy it would have to be Sands of Time over this one – the combat may not be as cool but it’s MUCH less cheesy and has a fresh, clean feel to it.