Platform Gamecube
Playstation 2
Xbox
PC
Release Date NA: December 1, 2005
EU: December 2, 2005
Developer Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher Ubisoft Entertainment
ESRB M - Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity
The blood, gore, and violence are all very prevalent. As for nudity, one of the characters wears nothing but a really long silk scarf, another wears a miniskirt, and there are some underdressed enemies.

Description:
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (PoP:TTT) is the third in a series, following Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. It reveals the Prince's eventual return to his home of Babylon. When all is said and done, PoP:TTT is definitely more than the sum of its parts, bringing the Le Parkour-style acrobatics from the first and the free-form combat introduced in the second together, and adding a new Speed Kill system. Altogether a completely fulfilling experience.

Distinguishing Features:
Speed Kills: A new mechanic introduced for PoP: TTT. If the Prince sneaks up on an enemy, a gold border will appear around the screen. If the player then hits the Secondary Attack, the Prince springs up and executes the enemy through a sequence of timed button presses. The number of presses needed varies from enemy to enemy, some requiring only one, all the way up to five(!). The timing also varies; the Prince has several random animations to use when attacking. Mistiming or failing to hit the attack button at all results in a failure. The enemy then throws the Prince or boots him in the chest, and the player is forced to take on the enemy face to face. There is also a two-enemy speed kill, where the Prince leaps from enemy to enemy. Lastly, all the bosses have custom speed kills, needed to finish off the boss or deal a large amount of damage with no risk.

Dark Prince: Due to the Prince's increased, prolonged exposure to the Sands of Time, they have infected him and he now turns into the Dark Prince, though not of his own control. The Dark Prince also manifests as a voice inside the Prince's head (more on this later). The Dark Prince is awakened when Mahasti, a chain-wielding general under the Vizier, attacks the Prince and is subsequently swept into a vortex of Sands. However, the chain remains embedded in the Prince's forearm. After changing into the Dark Prince, your secondary weapon becomes a long bladed chain whip known as the Daggertail, and you get access to a completely different set of combos. The Speed Kills also become a button-mashing contest, trying to overcome the enemy's strength.

Shutters: In addition to the wall-running, rope-swinging, and ledge-climbing, a new mechanic has been added: window shutters. They are always reached by running along a wall, and once the Prince reaches one, jumping from it will launch him across gaps completely unreachable by other means. Further along in the game, you will reach multiple shutter jumps, letting the Prince jump from three different buildings around corners. Speed kills can also be activated from shutters, letting the Prince cover ground at some very impressive speeds. Enemies turn their back for a moment, and suddenly you have covered two city blocks in the four seconds he was looking the other way.

Short Review:
Let us say that Sands of Time has an awesome value of 1, and that Warrior Within also has an awesome value of 1. Adding Sands of Time to WW should then mean that TTT has an awesome value of two, right? Wrong. The Two Thrones is probably equal to a 4 or 5. You might not want to think about that metaphor too much.

Long Review (Spoiler Free!):
Since I got the game, I have played it through, start to finish, three different times. Keep in mind, not only do I have World of Warcrack, I also have two roommates and a girlfriend who also play WoW. Yet somehow, I go take a break, and a half hour later I'm running across rooftops and stabbing sand demons in the face.

Story:
As far as the story goes: The Prince is finally returning home from the Island Of Time, with Kaileena in tow. When he sails into the harbor, he finds all of Babylon aflame, and suddenly realizes that since he got rid of the Sands, the Vizier is alive and well, and has made a grab for the throne. A catapult then sinks his ship, Kaileena is washed ashore and captured by the Vizier's troops, and the Prince finds himself in the middle of a burning city with nothing but a discarded scimitar. Heroics ensue.

The narrative as a whole from SoT to WW to TTT is neatly wrapped up:

One can view the entire Sands of Time trilogy now as a coming-of-age story, redemption through acceptance and eventually growing up. Warrior Within represents the Prince's angst-ridden adolescence, full of misdirected rage and charmless anger. If Sands of Time was a story of the innocence of youth, The Two Thrones is a story of reconciliation, of a man growing up, accepting responsibility for his mistakes and becoming whole again.

(from slashdot.org)

The voice acting is fantastic. During levels, the Prince has arguments with his dark counterpart, resulting in some really funny, almost schizoid commentary on the new situation. The Dark Prince is a reflection of the self the Prince found during Warrior Within, and is always trying to get him to ignore the plights of the Prince's subjects and exact revenge on the Vizier for attacking the city. Their conversations range from the pitfalls of courting the fairer sex, to the meaning of being a warrior, to out-and-out taunting matches. His arguments with a certain someone from his past are also something to watch for.

The animation style is somewhere in between the smooth fluidity of the first and the gritty blocks of the second. Also of note is that the animators didn't use any motion capture at all for anything. While this does sometimes give it a slight cartoon feel, the combat and puzzle sequences become a bit more impressive in that regard.

Gameplay:
The developers at Ubisoft have been building these levels for two years now, and it really shows. The focus now is less of slowly jumping from place to place and looking where to go next, and more of seeing a long chain of wall runs and triangle jumps and performing it in one shot. It is possible to reach that gamer's high and begin intuitively performing the stunts; I remember multiple occasions where my hands would get ahead of my mind, and I'd find myself at the end of a chamber with no clear way to explain how I did it.

If you lack patience for bad level design (like myself) or are a frequenter of gamefaqs.com, fear not. All it takes is looking up and around for familiar elements. Even if you only find one, once you get to it, you see the next three, and the next part of the level. If you can't see one, start running around and up and down things; you're bound to see it eventually.

The Dark Prince and Light Prince play fairly differently; the Light Prince is the standard fare from the first two, and the Dark Prince plays like if the Light Prince took lessons from Kratos from God of War.

The only real gripes come in with two things: The chariot fights, and the ring of fire. The Prince must take a chariot across town a couple times while fighting off other chariots and foot soldiers. The chariot controls are a little loose, and you will probably use up most of your sand tanks getting through them. The ring of fire is hard to finish, even on easy, and will take you anywhere from a half hour to an hour and a half (like me) to complete successfully. You will see what I mean when you get there.

Other Things To Note:
Just from reading the information on this, I'm getting that urge to go play it again. Successfully clearing a series of platforms and walls and speed kills and realizing you did it without getting hit or really even slowing down is a rush I haven't gotten from a lot of other games these days. If you really can't be bothered to own it, do yourself a favor and rent it. The quality of storytelling across the whole Sands of Time trilogy is on a level that we gamers should be holding all other companies to. Besides, once you get most of it memorized, you can impress roommates and friends alike with your m4d sk1lls. It's too bad they haven't come up with a multiplayer version of this yet.

Final Verdict:
I plunked down the cash for it, because now I own the entire series. If you aren't much of a collector, or know you won't play it again (malarkey!), then rent it. Depending on your skill level, you might need to rent it twice.

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