Having missed these on their first release on PS2 and having just played The Forgotten Sands this seemed like a good purchase.
Basically, you get the exact same games as they were on the PS2 but tweaked to run on the PS3 and rendered in HD resolution. The 3D models havent changed in complexity but due to the higher resolution they look pretty good. Character animation is smooth with the Price boasting 750 different animations that allow the various moves to be linked together flawlessly.
The main bulk of the 3 games action is derived from swinging, leaping and running through the various levels, this is broken up by the odd piece of sword play.
The first game in the trilogy, The Sands of Time, has a fairly light tone with an engaging story. Objectives are clear and progression is linear. The fights are fairly sparse with a few being heavier than the others and these usually involve 20+ spawning enemies. From time to time you have to keep an eye on your companions health and this can be annoying as she tends to stand still while being attacked. 8 to 10 hours worth of play in this game.
Game 2, The Warrior Within is much darker in tone and ditches the sandy look of the first for a huge stone castle. The Prince is also darker, now seemily more keen to fight. The music has more punch. Overall though, the darker tone doesnt seem to draw you in so much. Combat is much more involved than before with the addition of combos and secondary weapons, there also seem to be more fights than before. Chase sequences now feature with the Prince forced to perform strings of moves without fault in order to escape. You will also find yourself revisiting areas of the map, partly due to the locations of various objectives and the new time travel function which allows the Prince to travel back to a time when the castle was in a much better state of repair, this alters paths around rooms. This game is also much longer than the first, expect 18 to 22 hours worth of play out of this one.
The last in the trilogy, The Two Thrones, combines elements from the previous games. The light hearted Prince from the first game returns along side his darker alter ego, though both share the darker Prices combat skills. A clever plot explains the differences between the 2 versions of the Prince. Graphically, things still look good but there dont seem to be many improvements from the previous game in the series. The game should take roughly the same time as the previous game to complete.
Most frustrating element about all the games is the camera, from time to time it will seem to work against you but you can easily reposition it. This game features multiple cameras to assist you. The standard 3rd person view that follows you along. A 1st person view so you can look out of the Princes eyes though only while standing still. The last is an environmental view that zooms as high and as far away as possible to give you a better idea of the area you are in, you can still move around in this view, you can also control a zoom to move in closer to the Prince. All are handy when you get stuck.
A bit more polish could have been applied to improve the games menu systems and cut scenes as some of these look very low res but dont let that put you off.
This disc is excellent value for money and shows that the PS2 had some excellent quality games that can still hold their own. In fact the recent PS3 title in the series, The Forgotten Sands, feels very much like the PS2 game The Sands of Time just with more polygons thrown at it.