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May 2 2007
Prince of Persia: Rival Swords - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
5/4/2007UbisoftUbisoftPipeworks Software
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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Watch out for the blade ahead.
Rewind back to December of 2005. You may remember a particular game by the name of Prince of Persia: Revelations. You may also remember the amazingly glorifying review that Dave gave the game. You see, Prince of Persia: Revelations was, to quote Dave's review, "utter disappointment". No surprise then that he didnít particularly seem too keen on playing the newest episode of the Princeís somewhat volatile story to reach PSP, Prince of Persia: Rival Swords. And so I enter, happy to take over that task. Do I regret that decision? Read on to find out!

Letís get one thing straight Ė Iím no big fan of the series. I loved the original Prince of Persia game, back when the entire game was purple and black and you had to know how to get through MS-Dos to run it. I donít think the latest releases have been that amazing. True, I havenít actually played through them all start to finish, but I have played a fair amount of what has been churned out in recent years. So it was a bit of a disappointment when I realised that this release was actually a ported version of the PS2 title, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, rather than a new game. Oh well, at least they picked the one I have played least of out of the trilogy. As a lot of the game play and plot elements are basically identical to the PS2 release, Iím going to copy and paste a bit here from Daveís preview of that title (with, of course, Daveís permission).

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Riding in the chariot.
The Prince of Persia, a seasoned warrior, returns from the Island of Time to Babylon with his love Kaileena. Instead of the peace that he longs for, he finds his homeland ravaged by war and the kingdom turned against him. The Prince is rapidly captured and Kaileena has no choice but to sacrifice herself and unleash the Sands of Time in order to save him. Now cast to the streets and hunted as a fugitive, the Prince soon discovers that past battles have given rise to a deadly Dark Prince, whose spirit gradually possesses him...

Yet again this is a third person action adventure title. During this game however you control two master warriors with different combat styles, attitudes, and histories. Two warriors you ask? Well yes, you see you now get to control a light prince and a dark prince. Combat comes in two different forms. The first is the Free-Form fighting system which was used in previous titles. The Dark Prince is able to use a dagger as well as a large weapon on a chain called the Daggertail, which is not too dissimilar from Kratos' weapon in God of War. This weapon can be used to strangle enemies from afar, or act as a shield. The Light Prince has his normal weapons including swords.

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Now that's a battle - to the death.
The second form of combat is the all new Speed Kill system. This system sees gamers having to find a path which allows them to sneak up and surprise the enemies. When you have discovered this path you may then perform a quick kill and avoid a lengthy combat sequence. Time is of the essence however as attacking an enemy while another enemy soldier is looking at him will alert them to your presence. Mastering these stealth kills is a must for anyone hoping to get through the game with minimal hair-pulling moments.

One of the many additional extras included in this port of the game is a multiplayer mode. How I hear you ask? Well, basically you can take on a friend (ad-hoc only, not online play) in a few special levels where the idea is to beat your opponent to the goal. While competing you can slow your enemy down by setting traps, flicking switches, etc. Itís a welcome addition, but itís nothing groundbreaking.

So, I hear you ask, does this recent addition to the Prince chronicles do better than the last outing on PSP? Well the good news is, yes, it certainly does. Daveís biggest complaint with Revelations was the ridiculously annoying loading that took place almost every step of the way. Thankfully, outside of loading new areas in the games, there is very little in the way of load-times to be experienced here. Actual game play is quite smooth, except for the occasional slowdown when a lot is happening on-screen.

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Plenty of platforming action.
Actually, to be honest, thereís little to complain about with this release. Sure, it offers nothing of any real value to fans of the series that have already played The Two Thrones, but it is a nice port to the PSP system. My only real complaint, and this is entirely relative to who is playing the game, is that it seems to go from being very easy, to quite difficult, and vice versa all the time. That being said, any fan of the series is going to be right at home with this element.

Graphically, this release is quite an upgrade from POP: Revelations, and while it is still a long way from the PS2 title, it is quite a pleasure to watch the Prince at work in the many environmental puzzles that you will come across. Once again animation is very solid, and character models are quite detailed as far as the PSP goes. Also, CG cut-scenes have been largely improved since Revelations. Not a top-range outing, but quite a treat-for-the-eyes game nonetheless.

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More platform action.
Likewise, while audio isnít going to make you wish your PSP had full-blown surround sound capabilities, itís far from horrid. Voice acting is once again quite decent, and the soundtrack is made up of many very fitting tracks. Unfortunately there is a glitch where sometimes sound effects will actually not play, making for some odd scenarios aurally, but itís nothing horrifying.

Honestly, I think Dave gave himself the wrong end of the stick here Ė having to review Revelations then missing out on this title. Prince of Persia: Rival Swords is certainly not the best game the system has seen to date, but itís far from the worst. Fans of the series will be right at home but may feel like they are playing the same game over again, while newcomers will be a little confused by the plot but will be able to enter the series quite easily. A solid effort this time around.

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICSCertainly not a strain on the PSPís hardware, but it looks nice and animation is quite decent.
SOUNDimproved over Revelations, but still a little glitch at times.
GAMEPLAYMostly identical to the PS2 release Ė and what fans have come to expect; a solid outing for the Prince.
VALUELittle more in-game content than the PS2 release, multiplayer isnít bad, but wonít bring you back to the game more than a few times.
OVERALLThis is a decent title for anyone who hasnít yet experienced the franchise, but itís not going to be one of those games we remember in years to come.

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