The final game in the series delivers a more rounded experience than the previous stab, Warrior Within and provides some insane acrobatic moments that are balanced by frenetic fighting and even some non-mandatory stealth.
The Prince has conquered the Island of Time, freed the Empress Kaileena and generally won the day. Its back home to Babylon for a well deserved rest - only when he gets there his beloved city is in flames and his dear Kaileena gets kidnapped. This forces the Prince to once again battle to save a woman he loves.
Hey what about Farah? (Relax, she's in it, but shhh - I'm not telling you any more)
Without going into too much of the story, something happens to Kaileena and the Sands of Time are unleashed once more. An old enemy from the Prince's past returns with the Dagger of Time and begins a cycle of events that changes our hero somewhat. The Dark Prince is born from the immersion of our Prince in the cataclysm as the Sands are released.
Essentially you have some common styles that are blended into the new game, taken from Warrior Within and even the racing game: Burnout. There are a number of new moves that both the Prince and his alter ego: The Dark Prince can pull off and they take into account each of the warrior's separate abilities.
The Prince: he's the true elegant fighter and he takes advantage of the overhauled freeform fighting system, while he can also combine his battle tactics with advanced combos and acrobatic tom-foolery unseen in the previous games.
There's now a quick-kill system that gives a visual indication if you are unseen by blurring the screen around the edges. A quick tap of the button and you launch into a timed-button pressing sequence that will slay any enemy as long as you press the right button while the Prince's dagger is glimmering.
The usual two-weapon combat is back and along with the ability to steal enemy weapons the Prince gains the usual mix of exotic powers, similar to the previous games.
The gameplay has been changed for this game and the level of puzzles is similar now to the first game, with less combat in places and boss fights are often puzzle orientated requiring you to think about how to tackle some large opponents, get it right and you'll be given a visual indication again similar to the stealth indicator and the Dagger of Time will shimmer blue.
There are a number of new acrobatic moves that the Prince and his alter-ego are capable of, the Prince can use his dagger to stab certain wall sections and hang while the Dark Prince uses his chain-weapon to swing Indiana Jones style from hanging lamps and poles.
There are now springboards that must be jumped on precisely to hurl you to another section, and even a few new climbing moves. Fortunately all of this is introduced as you play the game via tutorial sections so you are never truly at a loss.
The Dark Prince has his extremely versatile chain-weapon and that has a variety of combat moves, he bleeds health however at an alarming rate and his sections force you to fight far more than in the previous games. Fortunately the enemies are very rarely a match for such a powerful character and there's always plenty of sand to restore his health.
The Chariot sections are an interesting addition but I felt as though they could have been added at the last moment, they were fun to play but since there seem to be really only two - they seem like an addition for cool rather than anything else. The way they play reminds me of Burnout and they are brutally hard if you make one mistake, you're pretty much toast.
As with all PoP games you can use the dagger to rewind time however sand is limited and the price of failure, is a restart. The save points are few and far between at times and sometimes they're all over the place, which makes it tricky to pick up and play the game when you just want a quick run/hack and slash time.
There's something that scares me about the designers of the PoP games, the levels are extremely complex and in this game there's some true works of art. The puzzles and acrobatic sections are worthy of nail-biting and hair-pulling but the sense of satisfaction from completing them more than makes up for it.
One of the best looking PoP games to date, this one really has shown the engine's maturity over time. The use of lighting and subtle shadow effects brings to life the ruined city of Babylon before your eyes and some of the views when combined with the excellent Level Design are truly breathtaking. The textures on the models and the level of animation are all excellent, especially when you see the Prince/Dark Prince in action in combat; they have been fine-tuned from the previous games and show that the design has also matured into a grittier and darker direction.
This is where it falls down; the camera is a lot better than the previous games but still suffers from some annoying problems. Especially in combat when your life is on the line, a switching angle can obscure the fight at the wrong time and cause you to lose the battle. There are a number of fixed camera angles in certain acrobatic sections that leave you wondering where to go and having a non-locked fully moveable camera would have solved this problem.
Simple AI, that's about the best I can say about this game. It doesn't really need to be complex it seems, so the combat AI in the game is rudimentary at best and seems like a step backwards compared to the last couple. It does the job and nothing more, thus the battles don't seem as tactical or exciting as they could be.
Two Thrones has nice sound. The ambient sound effects and the spot sound effects are all crisp, clean and provide an impressive aural backdrop to the game. The clash of steel and the screams/cries of battle are all well rendered and there isn't a glitch in sight.
The soundtrack to Warrior Within kind of annoyed me after a while, there's only so much Godsmack I can take on replays through and through of the annoying Dahaka sections in that game. So I am happy to report that musically things are very much back to sounding like Sands of Time in this game. The score is suitably dramatic and sweeping; it compliments the sound effects and graphics nicely.
Apart from a few badly written lines the actual voice acting in Two Thrones is pretty good, they have made the Prince a lot more mature than the previous games and given his voice actor a chance to try out a new darker side as the Dark Prince. The script isn't too bad apart from a few places, and all the Voice Actors have done a pretty good job with it. I have always been fond of Farah so it's nice to see she makes reappearance in the game and her voice-work is top notch.
We've come a long way in such a really short time with this series and it is going to be sad to see it end. There will probably be another Prince of Persia game down the line but I doubt they will use the Prince as his story is wrapped up quite nicely at the end of the game, it made me smile when I saw it and I have to admit it felt worth-while going through the game to the end to get there.
It's a flawed gem in the crown of a similar semi-flawed series of games, as a single game it is probably the best of the three. As a whole series the games are the best of their genre and have provided an elegant story with a fantastic conclusion. Now if they'd have sorted out the camera system and AI, this game would have scored much higher than it did.