Review by Galactus21

"The sequel lacks the charm that the first had."

I heard great things about Prince of Persia the Sands of Time, but I due to budget constraints I never had the chance to play it upon its release. I did get the game a few months after its initial release. I was never really hyped about it other then the fact that I heard it was a good game. Once I laid my hands on Sands of Time I couldn't put it down. Everything from the solid combat to the outstanding puzzles and platforming. Another thing that made Sands of Time great was the atmosphere. The prince was a charming fellow who was a dashing hero. The game was very light-hearted and offered a very relaxing atmosphere. About a year later after Sands of Time's initial release Ubisoft releases the sequel. The title was dubbed Prince of Persia Warrior Within. From the title alone one can infer that the game became more mature. And that is what happened with Warrior Within, Ubisoft decided to go with a much darker prince and a much more mature atmosphere. I am all for dark games like Ninja Gaiden or Chronicles of Riddick. At first when I saw a trailer of Warrior Within I was very pleased with the new look. However after playing Warrior Within and getting a better feel for the story I can confidently say that the darker look does not fit the prince. The prince's sense of heroism, his charming personality and his laid-back sense of style are all gone. Now we have a prince who is seemingly out for himself, he is unlikable and he lacks any heroism whatsoever. Normally I would not place so much emphasis on the story or characters unless it was an rpg, but the new darker look just does not fit the prince. The game not only got darker, but the game also became very combat heavy. While the first had great puzzles and platforming to break up the combat, the second lacks any good puzzles. Before I even begin to break down my review of Prince of Persia Warrior Within I wanted to get it right off the bat of how disappointed I am of this overhaul of one of my favorite games on any next-generation consoles. I still enjoyed Warrior Within, but for what it is I am disappointed. Now onto the rest of my review and why I consider Warrior Within a disappointment.

The first time I saw Sands of Time in action I felt everything was very fluid and it was a pleasure to look at. In Warrior Within the graphics are similar, but I must say that the graphics don't wow me as much. Not to mention there are a few rough edges in the graphical department. In some of the cut scenes the Prince look awkward. Some of the beheadings or capitations look pretty awful. It looked like they tried to be stylish with it, but failed. Warrior Within does have blood and I mean a lot of blood. The blood affects for the most part look good. The animation is very good and looks fluid like the first. The atmosphere is portrayed really well. For the most part the level designs are a bit bland, but still look good. Warrior Within has a few graphical problems, but overall still a very good-looking game.

The mix of great platforming and great puzzles along with a solid combat made the first a great game. Now with the second the game has a better combat and the platforming while good is not quite up to par with the first. The puzzles are basically non-existence in this game. I will start with the positives and talk about the improved combat.

Ubisoft decided to go with a free-roaming combat, which allows you more possibilities in your combos. For example when you hop behind an enemy you can slash him or you can grab him and throw him. This allows more variety in your combos. You can dual wield in fps, but here you can do it with swords. Which is a nice little feature. You can basically pick up any weapons that enemies drop and use it to your advantage. You can also throw that weapon at the enemy and sometimes it decapitates them cleanly. The game is more combat oriented then the first and it is much darker and it gives me a feeling that Ubisoft tried to make Prince of Persia into a Ninja Gaiden type game. The only problem was Ninja Gaiden's combat is miles ahead of anything else in the 3d action genre. While the combat is still great I couldn't help but notice that some of the controls weren't as responsive as I would like. Sometimes I would do moves that I did not want to and sometimes I would find myself button mashing because the enemies didn't make you fight strategically. Speaking of enemies, Ubisoft should seriously put some more variety. The enemies were a bit repetitive. Like the first you can reverse time and reversing time allows you erase some of your mistakes. However you will find that you will die a few times more then Sands of Time. Everytime you reverse time you use up a so called sand bar and it can be replenish by breaking boxes or killing enemies. Overall the combat was great, but there were a few kinks here and there.

The puzzles in this game is seriously lacking compared to the first. The first had brilliant puzzles that were both challenging and well thought out. In Warrior Within the puzzles take a back seat to the combat. Most of the puzzles involve stepping on stones that open doors or stepping on stones in a specific order to activate something. There are also a few other puzzles, but none that are noteworthy.

The platforming in the first was extremely well done. It was very well done in a sense that it would give you a break in between fights to keep things from being repetitive. This is not the case for Warrior Within. You will usually find the sequence to be puzzle, enemies, puzzles and the more enemies. Now in games like Ninja Gaiden when the combat is so superb it is okay to have so many fights. Warrior Within's combat while still great gets a tad bit repetitive without the long platforming to break it up. The platforming that it does have is great and feels well thought out. Generally you can swing on bars, jump from pole to pole or wall run to another platform. The platforming overall is great, but there is too little of it.

The atmosphere in Warrior Within and lack of puzzles is really what killed the experience of the game for me. The atmosphere in this game just doesn't fit. The atmosphere on many occasions play a key role to your enjoyment of it. And to put it bluntly Warrior Within's atmosphere was just not clicking. I feel overall Warrior Within still retains enough of it's core gameplay to remain solid, but without the atmosphere and great puzzles of the first Warrior Within can only dream of being in the same league as Sands of Time.

The music in Warrior Within is fairly good. The soundtrack doesn't pop out at you, but it is enjoyable. Like the atmosphere the music seem to have a darker tone. If you have been reading you will know I am against this new darker image, but hey at least Ubisoft got music to back up the atmosphere. The voice acting was solid and the Prince had a tone that matches his now unlikable character.

Well this is where I am going to slam Prince of Persia Warrior Within hard. The game lacks any value. For two reasons the game may be longer then the first, but it is still fairly short. It is longer, but I had tons more fun in the shorter time I played Sands of Time then I did with Warrior Within. This says something, the game while solid is lacking what the first did that was so great. Ubisoft ruined the atmosphere of the game and took out the amazing puzzles of the first. They did this to cater to a wider audience, to the so call cool audience and I seriously wish they didn't. The Prince was a lovable and charming character with a strong sense of heroism, but that is long gone as we are left with this dark and self-centered prince. Ubisoft if you make another Prince of Persia game I pray that you will go back to the light-hearted prince that we all love.

The new darker image does not fit the prince. It takes away all the charm of the first. This is why I feel the presentation of the game is lacking. Not because of graphics or what not but because of its atmosphere. The light hearted prince gave you a sense that the Prince was a hero, but here the prince lacks any heroism and really portrays the Prince as selfish. The game does retain enough of its core gameplay to keep it from an utter flop.

Well Overall I say Warrior Within is decent. The combat basically saves it from utter disaster. While I hoped there would be more platforming the ones they did have was very good. My main complaints were the darker atmosphere and the lack of puzzles. In a sense Ubisoft took a step backwards. So I would definitely suggest renting this game first before you commit yourself to purchasing this game.

Pros
+ Great combat system
+ Platforming
+ A longer quest then the first
+ Graphics

Cons
- Lack of puzzles
- The new darker image
- repetitive enemies
- Lacks the charm that the first had

Graphics - 8/10
Gameplay - 6/10
Sound - 8/10
Value - 5/10
Presentation - 6/10
Overall - 6.5/10


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 12/13/04, Updated 02/14/05


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