Prince of Persia.
So, I finished Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time on the GameCube. I liked it a lot. The characters were interesting, the story was well crafted, the framing device was brilliant, the seamless level design was excellent, the controls were intuitive, the gameplay was clever, and the ending was satisfying.
And then I started Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within on the PS2. The graphics are considerably better, the storyline (continuing where the first game left off) is… adequate, the characters are… adequate, the parkouring elements are still excellent, if not improved, , the level design is no longer seamless, the controls not quite as intuitive, the clever framing device absent, and, mostly, the fighting is ridiculously complicated, unintuitive, frustrating, and insanely difficult. There are now more buttons, a bajillion combos, and multiple weapons and styles to figure out- not introduced gradually like in any decent self respecting game of this sort (the God of War games, for example, which is clearly a stylistic successor to this series), but handed to you all at once right at the beginning. I only played for a couple hours before getting frustrated, and a day and a half later my shoulder is still so sore I can barely move it.
I want to finish it, because the exploration is still pretty awesome, and the story, or at least the part with the Dahaka, is interesting. The Empress and the two chicks don’t really do anything for me. Except the one part where the prince tells the chick in red “Wait there, I’ll find a way down to you”- a phrase he used with Farah in the first game- and she blows him off… that was telling. He’s been through a lot, and he’s a harder, darker man now; but his heroic instincts are still buried in there somewhere.
Anyway, I want to finish it, but I honestly don’t think I can continue playing- I have to carry ladders around for work, and I can’t have this persistent shoulder ache hampering me.