Prince of Persia: Two Thrones Preview
When we first checked in with Prince of Persia for the PS2 we have a loveable platformer with the classic Sands of Time, featuring a young spunky lively Prince who had a youthful approach to the game… and the bad habit of often talking to himself during the game.
That all went bye-bye when the next game, Warrior Within, hit. Fans, understandably, were kind of mixed emotions about the game. I’m sure some loved the new Prince of Persia, others hated it.
But why the change? Apparently not enough people bought Sands of Time. Yeah, the game was great, a solidly made platformer that played excellently and even earned a 5 out of 5 from X-Play… yet it, like similarly loved Viewtiful Joe (GameCube/PS2) got the shaft from gamers who did not fully embrace it.
I can see not embracing Viewtiful Joe since it’s painfully hard to play, but Prince of Persia : Sands of Time? Wasn’t as hard as previous Prince of Persia games were, and I liked the challenge of Sands of Time, so I really don’t know why it wasn’t embraced by more gamers.
Anyway back to Warrior Within. In an attempt to bring back gamers Ubisoft put out the next game, Warrior Within, which featured a more mature Prince with attitude… an attitude that probably rubbed Sands of Time fans the wrong way. Guess it didn’t help, for instance, that fans who were of a younger age (13+) were locked out of Warrior Within with it’s M for Mature (17+) rating. It also didn’t help much that the new platforming frustrated players at time from being too damn difficult (which wasn’t the case with Sands of Time which is one of the reasons why I was such a fan of it in the first place), also certain things like the “runthrough” visions which helped you scope out levels in Sands of Time was missing which was another downer… and did I mention the godawful and inappropriate rock music including that damn “I Will Survive” riff from The Rock’s Scorpion King movie slash game!? Obviously I was not as infatuated with Warrior Within as I was with Sands of Time, and I wasn’t alone in that sentiment either.
Well, here’s ONE MORE CHANCE to fall in love with Prince of Persia all over again… or shun it further depending on your present POV. At the end of 2005 UbiSoft will “reward” us with one more Prince of Persia release for the PS2, Prince of Persia : Two Thrones. And, yes, once again it means the return of the attitude mal-adjusted Prince… maybe. You see, a lot of stuff happened in the last game and lord knows that might have mellowed him out… yeah, right, considering we’re staring at ANOTHER M for Mature game I don’t think he mellowed much. Yeah, that of course means that the Prince is still screwed.
In the aftermath of Sands of Time it looks like the Prince’s chances of making it to a sequel wasn’t so hot when, out from the darkness of nowhere, came the Dahaka. The Dahaka, the so called “invincible fist of fate”, came to kill the Prince of Persia… apparently it blamed the Image 1 of 8. Click to enlarge
Why? ‘Cause good old William Shatner knows the truth about time travel, dammit! The cold truth!
So the Prince prevails, knocks the Dahaka to the curb, and picks up a cuddly new girlfriend in the Empress Kaileena… that’s the “Empress of Time” right? And everything is hunky dorry with everything, right?
Hear that? That’s the sound of William Shatner laughing! He’s laughing dammit! Laughing!!
So it’s off to the city of Babylon, where he is going to become the head honcho and marry that babe Kaileena. So what could possibly derail his well laid plans… only logic. Damn you, Spock!
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The guy and his ship barely makes it back to Babylon before he gets fired upon by the city itself.
The city has turned against him, Kaileena is gone, and he’s screwed. Figures.
The ship breaks, he washes up on “Deadly Ground”, and does the world a favor by putting Steven Seagal to death before he goes into action mode… well, maybe not that. Anyway he’s screwed, Babylon’s screwed, his pretty girlfriend soon to be wife Kaileena is missing, and he left his Progressive Ship Insurance in his cabin next to his copy of Prince’s Life magazine : basically things can’t get worse… which they do.
And so, because UbiSoft thinks you still love them (or will once you play this) thus begins the gameplay of Two Thrones (the third and possibly final Prince of Persia game)! Image 2 of 8. Click to enlarge
Good news : Prince is supposed to not swear like a drunken Spartan warrior, give Kratos a run for his coins in the suicidal moody dept., and you won’t have to listen to 101 sucky rock songs (including no more renditions of “I -- WILL SURVIVE!!” from The Scorpion King to torment you)!
Bad news : The Prince is still a “badass”. His personality from Sands of Time is still MIA.
Now according to what I read they’re supposed to be bringing back the wonder and beauty of the original Sands of Time, which was woefully absent in Warrior Within, but whether they do that or not remains to be seen. After all, didn’t they do Warrior Within because they thought making the Prince a “badass” would improve sales (which it clearly didn’t)? How can we be sure they’d bring back the Prince we all loved from the original Sands of Time? The game promises to bring the Prince back to
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Though if he is a little bit on the darker side I guess you can’t blame him. He’s wandering through a dead city pretty much, more resembling the shattered remains of Raccoon City than the proud jewel of the Middle East. His people, wisely, have scattered and are hiding, yet some still fight against the darkness amidst the oh so pretty streets whose graphics are supposed to make you go “ooohhhh” and not “Oh, boring” as you play the game.
As for the enemies? They seem to be newcomers, clad in strange armor, though if I suspect what I think I suspect then this game has UbiSoft digging into the past to draw forth “The Sea People” (if I remember right their “name”) who waged war against the ancient world and nearly brought civilization to it’s knees. This ancient “race”, of whom scientists are only beginning to unravel in terms of identity, raged across the old world during the time of the Prince (somewhere around that time) and put the kickass on the old civilizations, and if they are the ones who now appear in this game then you’re going to have a hard road to travel since they are not going to be pushovers. Don’t quote me though since I could be wrong.
Though one problem that already comes up from the first press releases is the gameplay, or to be more precise the LENGTH of gameplay! According to the thing I read about it there’ll be a major plot twist that’ll be wrapped up some 12 to 15 hours into the game when it ends… 12 TO 15 HOURS?!? Image 3 of 8. Click to enlarge
That has to be shorter than even Sands of Time! Wasn’t that longer? 12-15 hours! Sheesh!
And in another “questionable” moment we have the Prince himself, and a new power… the ability to “hulk” out to a raging “Dark Prince” Prince ala The Suffering or Evil Dead : Regeneration. Yeah, right.
Apparently the corruption of the sand over three games makes a “Dark Prince”, a brutal monster that will reveal the mystery behind the Prince himself… though coping a gameplay aspect of MIDWAY’s The Suffering kind of rules too I suppose, since for all intents and purposes this just seems to be a riff on something that‘s been “Been there, been there. Done that, done that“. And while early notes says this light and dark Prince thing would make for a compelling story, all I see is it making for a more irritating or confusing story. Also it gives them an excuse to slap on gory gameplay worthy of an M for Mature rating. So much for bringing back the old cool of Sands of Time which survived admirably on a T for Teen.
One thing that this duality offers though is new gameplay in that both Princes play differently (obviously the dark Prince would be more of the savage hack/slash type than the regular acrobatic Prince, which hopefully reflects well in how you play each of them during the game). This should hopefully add new layers to the gameplay, though of course it could just as well irritate the hell out of
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There is something I want to know about this new Prince though. What I want to know is whether this game will bring back the intense-ness of the original game, cut out the irritating parts from the second, and layer in new gameplay mechanics that will compliment the game rather than complicate it. Is that too much to ask for? A game worth raving about? Is it?
Let’s see… what else is this game offering?
- Newly revitalized boss battles (which promises to be improved over Warrior Within which was such a pain in the butt). In the article I read there was hints dropped about the bosses of Two Thrones. Listed was mention of “twins”, though I am sure it’s not the twins from Fatal Frame II : Crimson Butterfly. Also there’s mention of a “flying enemy” as well as a surprise “final boss”… surprise… oh-kay, just as long as it’s not the Empress he’s going to marry, his formerly dead father (died in Sands of Time), a giant Colossus, himself or Bruce Campbell then I’ll be surprised by the final boss… maybe.
- The game promises a mix of classic and new traps and obstacles to overcome, which hopefully is going to be as cool as it sounds.
- Promised new gameplay mechanics will also pop up, again taking advantage of the duality of the Prince and his “Torque Smash” counterpart, including combat styles that are unique to each.
- New puzzles to pit your brain against are promised, totaling 10 or so… what? Only 10 or so! Cheap!
- Oh, and they also rip off Shadow of Rome by adding Chariot race sequences (for escape or pursuit throughout the streets of Babylon)… and no, Charlton Heston will not make a surprise appearance.
I guess that’s OK just as long as the Prince isn’t chariot-jacking his ride ala Grand Theft Auto III slash Vice City slash San Andreas. Though I guess to further irritate the fans they could add a location where the Prince can pimp out his ride… but after Warrior Within I don’t think UbiSoft is going to piss off fans anymore by adding things guaranteed to make fans “angry”… fans angry, fans smash!
In the end, when it’s all said and done, the game has abit to overcome.
After Warrior Within and the rather disappointing outcome from that UbiSoft is going to have to swing hard to take Two Thrones over the fence to score a homerun with fans who were not so enamored with the previous outing offered by them. Still what they offer above does sound good, and if the game is as hot as the images I’ve seen so far (tossing the things that lagged from Warrior Within and not adding new things that’ll chase players away) we might have a winner on our hands.
Still, with a promise of only 12 to 15 hours of gameplay and 10 or so puzzles to work through I’m kind of bummed from the word go on this. I guess only the actual release itself will remove any concerns I have about this, but that is something for my full review in the near future. Stay tuned.
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