Review by thewaynemanor
Reviewed: 02/01/06 | Updated: 03/24/06
In need of a rewind and reworking
The final chapter in the Prince of Persia trilogy - The Two Thrones - finishes with something between a whimper and a bang.
Story - logical given the Prince's interference in the timeline in order to save himself. The resurrection of the Vizier courtesy of a new timeline was clever. More could have been made of the fact that once again the Prince is responsible, and that his actions have caused Kailenna's death after all. The addition of the Dark Prince was interesting but again the question of choice could have been more developed.
Gameplay - bitter sweet. All the old signature moves return and it is a joy for any experienced player to reacquaint themselves with these killing moves. What spoils the fun is the introduction of the Speed Kill, which is at times MANDATORY. While an interesting stratagem, the player may NOT wish to kill a foe or even a Boss in this manner. Part of the fun in Warrior Within was coming up with different ways in which the Prince could dispatch a foe. Now when fighting Bosses it is simply a matter of timing. It is also a tad insulting when a player is forced to use a strategy and then has to be told by the game that they did not "time it right." It is quite possible the designers were simply trying to imitate the far more successful "button kills" from God of War.
The traps return as do the acrobatic feats, although the addition of the protruding plates that allow diagonal jumps is ridiculous as they serve no other functional purpose. The Dagger holes are good if a little hard to see at times.
Playing as the Dark Prince added some new depth to the game, although the character should have lost life at a gradual rather than extreme pace, similar to the Sand Wraith from Warrior Within. The stints as the Dark Prince were also too short.
The chariot-racing aspect was good if a tad extreme - one mistake and the Prince dies. Had there been a special damage meter for the Chariot then it could have been far more interesting and less frustrating.
One puzzling aspect of gameplay is the addition of chests containing sand credits, that can be used to "buy" additional artwork. As all art is unlocked once the game is finished, what was the point?
Boss battles are interesting enough - once Speed Kills have been mastered. While the second Boss battle is easily the most enjoyable, the third is too hard; as the final fight with the Vizier is far easier. The last confrontation with the Dark Prince is anti-climatic as it is impossible to lose. The player should have had a choice as to the outcome with two different endings being possible.
Graphics - seem a tad blocky and at times some of the effects seem to smack of designer laziness. The Prince's transformation into the Dark Prince comes to mind as given the capabilities of the PS2 there is no excuse for the choppy look of the dark energy. The wonderful closeups of the Prince's face that worked so well in Warrior Within are also gone. Instead we are treated to some often repetitive rendering that is a step back rather than a step ahead. All in all this component of the game was adequate but not outstanding.
Sound - is also disappointing. The first two installments of the trilogy featured some very memorable battle tracks, yet there is nothing of any note here. There is the odd uplifting bar of music on certain tracks, but nothing that conveys a sense of the epic task with which the Prince is faced. Voice work is also rather pedestrian as the designers made the mistake of using the actor from Sands of Time for the Prince, when the actor from Warrior Within was far more appropriate. This Prince is cynical and battle weary, and does NOT scream like a 15 year old when hit by a weapon! The other voices are merely adequate.
All in all, a satisfactory game but hardly brilliant. Long-time fans of the series deserved better. Once again, another game that needed another overhaul before release. What we have here is the almost finished product and the game suffers for it. Unfortunately this is one instance in which the player cannot rewind.
7 is a fair score. The game does not deserve the unrealistic scores presented in some of the reviews here, be they a 10 (eg. DKamikaze, who is unable to separate the enjoyment factor from an analysis) or a 4 (shockrave, who appears to be only learning the basics of POP gameplay and therefore has no business writing a review just yet).
Rating: 3.5 - Good
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