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Videogame Review: Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (for PlayStation 2)


I was so psyched when I was offered a review copy of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, both because it saved me from having to buy it and because it would give me a great excuse to play it every free chance I could without looking like I was totally obsessed. Unfortunately, I would come to find out that the game isn't nearly as fun as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Besides being haunted by various glitches, the story isn't as interesting or engaging as the previous two chapters, and the new mandatory demon-mode that the developers introduced can be extremely infuriating at times since it causes your life to just drain away until your dead, so now you'll find yourself dying without you having to lift a finger. There are some improvements to this game, but that is not one of them!

As for the story, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones picks up after the end of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the second game in the trilogy. The prince returns from the Island of Time, along with his love from the second game, Kaileena, the Empress of Time. Personally, I much prefer the chick from the first game. Anyway, as their ship nears the coast, they can tell that something is definitely wrong. This is made certain when, instead of receiving a warm welcome-back reception that the prince expected, they are greeted by a giant flaming boulder that has been catapulted towards their ship! Now, with Kaileena kidnapped and the prince washing up on the shore, he must navigate the war-torn city in the futile attempt to rescue his love. Of course we all know he fails, because her death is the only way to once again unleash the sands of time, so once again the prince must play the hero and put everything right.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones This time around, our prince discovers that he has a second, darker personality lurking within him. Apparently it's due to some kind of bi-product of his experience with the sands of time. Anyway, on occasion the prince will transform into this demon mode, which changes not only his appearance, but also makes him stronger, gives him a new chain weapon, and makes his life energy slowly drain away. The idea is far from original, but easily fits with the story and is overall pretty cool... if you had some kind of control over it. But you don't. He transform at certain spots in the game, and you just have to deal with it. And this really, really sucks! When in this mode, you no longer have the luxury to look around. You have to instantly figure out how to get past obstacles, and then do it without delay. Doing that is not fun, not at all.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones On the plus side of the transformation, your new chain weapon lets you take out bad guys much easier than that puny knife you have as the normal prince. It also lets you grab objects and swing from certain outcroppings, similar to that old Bionic Commando game. Also, the banter between the normal prince and the dark prince is entertaining to listen to, when it's not glitching that is. Sometimes dialog will be spoken that has no relevance to what's going on, such as when the dark prince makes a comment about not caring if you fall to your death, except that you've already left the ledges behind and have been on the ground for over a minute. There's also a graphic glitch that occurs when you're in the dark prince mode in which one portion the red sash that he wears around his waist will occasionally stretch all the way across the screen.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones Another new feature to this incarnation is the "speed kill" system. This ability lets you sneak up on a character and surgically initiate strikes that will provide instant kills, thus letting you bypass a battle. Executing a speed kill successfully isn't trivial, however. You have to hit the button presses at just the right time. Too early or too late and the bad buy will block the speed kill, thus ensuring you will get a workout in a battle to the death. The game does indicate precisely when you are supposed to push the button by making your knife glow and distorting the screen slightly, but even so, hitting the button at just the right time takes a lot of concentration and excellent reflexes. And the timing isn't the same every time, so you always have to pay close attention. It is so very sweet when you pull it off though!

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones As for the puzzles and the moves of the previous games, well, they're all back. The graphics look very similar to previous version, which are great, but usually one expects improvement in this area with sequels. The areas all are extremely detailed and look wonderful, however I was kind of disappointed as everything tends to look war-torn. I seem to remember more of a variety in the first game. And it's also kind of annoying how this warrior prince can't open a door or push a broken-down wooden bookcase out of the way, and instead must use some obscure alternate rout to get around it. That just doesn't seem right. Why not block those off with a slab of concrete or something? I'm supposed to be a great warrior here, and you're making me feel like a wussy-boy!

Also returning from the previous games is the annoying save system:

Game: Do you want to save?
Me: Press UP to select the yes option, then press the X button to initiate it.
Game: Select the game save slot that you want to save on.
Me: Press DOWN to select my previous save slot, then press the X button to initiate it.
Game: Are you sure you want to save on this memory card?
Me: Press UP to select the yes option, then press the X button to initiate it.
Game: Are you sure you want to overwrite this existing save?
Me: Press UP to select the yes option, then press the X button to initiate it.
Game: Your game was saved.

So let's see, that's a total of eight button presses to save the game. Compare that against King Kong, which requires a total of two button presses, or Ratchet & Clank, which has an auto-save feature that requires no button presses, and you'll see that all this confirmation is completely unnecessary. Not only that, but it's not even helpful, as you get so used to pushing the same old stupid combination of buttons that the one time when you don't actually want to save, you end up saving anyway simply because your fingers automatically go through the motions from doing it so much. Now, lets take a look at this procedure one more time, this time as a conversation between myself and the game:

Game: Do you want to save?
Me: Yes.
Game: Okay, now select the game save slot that you want to save on, and then press the X button.
Me: Why can't you remember this for me? Is it normal for people to select a new slot every time they save?
Game: Now, are you sure you want to save on this memory card?
Me: Yes, I already told you that I want to save! If I didn't want to save, I wouldn't have selected a save slot!
Game: Are you sure you want to overwrite this existing save?
Me: Yes! Yes! I wouldn't be this far into the save procedure if I didn't want to save! So just freakin' save already!!
Game: Okay, your game is now saved.
Me: Go to hell!

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones Oh yeah, and I also hate the sound effects that they use for the menus. It sounds like they got messed up or something. Okay, and now for a few more glitches the game has to offer. How about when the beginning of the rewind-time sound effect just pops out of nowhere? Or how about when the camera auto-focuses on your face when you're in a corner trying to beat off bad guys instead of zooming out so you can see what you're doing? Or how about when you hit the button for the prince to strike an enemy that was knocked to the ground, but instead of hitting the enemy he just hits dirt? Or how about when the controller vibration doesn't turn off when it's supposed to, so you have to open your menu to get it to stop? Or how about some bad guys not showing up in places that they're supposed to be, and that they do show up in on the next time around?

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones So anyway, this is still a fun game, at it plays very much like its predecessors, but it has a lot of glitches which hinder the fun, and the automatic draining of life just really irritated the hell out of me. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes did this also, so maybe having to deal with this twice in two different games so close together increased my hatred of it, but the bottom line is I have much more of a desire to re-play King Kong and earn more points than playing this game over again. In fact, unlike the first game, I really have no desire to play this one again. It wasn't bad, it just left me wanting more, wanting that fun-factor that I got from playing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones for the PlayStation 2 was released on October 7, 2005 by UbiSoft. Check out the for more information.

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Videogame Review: Videogame Preview: Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (for PlayStation 2)

Soon I will be receiving a copy of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones for review, which is awesome since I loved the first two, as well as the original way back when I got my first computer. However, since videogames take so much longer to review than DVDs and movies, I've put up this preview until I can get actually get the game and review it. This way you can check it out a little beforehand, plus download a bunch of trailers, read the developers' blog, learn about some of the game's features, and more. So the following all comes from UbiSoft. Once I get the game and play it through, I'll come back here and replace all this with my review.

Quick Synopsis

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, which is available this holiday season! It's the beloved hero, Prince of Persia, but with a twist � he has an evil twin. Play as Prince of Persia, avenging the death of his beloved - or play as the dark Prince of Persia, unleashing evil! The players are thrust directly into the conflicted psyches of the two Princes of Persia.

The Prince of Persia makes his way home to Babylon, bearing with him Kaileena, the enigmatic Empress of Time, and unspeakable scars from the Island of Time. But instead of the peace he longs for, he finds his kingdom ravaged by war and Kaileena the target of a brutal plot. When he is kidnapped, the Prince tracks her to the Palace � only to see her murdered by a powerful enemy. Her death unleashes the Sands of Time, which strike the Prince and threaten to destroy everything he holds dear. Cast to the streets, hunted as a fugitive, the Prince soon discovers that the Sands have tainted him, too. They have given rise to a deadly Dark Prince, whose spirit gradually possesses him....

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones

Trailers:

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Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones for the PlayStation 2 will be released on October 7, 2005 by UbiSoft. Check out the for more information.

Buy from Amazon.com

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