Prince of Persia: Rival Swords

Reviewed by Cliff Bakehorn, Posted on 2007-06-10


Developer: Ubisoft Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: April 3, 2007 Also On: GCN, PS2 & Xbox

2005's Prince of Persia: Two Thrones finished up the last-generation Prince of Persia trilogy that seemed to spark some fire back into the action/adventure genre. Two Thrones benefited from better combat, better graphics, more creative platform and time-based puzzles, and a great use of the Prince’s newfound “Dark” side–but does the Wii-make of Prince of Persia: Two Thrones stand up so well two years later, at full price, with only a few mechanical changes?

I had a very difficult time coming to my final Prince of Persia: Rival Swords conclusion, but I've finally done it. In short, if you haven't played Prince of Persia: Two Thrones, you’d might as well rent Rival Swords. It’s the Wii-make of a truly great game, only it has a bit of a censor when it comes to blood and gore. If you have played Two Thrones before, you're safe to pass up Rival Swords. Notice I said nothing in either scenario about buying Prince of Persia: Rival Swords; the reason for this is that Two Thrones is available for $20 or less on GameCube, playable on Wii, isn't censored, and is almost exactly the same game otherwise. Prince of Persia: Rival Swords includes Wii remote and nunchuck controls that don’t do anything but change the feel of the game, and that in my book isn’t worth $50 to anyone.

Mostly, the Wii-exclusive controls work wonderfully. With the nunchuck’s analog controlling the Prince, movement is as simple, smooth, and familiar as ever. In fact, “smooth” is the best way to describe everything except for combat. Jumping, rolling, climbing, running along walls, sliding down narrow walls–all of it feels very fluid and makes Prince of Persia exciting to play. Combat is a little rough; shaking the Wii remote around will result in Prince’s standard weapon combos while flicking the nunchuck will have him perform some of his more acrobatic combat moves. This requires a bit more energy than simply pressing buttons, and as a result combat can be the polar opposite of the silky-smooth platform elements.

Other than the Wii controls, few (if any) Wii-influenced factors go above and beyond the same values of Two Thrones. It looks like the port from PlayStation 2/GameCube/Xbox to Wii took its toll on the graphics, which look washed out, and not by visual effect. For the last time, I want Wii games to look like next-generation games. No Wii game should look worse than an Xbox game, period. This one does, and that’s too bad. Still, the animation is absolutely superb, and other than some clipping issues during cutscenes (watch Prince’s hair go through his cheeks!), the graphics are average in most spots and above average in some. The lower-quality appearance is always tolerable but always disappointing, too. The music has always and will always remind me of God of War, and that most certainly isn’t a bad thing–but the Dark Prince’s babbling got annoying, and sometimes his dialogue would initiate at the most random of times. Strange.

With so little added to the game, it's a shame that Ubisoft's Wii-make was released at the full $50 tag. If it had been $30, it would be worth the purchase of anyone who missed Two Thrones. I myself only played Two Thrones for an hour or so, so getting further into the game via Rival Swords was entertaining and enjoyable for me during my rental of the game. However, it is a full-priced game, and that to me entirely throws out the purchasing option. There are hardly any extras or additional bonuses, and that’s a tragedy. If Wii-makes are going to happen, they need to invigorate the consumer and show him or her that the Wii can do more than the GameCube, and the Wii-make needs bonuses. Otherwise, the Wii game in question isn’t worth its price, period. Unfortunately Rival Swords falls into that category.

Graphics: 5.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 6.4
Written by Cliff Review Guide

Reviewed by Cliff Bakehorn