Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones [Mac] full review

Released on other platforms in 2005, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones has finally arrived for the Mac. Despite the delay, it’s still an entertaining (if technically flawed) new chapter in a franchise as old as Mac gaming.

The original Prince of Persia debuted in 1989 for the Apple II. The Two Thrones is the third installment of the second Prince of Persia trilogy that until now hasn’t been available on the Mac. It’s the sequel to 2004’s Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the dark, critically panned follow-up to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (neither game is available for the Mac).

The Two Thrones is a solid improvement on its predecessor. A better combat system, more varied gameplay elements, and a nice new set of acrobatic maneouvers make this Prince better than the last.

The plot is pretty tired, but you don’t play the series for the plot. Prince of Persia has always been about directing your character through elaborate obstacles, avoiding booby-traps, and navigating the precariously placed platforms. In this game, the prince has learned more acrobatic moves to travel through the world, like running along walls and jumping at 45-degree angles, sliding down chutes, and balancing on swinging poles.

The twist with the Sands of Time series is that the prince gains the limited ability to control time. In practice, this means if you throw him off a cliff, you can rewind time and avoid the obstacle. It’s a well-refined feature that can alter battles and save you a lot of time.

One of the biggest drawbacks of The Two Thrones is the camera system. The game gives you buttons to centre the camera and enable first-person perspective, but these are clumsy tools for navigating wide-open temples with dozens of obstacles. Particularly when jumping from platform to platform, the camera seemingly decides to invert its perspective at will.

As a product of 2005, the graphics are pretty dated and there’s a fair amount of clipping, even on the 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro with a 320GB hard drive that we used.

There’s a new Prince of Persia game in the works, but not affiliated with the Sands of Time trilogy. Hopefully the new one will keep the challenging platform navigating and stealth combat but also hire a better writing team and fix the camera system.

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