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Prince of Persia Rival Swords
March 2007

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Prince of Persia Rival Swords
Written by James Hobbs

Prince of Persia is one of those franchises that is rabidly loved by it's fans, which must put a certain amount of pressure on Ubisoft to get it right. Rival Swords is essentially a port of the previous Two Thrones game, albeit adapted to suit Wii's control system - the onus is definitely on the developers to make it worth purchasing if you've played the game before.

The game revolves around the Prince's return to his homeland of Babylon - he arrives to find it ravaged by war, and discovers his girlfriend, the rather enticingly named 'Empress of Time', has been kidnapped. As the game progresses the Prince finds himself an outcast, gradually becoming possessed by the Sands of Time.

Of course, all of that is largely peripheral to some extent - it's an excuse for lots of larking about on high rooftops and swordplay. The Wii incarnation of the game does seem to utilise the Wii remote rather a lot, from running around to choking enemies to death with a chain, but it is difficult to say how well the controls will work until we actually get a hands-on with the game. Certainly Ubisoft have proven they can get the controls right with games like Rayman - there really isn't any excuse for any major control issues. Gesticulation-based control only really seems to come into play when fighting enemies, which should mean that you can relax and sit back if you're exploring or traversing environments without having to worry about constantly pointing at the screen - this is certainly a plus for a platform game.

The Sands of Time not only possess the prince, providing a schizoid alter-ego - they can also be used to manipulate time, in what sounds like one of the more alluring features of the game. The ability to take on entire armies by slowing down and rewinding time is promised, as well as some other temporal tricks that have not yet been disclosed. As much of the game seems to revolve around the Prince being a fugitive, this lack of temporal verisimilitude should prove to me more than just a gimmick, providing a vital dynamic if the player is to survive.

Visually the game appears to be very similar to the GameCube version of Two Thrones, which would make sense for the developers - it's unclear yet whether or not it has received a slight Wii makeover. Thematically the game looks as you would expect - lots of Aladdin-style buildings, ledges, and dungeons, with appropriately rendered foes and environments. The animation has always been a strong point in Prince of Persia games, even from the very first title back in the late 80s - certainly the visual style of the game should not prove to be a problem.

If we manage to get a hands-on with Prince of Persia before it's released, we'll bring you a massive preview detailing how we get on. Prince of Persia Rival Swords is released at the end of March.

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