Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
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|Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones|
NTSC cover art
|Writer(s)||Corey G. May
|Series||Prince of Persia|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
Wii & PSP
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, Platform, hack and slash|
|Distribution||CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Nintendo optical disc, UMD|
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Ubisoft Montreal. It was released in December, 2005 in North America for the Xbox, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, and the Nintendo GameCube. It was ported to the PlayStation Portable and Wii, under the title Prince of Persia: Rival Swords with the Wii version utilizing the motion-sensing functionality of its controller, while the PSP version added exclusive content. A remastered, high-definition, version of The Two Thrones was released on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 on December 21, 2010.
The game follows the second ending of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, in which the Prince kills the Dahaka, saves Kaileena, and prevents the Sands of Time from being created. The Prince's actions alter the timeline of events that took place in both Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. However, the Prince's memories have not been modified, and he still remembers the events from the first two games.
In the original timeline, the Vizier and Maharajah traveled to the Island of Time and found an hourglass filled with the Sands of Time. In the modified timeline, they find the hourglass empty and return to Babylon. Since the Vizier never released the Sands of Time and fought the Prince, he is still alive at the beginning of this game. Farah, who helped the Prince during the events of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, has never met the Prince.
After the events of the previous game, the Prince and Kaileena return to Babylon. As the Prince's vessel nears the shores of the city, he removes the medallion from his chestplate and drops it into the sea. Upon returning to Babylon, he is horrified to find that the city is currently being ravaged by war. His ship is attacked and he and Kaileena are thrown overboard, with Kaileena taken prisoner after drifting ashore. He then tries to rescue Kaileena, but ultimately finds his old enemy the Vizier once again alive and is held prisoner while the Vizier kills Kaileena with the Dagger of Time, unleashing the Sands of Time once more and taking them into the Dagger. The Vizier then impales himself with the Dagger, making himself immortal. The Prince is also affected, having a whip-like weapon known as a Daggertail embedded in his skin when the Sands infect the wound. However in the confusion of his transformation the Vizier drops the Dagger and the Prince manages to steal it and escape before he is totally infected by the Sands.
Through mischance during his escape, the Prince finds himself cast into the sewers and carried to the outskirts of Babylon. As the Prince travels through the city once again to kill the Vizier, he realizes that by taking Kaileena from the Island of Time, his adventures in Azad never happened, thus, he never killed the Vizier. He also finds that his infection by the Sands of Time have affected his mind. He has essentially been split into two personalities: one which, for the most part, strives to do good, although is fueled by vengeance, and the Dark Prince (voiced by Rick Miller), manifested by an internal voice that speaks to the Prince. The Dark Prince is cold, cruel, arrogant, and sarcastic, and attempts to convince the Prince that they are the same person, and that the Prince should strive to serve only himself, using the Prince's vengeance as a catalyst for his other emotions. On many occasions, the Dark Prince seizes control of the Prince's body and the Prince is fully transformed into a kind of hybrid sand monster with abilities that allow the Prince to pass otherwise insurmountable obstacles.
While searching for the Vizier, the Prince encounters Farah (voiced by Helen King), who does not remember him, and is surprised that the Prince knows her name. Despite this, the pair begin to grow an entirely new romance together. The Prince eventually starts to ignore the Dark Prince, and begins to fight against the suffering of his people, which the Dark Prince had always spoken against. When the Prince finally confronts the Vizier, the Vizier captures Farah and casts the Prince into an ancient well, where the long silent Dark Prince emerges once again and tries to take permanent control. The Prince desperately tries to resist the Dark Prince, driving slowly deeper into the well looking for an escape, but he slowly weakens. At the very bottom of the well the Prince finds his father's dead body and the Dark Prince mocks the Prince in another attempt at control, but instead the Prince accepts the consequences of what he has done, thus silencing the Dark Prince and regaining full control of himself.
Armed with his father's sword, the Prince escapes the well, and once again confronts the Vizier and kills him with a stab to the heart with the Dagger of Time. The Sands of Time released from the dead Vizier slowly takes the shape of Kaileena and she cleanses the Prince of his infection by the Sands of Time, and all his wounds. As the Prince leans down to reach for his father's crown, which the Vizier had worn, he is confronted by the Dark Prince, who draws the Prince into his mind, where the two struggle for control, ending with the Dark Prince perishing. The Prince then awakens in Farah's embrace. As the two look over the land, Farah questions exactly how the Prince knew her name. He replies,
"Most people think time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you, they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I really am, and why I say this. Come, and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard."
This is the same line the Prince narrates at the beginning of the first game of the trilogy, indicating that the entire trilogy has been the Prince telling Farah the story of his adventures and as he begins speaking the camera zooms out over the kingdom. The view continues to zoom out until it passes through the eye of the Prince as he runs through the jungle from the beginning of the first game.
- The Prince: His name never explicitly stated, the Prince is the protagonist of the Prince of Persia franchise. Though his personality and appearance have varied over time, he is never without his trademark athletic, acrobatic, and swordsmanship skills.
- Kaileena: Kaileena is a powerful and mysterious woman who ruled over the Island of Time as its Empress. The Prince brings her to Babylon after their faceoff with Dahaka(instrument of fate summoned whenever the chain of destiny is broken) and the Vizier seeks her for her involvement in the Sands of Time's creation.
- Farah: Farah is an Indian princess and is the daughter of the Maharajah. She crosses paths with the Prince on numerous occasions and aids him throughout his adventures (where they develop romantic feelings towards each other).
- Sharaman: Sharaman is the king of Persia and father of the Prince in the Sands of Time trilogy. A renowned warrior and respected leader, many admire him, especially the Prince.
- Vizier: The Vizier is a black-hearted government minister suffering with imminent death from tuberculosis (which he calls "consumption") which robbed him of his youth; thus he has grand plans to claim eternal life.He has the thirst for the power of sands of time since the start of the trilogy up until the very end.
The game combines exploration and combat. Both elements make use of the Prince's acrobatic capability and agility. Throughout much of the game, the player must attempt to traverse the palace by running across walls, ascending or descending chasms by jumping back and forth between walls, avoiding traps, climbing structures and jumping from platform to platform, making other types of well-timed leaps, solving puzzles and using discovered objects to progress.
During combat, many of the same moves vital to the player in other situations can be put to use to overpower enemies. An example is the ability of the Prince to jump off walls in order to strike enemies decisively. The player generally attacks enemies and blocks using a dagger, although other objects or factors, such as the Dagger of Time and its time-control abilities eventually prove to be critical to victory.
In The Two Thrones, the Prince's acrobatic skills have improved and is now able to launch himself off walls at 45 degree angles at strategically placed vertical shutters, slide down chutes and balance on swinging poles, among other things. The designers have also improved the stealth system. Instead of merely being able to do more damage when striking without being seen, the game uses a speed-kill system. If the player does not complete the speed kill, the enemy knocks him off and the speed kill fails. The amount of moves or the length of time required depends on how strong the opponents are. The same system is also used in some of the boss battles.
The Prince also develops a split personality, known as the Dark Prince, and this alter-ego constantly bickers with him in his mind about right and wrong. At times, the Prince physically transforms into the Dark Prince. These transformations are scripted and not controlled by the player. During these times, however, the Prince retains control of his body, and the player still has control over the character. For the most part, the Prince's dark side is simply an inner voice.
When controlling the Dark Prince, the player loses the ability to wield a secondary weapon, instead using the "Daggertail", a bladed whip fused to his arm. This allows medium range combat moves and new interactions with the environment. The Dark Prince also constantly loses health as a result of the semi-transformation, with eventual death from the loss. He goes back to full health whenever he collects Sand, from either a monster or object. Also, his Daggertail gives him a different button combination for speed kills, in which he strangles his victims. Coming into contact with water allows the Prince to return to normal.
Development and production
The developers of The Two Thrones stated that they were aiming to make the game an equal blend of Ubisoft's two previous Prince of Persia titles. The first game, The Sands of Time, was relatively light in mood, while the second, Warrior Within, was significantly darker.
The working title of the game' was Kindred Blades. Previews of Kindred Blades show that it had a different story and a darker tone, more like Warrior Within. Many changes to lighting and features such as mutilation and the presence of the medallion from Warrior Within. In the story, the Prince is in a Babylon under siege with Kaileena. The Empress of Time is killed to release the sand and help the Prince, but at that moment the Prince was not wearing the medallion and is infected by the sands of time, creating the dark prince, who had a different appearance; with white hair, bright eyes and fair skin. Unlike in The Two Thrones, the Dark Prince did not lose health and the player could become the dark prince at will. The presence of Farah was not confirmed.
Yuri Lowenthal was confirmed to reprise his role as the voice actor for the Prince. The Dark Prince was voiced by Rick Miller. Stuart Chatwood and Inon Zur, the composers from Warrior Within, both returned to compose the game's score, which has been described as "having Persian influences, but being much more epic than Sands of Time".
Many official videos were released involving humor, such as the bloopers of the mechanics (in a pre-rendered format) and "real-life" training.
The game and Rival Swords have received positive to mixed reviews. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 86.45% and 85 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version; 86.35% and 85 out of 100 for the Xbox version; 85.25% and 84 out of 100 for the GameCube version; 82.81% and 85 out of 100 for the PC version; 82.40% for the mobile version; 71.22% and 70 out of 100 for the Wii version; and 70.44% and 74 out of 100 for the PSP version.
IGN gave the PC version 9 out of 10, saying, "Two Thrones is great. The story is cool, the heroes are likable, the weak are pitiable, the villains are bastards, the major plot points are exciting, the art is grand, the sound is wonderful...and then the gameplay comes." GameSpy gave it four stars on all platforms except the PSP and Wii versions, saying of the PC version, "All of [the] settings, without exception, are stunning. As might be expected, the sharper, more detailed graphics for the PC version of the game are the clear winner when compared with the consoles, especially at higher resolutions." GameSpot gave the PC version 8.4 out of 10.
Non video-game publications gave the game some positive reviews. The A.V. Club gave the game an A− and stated: "The nice thing about sequels to successful games is that all the rough edges are buffed out, and The Two Thrones honors its graceful hero with impeccable controls and design." Maxim gave it a score of eight out of ten and said that the game "gets points for cribbing Sam Fisher's stealth skills and using a whip-like weapon that will send "God of War" fans scurrying to gaming chat rooms to voice their displeasure with the similarities. Thankfully, the controversy is worth it for this energetic adventure." The Times gave it a favorable review and said, "The graphics are superb, especially on the Xbox, and if you can cope with the frustration of replaying tricky scenes again and again, this could be the game for you." The Sydney Morning Herald also gave it four stars out of five and stated that "One of the best new features is the Speed Kill, a stealth attack that requires timed button presses for successful take-downs - a brilliant addition to the already exhilarating game play." Detroit Free Press gave the PS2 version three stars out of four and said, "The fighting in The Two Thrones is superb. The prince has a nice array of combination moves that accompany his acrobatic skills. But the signature part of combat is the speed kill, which allows you some nifty and gruesome stealth kills." However, Charles Herold of The New York Times gave it an average review and stated that "I felt all the considerable pleasure the game had given me had been taken back."
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- Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones at Ubisoft
- Prince of Persia: Rival Swords at Ubisoft
- Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones at MobyGames