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December 18, 2004
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
105KBDolby PLIIYesYesNoneYes

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Off with their heads...
Rewind a little over twelve months. Rumours were circulating that Ubisoft had a hot title with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. When it was released it dropped jaws. It wasn't just hot, the game was phenomenal - hence the GOTY award here at Future Gamez last year. A year on and the development team at Ubisoft has complete work on the sequel, a sequel with many changes from the original including more weapons and a darker tone to the game. But will these changes alienate fans of the original game? Read on to find out... but first, lets start with the story in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within....

The story begins a few years after the conclusion of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The Prince has returned home to Babylon, to find himself hunted by a supernatural creature bent on his destruction. Forced to live a life on the run, he seeks counsel from an old mystic, who explains that his actions have spawned an immortal incarnation of Fate, known as the Dahaka. In his quest to save the Sultan’s palace from destruction, the Prince created a rift in the Timeline.

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Damn, he's big.
Hunted by the Dahaka, the Prince embarks upon a path of both carnage and mystery to defy his preordained death. He quickly comes to realize that there’s only one possible way to stay alive: journey to the birthplace of the Sands of Time, find a way to travel back into the past, and stop the Sands from being created. Without the Sands, the Prince’s last adventure will not occur – and the Dahaka will vanish. His journey leads him to the infernal core of a cursed island stronghold harboring mankind’s greatest fears.

Much of Prince of Persia Warrior Within will be familiar to players of the original title. The prince will jump from ledge to ledge and swing from pole to pole, run along walls, hang off ledges and attack enemies. If anything the platforming sections of this game are a little easier then the previous game mainly due to a reduction in the number of crumbling floors. The controls are perfeclt implemented as the Prince obeys your every command. The implementation of the attacking moves can be a little tricky, but as soon as you learn the combos you'll be set. Once again the ability to control (or reverse) time plays a part in the game and really is the games unique gameplay element.

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Puzzle elements return.
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at the original game was the simplistic combat system. Ubisoft have spent considerable time altering and fixing this for Prince of Persia: Warrior Within with combat now fast, fluid and more brutal then ever. Weapons can be picked up from fallen enemies and play a major part in Prince of Persia Warrior Within. The game includes five classes of weapon, with 63 weapons in total. These classes include swords, axes, maces, daggers and fortune weapons. The prince can use two swords at a time. Axes and maces are slow but they inflict a lot of damage on enemies, with maces also pushing enemies backwards. Daggers do little damage but come in great numbers and can be thrown at enemies from a distance. Perhaps the most interesting weapons are the fortune weapons. These include sticks and planks which can be picked up from broken objects. They are weak, but still enable two-handed combos. Additionally, one specific ‘special attack’ is linked to each class. It is now possible for the Prince to wield two weapons at a time - great for decapitations, but the second weapon degrades over time/use and has to be replaced often. Also if using two weapons the Prince can no longer grab and grapple with enemies.

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That's how you kill them!
Unfortunately the shift to a darker tone has stripped away much of the fun of the original title. The prince isn't trying to rescue someone, merely survive. By including two versions of the same castle to explore (past and present) the game starts to feel very familiar and somewhat repetitive despite differences in each time period. To compound this there are several occasions where you must backtrack through sections of the game.

Graphically, and as you can probably see, this game has a much darker visual style then the prequel. The character models and level detail have improved significantly from the first title while the animation on the Prince is much more varied this time. The enemies are also splendidly designed, some of the bosses are massive, and the animation on them is also equal to the task. Unfortunately the camera needed more work as there are still moments where you will need to jump virtually blind as it can't be rotated behind the prince. Also gone is the soft graphical effects which I really loved in the first game.

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The textures are superb.
Aurally I'm left in two minds with Prince of Persia Warrior Within. On the one hand the music is good quality, but it really doesn't suit the themes of the game. Most of the arabian sounds have been replaced with guitar riffs, which just don't suit a title like this. The sound effects are passable but it's the speech that will have most people up in arms. In the cut- scenes the speech is impressive - as good as any other game on the market, but its the in-game speech which will really get on your nerves. Some of the one-liners have horrendous scripting.

Last year we awarded Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Game of the Year here on Future Gamez. There was a reason, it was fresh, exciting and included just enough puzzle elements to make it engrossing. Unfortunately this sequel has stripped away much of the freshness to move towards an action oriented title, and it's just not as fun. Don't get me wrong this is still a great game, no doubt about it, but it seems to have lost some of that magic spark.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSA lot darker in tone and looks then the previous title, but great.
SOUNDMusic and speech are one of the weakest aspects of this title.
GAMEPLAYThe fighting is the games focus, needs puzzle and platform sections.
VALUESeveral secrets and two endings make this pretty good value overall.
OVERALLPrince of Persia: Warrior Within is great game despite the shift to a much darker and more combat styled tone. Unfortunately by making this change the developers have turned this into another "action game", albeit a very good one. Still, this is an excellent title overall and one which fans will enjoy.

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