49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Solid Trilogy. Hi-Def Treatment A Mixed Bag.,
This review is from: Prince of Persia Trilogy HD - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
I'm gonna level with you: This review will probably be a little tough to follow. Why? Because I both love and hate this trilogy of games, and I have even stronger feelings about this HD re-release. So let me give you a quick background:
* I believe "The Sands of Time" is a good game, but was badly overrated with all of its Editor's Choice, 9s and 10s, and Game-of-the-Year consideration back in 2003. It was always worth a gamer's time, but it was no masterpiece.
* "Warrior Within" is easily the most divisive game of this trilogy, and rightfully so. I don't hate the game, but I have some very strong criticisms of it.
* I actually think "The Two Thrones" is the best game of this collection, because it took the best aspects of the previous 2 games, and also innovated on the formula.
It's hard to know where to begin with this review. I'll get into some technical details, and then explore each individual game, and see where we end up.
All three games have been allegedly remastered. I say "allegedly" because I don't consider this an upgrade. "The Sands of Time" has some serious sound issues, where the dialogue is almost impossible to hear and sound effects feel misplaced. There are echoes when the characters are outdoors, and the sounds of swords clashing are 100 times louder than the music. I never had a problem with the hard rock music from "Warrior Within", but those annoying shrieks of your enemies haven't aged well. In any event, the music is also very difficult to hear, as can be the dialogue in certain sections. Thankfully, "The Two Thrones" has a perfect balance with all of its sound aspects. The music, dialogue, background, and other effects are tuned properly and don't require any adjustments with your sound system or settings. But it's a real shame that "The Sands of Time" and "Warrior Within" have such shockingly awful sound quality, where the way my camera is aimed can determine whether I get a crisp clear sound or a soft whisper. And no...it's not my TV or system, because none of my other games or consoles have this problem.
It is true that all 3 games have had the graphics redone, but I am not convinced this is for the better. What I found more often than not is that while the environments have better textures, the buildings and architecture feel more fake now. "The Sands of Time" and "The Two Thrones" don't have this problem too much, but the Fortress in "Warrior Within" can look very unconvincing in certain areas (especially that long staircase where the Prince enters for the first time). The character models look a little more fake too, with "Warrior Within" showing some seriously baffling issues (the Prince has a different skin complexion on the right side of his mouth). The pre-rendered cutscenes have always looked good, and they hold up today.
Loading times haven't improved, but they were fine to begin with. I've read that some gamers experienced some serious glitches with "Warrior Within" back in 2004 when it was first released, but I never encountered those problems even back in the day, so I couldn't say.
I haven't tested the 3D feature yet, but I'm honestly not interested. I haven't bought into the 3D gimmick yet, having tested it with a few movies and games.
Oh, I know this isn't a huge deal, but this Trilogy has some of the dumbest Trophies I've ever seen. "The Sands of Time" has one for playing over 10 hours, when a new gamer can finish it in 7 hours. Why do I get a trophy for completing the defense mechanism puzzle but not the torturous library sequence? Why is there a trophy for using my Rewind ability less than 20 times in 1 game, yet I'll get a trophy if I use it over 200 times? "Warrior Within" gives me a trophy just for landing on the island at the end of the first sequence, but not another story-related trophy until I destroy a random giant boss about 75% of the way through (even though I've killed 2 similar giants earlier). "The Two Thrones" trophies are a little more reasonable, involving the number of enemies killed using stealth, or the number of enemies killed as Dark Prince, but there are still a scant number of story-related ones. And why are the trophies for these games mostly Silver or Gold level? And why doesn't "The Sands of Time" have a trophy for not dying when the 2 sequels do? Man, I'm think too deep into this.
I guess when it comes to this PS3 collection, I recommend trying to find the original 2003-2005 discs instead. They honestly look and sound better, in my opinion. Games this old won't ever look as sharp as what gets released today, so why try to convince anybody otherwise?
"The Sands of Time" is indeed a true pioneer in action and platforming. The combat is fluid and unique, and the death-defying and escapes the Prince endures are always exhilerating. Where I think "Sands of Time" needs to be put in its place is the story. The concept itself is very good, with a Prince using a powerful dagger with time-altering abilities to reseal a deadly magic. And there are some very compelling story moments, especially in the final hour or so of the game. But the fact of the matter is that between say the 20%-80% mark, this story goes absolutely nowhere. The Vizier (main villain) is nowhere in sight. The confrontation with the Prince's father isn't nearly as dramatic as it needs to be. I don't expect long, drawn-out sequences. But as I think I can show with "The Two Thrones", there is a way to merge this exciting gameplay style with a good story in small doses. "The Sands of Time" has always been a strong game, but I don't think it's ever been a great one.
"Warrior Within" is like the prequel trilogy of "Star Wars". It's the one game that "Prince of Persia" fans like to make fun of, even though there are plenty of fans who like it. This 2nd chapter has some fundamentally strong attributes that its haters forget to address. In fact, I think I love what most people hate about "Warrior Within", and hate what most critics praised about it. I love the hard-edge rock music. I love the darker color palette and more disturbing enemies. I love the way this game makes the Prince self-centered without being an annoying smart aleck. I love the expanded combat engine, with dual weapons and bloodier results. What drives me bonkers with "Warrior Within" is that it involves a ton of backtracking between two timelines, and frankly, it's a confusing mess. The map feature is almost useless, and there aren't enough clues to tell you whether you're heading the right way or not. Exploration is one thing, but "The Sands of Time" and "The Two Thrones" were wise to keep things linear with a few secrets to discover. "Warrior Within", on the other hand, is such a jigsaw puzzle that getting the good ending isn't even likely without a strategy guide. Get this, there are 2 endings, and the slightly-happier one isn't reachable unless you find all the hidden health upgrades. I wouldn't mind this conundrum if "The Two Thrones" didn't begin with the happier ending, but it does! I guess my big beef with "Warrior Within" is that I was willing to appreciate all of the risks it took with its style and story, but I feel like my favorite aspect of "Prince of Persia" --- the platforming and exploration --- got turned into a backtracking chore. "Warrior Within" is a solid game, but it's sure to test your patience, for one reason or another.
"The Two Thrones", in my opinion, is the pinnacle of this trilogy. The story is constantly in focus, with the player always feeling like something is developing. The combat is just as tight as it was in "Sands" and "Warrior". The Prince character is rightfully returned to the persona that he was in "Sands of Time", though mature enough to sympathize with him. The platforming is as tight as ever, with more tricks and obstacles to discover. The gameplay mechanics are changed up a bit, with a few chariot sequences and the option of attempting stealth Speed Kills. Players will also get to use The Dark Prince from time to time, almost like a brand new character to experiment with. I especially love the lush outdoor scenery of Babylon. Indoor exploration is fine, but navigating the rooftops and streets was often a pleasure. My big gripe about this chapter, however, is the villain. I won't give away anything, but frankly, the villain undergoes a drastic transformation almost immediately, and it's frankly very silly looking. The whole time instead of awaiting my deadly nemesis, I kept thinking, 'This punk looks like an annoying boss battle waiting to happen.' But the psychological torment going on in the Prince's mind more than makes up for that issue. I always enjoyed listening to the narrator's telling of the story, and the Prince's mad inner discussions. I don't know if I'll play "The Two Thrones" (or any of these games) very often, but it's a hell of a first-time playthrough.
Should I give this disc 5 stars because it's exactly what "Prince of Persia" fans are asking for with a great price? Should I give this 3 stars because of all the repetition and technical inconsistencies? I giving this 4 stars because even though I'd rather play the original PS2/GameCube/X-Box versions, this is a solid collection of games in one place.
"The Sands of Time" - 8.25 / 10
"Warrior Within" - 7.75 / 10
"The Two Thrones" - 8.75 / 10
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 29, 2012 1:34:52 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 1:50:03 AM PST
C. Pohle says:
About your criticism towards the Sands of Time's story going nowhere from pretty much the beginning to the final confrontation, there's a reason. It focused solely on the relationship between the Prince and Farah and their journey towards redemption. SoT has some of the best character development I've ever witnessed in any game out there. One of the reasons I so love SoT is it's a journey of solitude shared by two and no one else. Introducing boss battles or massive action set pieces would've obscured this.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 4:15:22 PM PST
R.A. McKenzie says:
That's actually a very good point. I hadn't thought about "Sands of Time" that way. I think a little more should've been done with The Vizier or The Prince's father. But when you approach it from the two-person angle, it works better than it used to.
Posted on Mar 26, 2012 7:42:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 26, 2012 7:45:56 AM PDT
B. Cooper says:
I know you mentioned the sound issues in your review. As somebody who recently purchased the game, however, it's a much larger issue than most people might think.
The sound makes these games completely unplayable. The mixing and quality is horrendous. This collection had been on my "to buy" list since first announced.
I have played a lot of games and a lot of HD collections, but this is the first I have been unable to complete because the sound quality is so poor it feels like torture.
Why was sound quality not a larger component in both professional and consumer reviews? IGN never even mentioned the issues.
All in all, the games themselves might be within the 8.0-9.0 range, but this lazy awful port doesn't deserve a score anywhere close. If it was a film it would be recalled due to consumer outrage.
Your review is insightful, but I feel 4 stars is too high for THIS HD release. Buyers beware, the sound issues are MUCH more glaring than you might consider after reading positive reviews. In a game like Prince of Persia, the sound is half of the experience.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2012 4:26:17 PM PDT
R.A. McKenzie says:
My hearing kinda sucks sometimes, so I didn't know if it was just my ears or not. Plus, I remember "The Sands of Time" sounding kinda muffled on my GameCube years ago in the first place.
I really don't know why professional reviewers overlooked the sound issues.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2012 4:15:47 PM PDT
R. J. Terrell says:
I have to totally agree about the sound issues. I can look past the texture issues on the prince's face in warrior within, but I do not understand how they could mess up the sound so badly. I find myself muting the tv when I die, so that it doesn't blow up my room, then turning it up when there is in-game dialogue. Then turning it down durning a rendered cutscene. It makes no sense. I kind of wish I hadn't sold my PS2 versions, since I have the backward compatible ps3. Ubisoft should have put a little more consideration into this instead of throwing it together like they did.
Posted on Jun 7, 2013 8:22:56 PM PDT
Will Brown says:
To be honest, you should have given this game, 3 stars. There's no excuse for such trivial problems in an upgrade of an old game. It's just a bunch of lazy upscaling to me. MGS HD Collection? Now that's HD Remastering done right.
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