Marty McFly and H G Wells will tell you that messing around in time can have some unpleasant consequences. For a certain Persian prince, it means that all his tomfoolery with the Sands Of Time counts for nothing: just when he thought he could sail off for a royal bunk-up with the princess, a Dahaka was waking up. This ancient creature is the embodiment of fate, cannot be killed and is on a mission to straighten time out and make sure the prince stays where he should've been in the first place. Dead.
That sets the dark tone for this sequel to the 21st century remake of the classic platformer, and according to the game's producer Yannis Mallat, the PoP2 team have taken a good look at the flaws in the previous game. "We studied the Sands Of Time and were really harsh with ourselves. We particularly looked at three specific areas which we thought could have been better: the repetitive fight system, the fact that there weren't enough bosses and the lack of decent replayability."Consequently, our prince is a little less wet behind the ears this time around, and he's keen to demonstrate this with an array of new fighting moves that bring stylish death to the 12 different types of monsters in the game. There's decapitation, being sliced in half, the ability to jump on larger enemies' backs as well as multiple death moves, accompanied by splashes of blood, shrieks and gurgles.Without a dagger of time to worry about, the prince can use two weapons at the same time. In fact, he can execute an incredibly handy move where he strangles an enemy from behind and simultaneously steals their weapon. Fatal and practical.
Quick, Quick, Slow...
However, the prince still has an imbued ability to manipulate time, and here the developer has refined his existing moves. For example, slow mode now only happens to your enemies, and there are new moves such as shockwave and a fast-forward feature that replays your last ten moves. The prince can also now do nifty things like plunge his dagger into a curtain and slide down it, as well as being able to use the environment to aid his fighting.
Yannis emphasises that there's been a conscious effort to try and add more storyline and depth to the game, and make it even more immersive by having interactive cinematics, rather than static cut-scenes. "You get what we want a videogame to contain - interactivity, dialogue, sound and images all happening at the same time. If there are cinematics in a game and they're not interactive, then that's because the developer didn't find the right way to make it playable." You can see this for yourself when we put the prince through his paces in a future issue.