Which Prince of Persia is Best? All PoP Games Ranked

Prince of Persia first appeared on PCs everywhere in 1989, but this article isn’t about that first game. This article is about the series of games that were inspired by that original Prince of Persia game: the journey of the unnamed prince, and some other unnamed prince of debatable royal heritage (I’m talking about the 2008 Prince of Persia), that all began in 2003. Those are the games that we’re talking about here.


There have been six Prince of Persia games that have been released on home consoles since 2003, and what better way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary (which actually occurred last year) than to put them all in their places within the series. There were good ones, there were great ones, and then there were the ones where the Prince was wearing mascara. Which brings us to number six.

6) Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

pop: ww

To be clear, this is actually not that bad a game. There is all kinds of stuff to jump onto and run across, and the M rating meant the Prince’s enemies were spurting blood instead of sand.


The problem with Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was the forced emotional distress that permeated the game. This Prince was a dark, dreary character, closer to the murder machine known as Kratos than the upbeat soldier with a regrettable mistake resting on his conscious that we had come to know (and love) in the previous game. Going dark for a sequel is not a bad thing, but it should be done in the same context of the established world. Luke Skywalker didn’t start wearing makeup and listening to Godsmack in Empire Strikes Back. He was still the same guy, but in much more difficult circumstances. The Prince went through his teenage rebellious phase in Warrior Within and we had to suffer through it. The platforming was still fun, though.


5) Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (360, PS3)

pop: fs xb ps3

This Prince just so happened to launch around the same time as the not absolutely terrible, but certainly not great, shirtless Jake Gyllenhall film. It was not meant to be a movie cash-in, according to the developers, and it wasn’t. It was a full-featured Prince of Persia game that went back to the old-school (old-school as in 2003) Prince of Persia sensibilities.



Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands was a story that really didn’t need to be visited, though. This Prince’s story was already closed out in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. We really didn’t need to see him get involved in another sand-related disaster, but it was fun to watch. Some cool things were done with stopping time to create water bridges and hand holds, and the prince took on tons of sand-infected soldiers at once. That’s all well and good, fighting dozens of enemies at once, but who cares? We would rather see the Prince jumping on stuff and doing battle with the laws of physics, rather than sand soldiers.

4) Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (Wii)

pop: fs Wii

Did you you know the Wii version of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands was dramatically different from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the same-titled game? It had a completely different story, and a brighter art style.



In the Wii version, the Prince finds a Genie, and asks for his own Kingdom. The Genie facilitates the Prince’s literal wish… by forcing him to make out with statues. In context it all makes sense (sort of), and the result is a Prince whose place in the Prince of Persia timeline is mysterious. The game took advantage of the Wii pointer while making, thankfully, little use of the waggle functions. You could use the pointer create hand holds in the walls to grab while you ran across, as well as create stationary tornadoes that would vault the Prince upward. What resulted was a platforming Prince that felt just a little bit different in a good way. The Wii version also had an important Prince of Persia element that is sometimes forgotten. You had a companion the whole way through in the Genie, which led to worthwhile banter and the opportunity to build a relationship. You could also unlock the original Prince of Persia game with a code that was included in the box, which is always a plus.

3) Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones

pop: tt

After the wonderful feedback from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the developers pretty much looked at their work and went, "oops."



For Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, they decided to look back at what made Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time so successful, going so far as to even rehire the Prince’s original voice actor. They didn’t get rid of the darkness entirely this time around, though. Bad things happened, people died (important people), and the Prince’s dark side still existed. This time the darkness was relegated to an entirely separate character, rather than being placed under the Prince’s eyes with dark makeup. Two Thrones also smartly allowed the player to meet Farrah from the first game all over again, and build their relationship from scratch. Having Farrah with you for the whole game meant more banter and legitimate, believable conversations about pomegranates. It’s the boring conversations that create a believable connection between characters; this one was full of them, and they couldn’t be more welcome. Couple all of this with a rewarding conclusion that ties all the games together in a neat little bow, and you have an excellent finale to a great time-hopping, magical story.

2) Prince of Persia

pop 2008

The 2008 Prince of Persia is a controversial title. Some decry the lack of death as making the game too easy, while others laud its creative approach to a franchise that was showing its age. I fall in the latter camp, myself.



The first thing to compliment is the absolutely stunning art style and animation in the game. The 2008 Prince of Persia literally looks like a painting, with purples, blues, and reds splashed across the landscape. Every vista, every angle, and every piece of architecture, be it natural or man-made, looks beautiful. The Okami-inspired flowering of each completed stage is also a site to behold. Not only is the game gorgeous, but the player is the one making it gorgeous. The entire game is played with two characters, with only a third, seldom-seen human character making up the cast. What results is a lonely, beautiful, desolate landscape where the Prince and his female travelling companion can foster a believable relationship. Not to mention the fact that the two work together, each unable to function without the other, which goes even further in creating a bond between the two. Then there is the ending! A tale of personal sacrifice culminating in a love that absolutely must be fostered, despite the terrible world-engulfing consequences. It was beautiful, solemn, and touching, all while combating the cliches of not just videogame endings, but narrative resolutions in general. Of course, the DLC kind of ruined it, but that is a subject for another article, or this recommended reading (I didn’t write this, but I wish I had).

1) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Pop: Sot

Was there any doubt that this would be number one? Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time set the standard for the modern Prince of Persia, and established a franchise that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Any one of the brilliant elements of Sands of Time would have been enough to establish it as a gaming force to be reckoned with, but it was many things all coming together that made it a gaming masterpiece.



The game technically falls into the platformer genre, but realistically it’s probably more of an acrobatic puzzler with sprinkles of combat. Making your way through the assorted traps and rooms feels less like an exercise in accurate foot placement, and more of a showcase of fluid animation and clever level design. Even without the incredibly fun, wall-bouncing Prince, you have an amazing story of sacrifice, love, and time travel that both literally and figuratively changes the Prince. The story and resulting connection created between the Prince and Farrah is engrossing, and smartly character driven. You don’t remember what the Prince was trying to fix (something to do with a giant hourglass, and the villain from the movie Aladdin), but you do remember that Farrah and the Prince became very close during the course of the game. None of the the follow-up games have ever quite been able to recapture the original awe and personality of Sands of Time. The sequels are all great, but nothing will ever replace the first time you leapt from the middle of a wall run, or vaulted off the shoulders of a sand soldier.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Kyle Hilliard View all posts by

3 Comments on "Which Prince of Persia is Best? All PoP Games Ranked"

  1. Savaxe February 15, 2012 at 1:43 am -

    prince of persia warrior within – best game
    prince of persia forgotten sands -second best game
    prince of persia two thrones – good storyline good game
    would have been better though if the graphics were good

    other prince of persia games like 2008 one sucks

    the original 1991 prince of persia game was a classic for its time…

    no more comments

  2. Alberto Gómez Noval February 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm -

    prince of persia 2008 and the sands of the time the 2 best for my

  3. Piyush Joshi July 30, 2014 at 6:23 am -

    the forgotten sands is best for me

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.