Prince of Persia 2 is a good game in spite of the fact that the developer tried to ruin it. It’s like they did their best to burn the entire thing to the ground, but enough of the foundation remains that it’s still recognizable. What that means is that the fundamentals of the first game are so good they can withstand being covered in layers of disgusting music, hack writing and monotonous combat.
The clever, quick witted prince with the heart of gold has been removed. In his place is a cookie cutter brooding tough guy with zero personality and a handful of poorly written and often repeated one liners. I remember the comic book industry went through a similar phase in the early nineties. The success of books like Spawn lead publishers to believe that kids wanted dark anti-heroes. This lead to the creation of some of the worst comic book characters in the history of the world. Not only that but existing characters where retooled to be darker and more mysterious. For God’s sake they gave Super Man a black suit and I think for a few years Captain America’s shield drank human blood. Darker isn’t always better, especially when you’ve already got a character that people love.
The Prince isn’t the only character who will ceaselessly bombard you with shitty dialogue. No, you can expect the same treatment from just about every poorly conceived enemy you encounter. The “Balde Dancers” apparently quit their jobs as phone sex operators but can’t quite give up the lingo. They’ll comment on how they “like you in this position” or how much “pleasure there is in pain”. I’ve actually had to mute my television during some battles just to keep from throwing my chair through it. The best line is probably from the Time Bitch who appears in today’s comic strip. During her fights she says “I grow tired of this!” I actually responded out loud to her on multiple occasions, “Yeah, me too lady!”
I guess people complained about the combat in the first game not being deep enough. They even said the final boss was too easy. These people didn’t understand the game. Your enemy in the first game was the environment. You were battling against puzzles not monsters. The actual combat was there as a breather to give you a rest between puzzles. The final boss wasn’t even the vizier it was navigating the last level without your sword. The level was the boss, not the guy at the end. So now they’ve beefed up the combat and they make you fight all the time. So they listened to the people who didn’t like their game and totally fucked those of us who loved it. Thanks Ubi, you know a lot of people really hate all the sneaking around in Splinter Cell. Why don’t you give Sam a dual Uzis and a rocket launcher?
The game is still a good platformer despite Ubi’s best efforts to destroy it. It’s just sad to see a game that had so much potential ruined like this. My only hope is that since the series deals with time lines we haven’t seen the end of the Prince from Sands of Time. I’m not finished with Warrior Within yet but I’m praying that as the story implies he’ll die at the end.