Prince of Persia: Rival Swords (Wii) Review
The Prince of Persia is back and this time has graced us with his presence on the Wii, but you might have met this prince before. Prince of Persia Rival Swords is a port of the GameCube/PS2/Xbox game Prince of Persia The Two Thrones; the game was also released on the PSP as Rival Swords too. However don’t count it out straight away. Sure Ubisoft has ported eight or nine (I’ve lost count) games to the Wii, but unlike some of them Prince of Persia Rival Swords is a good base game. The graphics, sound, gameplay and controls were great and then mixed the greatness that was Sands of Time, the good bits from Warrior Within (thankfully not the bad). However the game is now a year or so older and things have changed and its on a different console – a console which is more powerful, has a completely different controller, and thus the game plays similar but is significantly different.
The story of Rival Swords begins with the Prince and the empress of time, Kaileena, returning to Babylon. When they return, they find the city ablaze and soon after his ship destroyed ashore, and both the Prince and Kaileena are separated. Kaileena is kidnapped and the beginning of the game sees you, playing as the Prince, trying to save her. After the Prince catches up with her, “something” happens and with that event, the Sands of Time are unleashed taking over the prince and transforming him.
Rival Swords is not bad game – as I’ve mentioned before, everything about it was good a year ago however this is a new generation and we expect more. Lets start off with probably the most obvious point, one that in the grand scheme of things is not THAT important however considering the generation jump is disappointing. Yes Im talking about the graphics. Okay the Wii is no Xbox 360 but it is more powerful than the GameCube and PSP, and Rival Swords seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle. The games artwork and style is great. It looks like the ancient city of Babylon, from the gritty streets and the port to the castle and to the sewers the game looks the part, however the character models, although animated well, look jaggy as does most of the game. The textures also look very blurry in places. Again, these graphics were great a year ago but not so much now.
Luckily though, this sort of derogation in graphics doesnt apply to the music and sounds of the game. Ubisoft has done well to get a good score for the game, with Middle Eastern music thumping through the game as you go along, matching the environments and theme of the game well. Ubisoft have done their homework with regard to The Prince, his enemies and the rest of the games cast as the games voice acting work is superb, although the girl on the voice over when you save or pause is sometimes unclear.
Now we get down to the balls of the game. Theres a reason this game is on the Wii and that is due to the motion controls, and the first thing youll notice before we get into the combat or the special moves is the camera. The Cube, PS2 and Xbox all have a second analogue stick and that stick greatly helps with camera control, the Wii however does not have one. That being said the camera is pretty smart and will never usually get in the way however if you do need to move around you can tilt the Wii remote left and right which sometimes can get in the way if you tilt your hand by accident or just let your wrists slide often. If it does prove a problem you can turn it off and use the D-pad however this means youll have adjust your grip on the controls and make it hard or impossible to hit the A or press 1 to switch the landscape view. It can be done but makes it harder then it should be.
The next Wii-enhanced feature of the game is combat. While all controls on the other versions were mapped to buttons, they are now motions on the Wii. A stealth kill is initiated with a blur on the screen. Thats the cue to swing the nunchuck down then swing twice with cues to get rid of the enemy easy. Alternatively, you can just attack with a combination of swinging, although this way exposures you to damage and if there is more than one enemy, as there often is, then youll get whacked around or shot with an arrow by the other guys. The other combat control is when you get transformed into the dark prince and gain your sands of time power. The sands of time power allows you to slow down or rewind time if you miss a jump and/or die. The controls for the Dark Prince are really the same as the normal Prince but how and when you get these powers I’ll leave alone as it spoils the story. The other major part of this game, and other Prince games, is the puzzles and platforming action. The Prince can run up along walls, which gives another dimension to the platforming. The game weans you into each concept easily too and youll have to look at things differently later on in the game to see where to go or what to do and plan your movement. This extra thinking adds another dimension to the game, which would be lacking on a normal platformer. So while the Wii controls make the controls different and immerse you into the experience more so than ever before, its not that different and neither adds or subjects to the game that much.
Prince of Persia, despite its older looking graphics, doesnt look shocking; it looks good enough to do the job. The soundtrack is also great and the Wii controls are pretty good but they dont add much to the game. The other problem is the game is a full priced game and if you’ve played it before, the Wii controls wont bring anything new to the table. If you havent played it though, you could still pick it up on another console for much cheaper and get a similar experience. If you can pick up this game cheap and havent played it then its worth it as the game is a ton of fun and the classic Prince is here with a new flair, however, if you have played it there might not be much new for you to get out of it except for the Wii controls.