Review: Prince of Persia Rival Swords
Posted 17 Oct 2008 at 19:39 by Derek Wheatley
|"The Dark Prince offers some humorous moments as his voice taunts you and converses with the Prince as you progress."|
There is a chance that people may recognise this game, which comes as no surprise as it was released in 2005 under the name The Two Thrones on the Playstation 2, Xbox, PC and Gamecube. Personally I have not played the second game, Warrior Within, having only played the original Sands of Time. Perhaps I should have played the second and not the first, because the events that occurred in WW prevent the original game from ever happening. This means your main baddie, the Vizier never died and is back again to make your life miserable once more.
The story begins as the Prince returns from the Island of Time with Kaileena, the Empress of Time following the events of WW. As the pair return to the Prince's home Babylon the city is ravaged by war, and some flaming arrows and a flaming ball shatter the Prince's ship, leading to Kaileena being kidnapped.
The gameplay has not changed much since SoT, the Sands of Time and the Dagger of Time have returned for you to rewind those little mistakes and slow down time to destroy all enemies on the screen. However a few tweaks have been added to give it a flavour of variety, such as being able to pick up an enemies weapon to use, which comes with an 'energy meter' until it breaks. Another example is the ability to jump at a 45 degree angle when jumping from certain shutters on the walls the Prince runs along. Chariot 'levels' give you the opportunity for change as you ride a... chariot. Occasionally you have an enemy jump onto your chariot and you must give him a well placed sword thrust for trespassing. A more satisfying moment is had when a chariot driven by enemies appears, and you can ram them against the walls to make way for yourself when going through a tunnel wide enough for one. Sadly there are only two chariot moments in the game.
Perhaps the biggest change to the gameplay is the addition of the Dark Prince, an alter ego whom you change into at certain moments; the changes are not optional and cannot be instigated by the player. This adds a fresh element of combat as the Dark Prince wields a new weapon called a 'Dagger-tail', which looks like a whip with parts of a blade, which can be used in close combat, as well as a grappling hook to make those wall running moments last that little bit longer. Strangely enough is that the Dark Prince's health is not that of the Prince's, but is actually the meter for the sands of time, so constant refills are needed to keep you alive. This is not as hard as it sounds as all enemies you encounter and destroy as the Dark Prince leave some behind to replenish your health. The change ends when the Prince comes in contact with water. The Dark Prince offers some humorous moments as his voice taunts you and converses with the Prince as you progress.
As being on the Wii, you can expect the combat involves moving the Wii remote and nunchuk like a sword and dagger, however there are so many combinations (over 35 as the Prince alone), you may find yourself swinging the remote and nunchuk wildly regardless. The camera is controlled either using the D-pad or tilting the Wii remote left or right. This proves annoying as you have to hold the Wii remote as flat as a pancake all the time, and when you are fighting multiple enemies and swinging your sword and dagger, keeping it level is not a priority, which leads to some frantic movements.
The same also applies to the new speed kill system. If an enemy has not spotted the Prince, you can sneak behind them, the screen edges will blur and with a flick of the nunchuk enters speed kill mode. The Prince will jump on the enemy and with prompted flicks of the remote it is a swift elimination, however if you are moving the remote for any other reason as the Prince moves about the enemy will grab the Prince, throw him away and you enter normal combat.
The game seems to be almost a direct port from the PS2 version Two Thrones, so the graphics look a little bit dated and not making full use of the Wii's potential. The presentation is appropriate of the times, with pots and buldings all around almost looking like Agrabah from Aladdin with all the beige buildings, but it does mean the environments look all the same after a while.
The music does not seem all that different from the previous games, coming at you with an Arabian feel, picking up with an epic sense during battles. Fans of the previous games will probably find this game more enjoyable than new timers, who would probably be better suited to playing the first two. Even with the addition of a few new weapons, chariots and even the Dark Prince, it is still the same wall jumping, trap dodging and time rewinding game we all know.
All in all it's a nice package, clocking in at around 15-20 hours, possibly more if you enjoy rewinding time alot. The added elements offer a fresh experience on the once 'revolutionary' Sands of Time. The banter between the Prince and Dark Prince gives some comic relief when it happens due to the Dark Prince baiting the Prince when they have a conversation in "their minds". If you enjoyed the previous two games then you shouldn't be disappointed with what Rival Swords provides, and if you get it as part of the two for £30 at Argos, it's a bargain also.
N-Europe Final Verdict
It is a short game, clocking up around 10 hours, but that does not detract from the enjoyment, which at times is sad to say, repetitive.
Familiar format, doesn't deviate from the original gameplay from the previous two games
Added gameplay elements, stealth kill, diagonal wall jumping and weapon selections.
The Dark Prince keeps the action from going a bit stale with the added controls
Mandatory flat holding of the Wii remote. Very aggrivating.
Too many pointless attack combos.