Rival Swords is an unfair product. It cheats twice: one in its very name and one other in the middle of the game.
There is no better graphic and there is not even Widescreen support, despite what we are led to believe from the dubious "EDTV/HDTV compatible" mark on the back of the case and approximative "professional" reviews. In truth, the screen just gets awfully stretched: another grievance for the customer.
At this point we have already all the reasons to avoid purchasing the game but what about the game itself? Is it good?
The game is indeed good although it pales in the shadow of its progenitor "Sands of Time". It lacks the immersive and breathtaking level design of the first installment and the witty, engaging dialogue between Farah and The Prince. Also while in Sands of Time we are given a plausible reason for all the traps scattered around, it's no longer the case for Rival Swords.
There are new ideas and some are really good. My biggest praise is to the "Slow kill" action. It's really well implemented and rewarding. There are also unique boss fights, and while I enjoyed the first three, I need now to introduce the fourth where Ubisoft "cheats" for the second time: I don't hate it if a fight is very hard and I get to repeat it over and over in order to learn a strategy and exploit the enemy's weakness, but I find intolerable when there is not any logic whatsoever. That is unfortunately the case here. A player could try and fend for hours without getting any the wiser about breaching the defense of the opponents. It just happens sort of randomly that you get the chance to inflict damage. All the other times the enemies are invulnerable. Eventually I succeded, but I failed to see any reason for such a abomination of a fight, where the player is treated unfairly by the developers. Of course this applies also to The Two Thrones game for Gamecube, Playstation 2 and Xbox. After that fight, I stopped playing the game altogether, considering it fatally flawed.
And it is a shame. Because the game is good. The acrobatics of the Prince reached new heights and the idea of unique enemies is a very welcome one (except one of them spoils completely the game, as said above). Rather enjoyable are also the chariot rides, if you don't mind overly much to try them a couple of times before you clear them.
The last criticism is about the new combat system, already introduced in the weakest chapter of the series (Warrior Within). It simply doesn't work. It's unintuitive and clunky. Especially on the Wii version where you'll end up flagging your arms hoping to trigger a combo. They wanted the Prince to meet God of War and the result is poor. The introduction of a time constraint when controlling the Dark Prince is a neat idea but it's made frustrating by the high rate of energy loss.
In the end, I can but not recommend this version which asks for boycott. The original The Two Thrones version is worth playing if you are not like me and can accept one big, fat moment of madness from the developers during one boss fight in the middle of the game. If you are not that forgiving, stay away: it would leave a bitter mouth to stop after having played so long!