The Prince of Persia The Two Thrones Review


The Prince of Persia is back, as nimble as ever but with a bit of an identity crisis thanks to those troublesome Sands of Time. The Two Thrones opens as The Prince makes his way home to Babylon with his love, Kaileena. As their ship rounds a cliff face and they catch sight of The Prince’s home they’re shocked to find it in flames and overrun with invaders intent on tearing up the place. When they land on shore Kaileena is promptly kidnapped (didn’t see that one coming, did you?) and another Prince of Persia adventure begins.

The Prince drops in for a stealth kill.
At its core, The Two Thrones remains true to the series’ signature gameplay. The Prince is more acrobatic than an eight year old Romanian girl and he puts his skills to good use as he makes his way through the game. The Prince can run up or along walls for short stretches, balance on high beams, shimmy between columns, slide down poles, and that’s far from a complete list. Each of the game’s levels plays out as a series of puzzles where often the only thing that you need to do to move on is to get to the other side of the room. Of course doing so is never easy as you’ll need to find a way to vault, jump, and somersault your way to that exit. The thing about this that is so enjoyable is that The Prince is remarkably easy to control and you’re not stuck spending most of the time trying to align each jump perfectly lest you fall to your doom. The controls are well-designed and are very responsive – so much so that you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself asking yourself “did I just do that?” after stringing together a series of acrobatic moves. In fact, the challenge in the game comes more from figuring out what to do than from actually doing it. This one of the game’s strong points, but unfortunately it can also be its most frustrating.

The problem is that you will often find yourself staring at a large courtyard that you must cross without a clue as how to proceed. You may see a couple objects or architectural features that may provide grab points, but since it is very hard to judge distances in the game and to determine in advance just how far The Prince will jump, the proper path to pursue will not be apparent. This leads to a blind jump of faith that sometimes pays off and at others doesn’t. It’s bad enough that you’ll have to watch the death of The Prince, the Game Over screen, the Continue screen, and the load screen each time this happens, but making things more frustrating is that the game will put you back at the last checkpoint and the checkpoints are quite spread out in the game. And if you think the checkpoints are too sparse wait until you see how few and far between the save points are. Playing The Two Thrones inevitably requires a large time commitment every time you sit yourself down in front of your Xbox. Trial and error gameplay can take a little time and you won’t dare to quite before you’ve reached the next save point so you don’t have to go through it all again. I’ve seen games that are miserly with the save opportunities before, but The Two Thrones is like the Scrooge McDuck of them all. This alone is such a frustrating aspect of the game that it knocks down the fun factor of what is otherwise an enjoyable game.

 

Also reviewed on:
  •  · GameCube