T2T is the third game of UBISOFT's Prince of Persia series. If jagged metal Krusty-O's had a sweet, sweet nougat center, I would be sure to use them as an analogy for the game. You probably know what to expect of gameplay mechanics. There are a couple new gymnastic moves, and probably new combat moves also. Fortunately, it is possible to sneak through most areas (enemies never look up), performing stealth kills to avoid regular combat. Don't forget your chunk-fu yet! The art of immediately throwing your enemies off a ledge to end yet another swordfight is still vital. Hopefully you will be sneaky enough to keep its use to a minimum.
this is some kind of tangential rant
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's talk about getting the game running. Of course I have the PC version. The install process is just like any other. Right up until the end where it rips through your OS and forces in its huge system-level drivers. It's done before you know what happened.
So when I eagerly clicked on the new desktop icon to begin the game, I got put into some kind of figurative TSA airport queue. It asked for my CD key. "Fine," I thought, "I'll humor you. Even though you have no multiplayer component, which makes my product key useless as a check, I'll jump through the hoop." Eject the disc to read the key, of course. It also told me that the copy protection it installed requires a reboot, k thx. Practically busting at the seams with joy and love, I complied. Another click on the icon and a fifteen second CD verification period later, and I was ready to play!
I also need to register my disappointment with the warez crowd. Last year, I could buy a game, run a full install, and download a patch to disable the copy protection, and put the CD in a CD binder and forget where the CD binder is. What happened this year? The best you can offer are crappy "mini-images" that you have to mount through the windows equivalent of a loopback device. And oh yeah, you have to unplug all your hardware cdroms or it won't work. Sometimes, like for civ4, you can just open the registry editor and temporarily rename the SCSI section before it launches, and then change it back. Lame.
I'll tell you one thing, unless the crax0r d00dz wake up sometime soon, my next gaming machine will not have an internal DVD drive. I'm already *really* excited as it is about StarForce or whatever sitting in my memory all the time.
uh I guess it's over
The combat is still frustratingly designed to give you a choice between spending fifteen minutes memorizing the move list or mashing buttons, desperately repeating the moves you accidentally execute. In my happy armchair game designer world, the combat is only there to break up the puzzles and traps, so I always choose to mash.
There are lots of other smaller annoyances. You can't skip the ZOMG THIS GAME IS PRODUCED BY UBISOFT videos that play every time the game starts (.......until you take a look at the Video subdirectory, and move the files LOGORP.BIK, UBIMC.BIK, and UBISOFT.BIK out of the way ;) and there seems to be no telling whether or not you'll be able to skip an in-game cut scene. Some few lucky times, I have. But I can't even count how many times I've watched boss-fight introductions. Over. And. Over. And. Over.
The bosses are good. A little more interesting than in the last games. Sure, you still probe for a weakness while dodging for your life, then exploit said weakness until you can't anymore and repeat. But the same stealth-kill timing is required at certain points during boss fights in order to inflict damage. And if you're stuck, the Prince offers hints (talking to himself!) that are mostly useful. (Though as kartos would probably tell you, sometimes they hurt more than they help!)
The graphics are still sweet and stylish. There is plenty of amusing Prince banter. And I do believe there is a hint of self-referential apologizing for the Prince's "generic rage" in the last game. Not that I minded. So, finally. It was fun. Sadly, they offer no incentive to play through again. (The "telephone of doom" or whatever is not cutting it for me.) No bonus ending, no alternate final weapon, and you easily unlock everything at the end. Ah well. Maybe someday, I'll play them all through, one after the other.