Hippo Manchester
January 12, 2006

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Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Ubisoft
(PS2/GC/PC/XBOX)

A-

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time refreshed the geriatric platform adventure genre.

The elegant controls, clever puzzles, visceral but accessible combat and surprisingly enjoyable plot stole the show. And to boot, it had a few spoonfuls of genuinely innovative game mechanics (like the ability to manipulate time itself) thrown in.

What is sad is that such a great game was followed by such a lame one. Prince of Persia: the Warrior Within was a focus-grouped market-analysis driven abomination. Brooding anti-hero? Check. Voluptous Vixen with derriere-dividing metal thong “armor”? Check. Dual-wielding swords of bloody death? Check.

A bad game? No it is an accomplished actioner, it’s just exceedingly trite, almost insultingly so after such a wonderful debut.

The Two Thrones picks up right where Warrior Within leaves off. Our prince, having borne the burden of mucking about with the Sands of Time, returns to his home city of Babylon to find it sacked. And welling up within him is a malignant force of darkness. The Dark Prince inside him mocks and manipulates our hero, occasionally taking over his physical form and imbuing him with exceptional combat abilities vis-a-vis a chain-sword-whip thing. While players are in Dark Prince mode their health continually depletes and can only be resotred by consuming the magical sands dropped by the games enemies. While the Dark Prince character is cool his sequences are a tad too frantic, oten eschewing the elegant mechanics of more Princely combat in faovr of frenzied button mashing.

The rest of the game is a reward for having tolerated Warrior Within; the sweet camaraderie and clever puzzling of Sands of Time returns along with your erstwhile companion/love Farah. Much of the wondrous storytelling and dialogue that made the first game so enjoyable finds itself reinjected in the encounters with Farah, a welcome return.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones is an enjoyable apology, technically a “better” game than its predecessors. While it lacks the freshness and charm of Sands of Time it goes a long way to exorcise the ineptitude of Warrior Within. A fitting end to an enjoyable series.

Glenn Given