The Prince is back, but this time he's got an attitude you wouldn't want to mess with!!
The game again follows the story of the Prince of Persia and picks up from where the previous game left off. Having manipulated time to cheat his own death, the Prince is being incessantly pursued by the ruthless time monster, the Dahaka. And it will stop at nothing to get to the Prince, devouring everything that comes in the way. The Prince decides that the only way to escape this monster for good was to go back in time and kill the Empress of Time, preventing the creation of the Sands of Time altogether.
The Prince’s path lands him on the Island of Time and from here onwards he must make his way through the castle, killing all enemies in his path. The castle itself has many mysterious caves and passages and it is up to you to lead the Prince through them. Be prepared for a variety of treacherous traps along the way.
As the game revolves around time-travel, you will find yourself frequently switching between the past and the present. So there’ll be many instances throughout the game where you’ll be exploring the same area in two different time-periods. This time travel is achieved through special rooms spread throughout the castle, which allow you to switch between the past and the present. The appearance of the castle and its surrounding will also change accordingly. So, if you passed a dilapidated room in the present, you will find that in the past, the room is actually very well decorated. Not only are there changes in the décor of the room but also in passages around it, due to which you cannot use the same routes to navigate through the rooms in both time-periods.
A few levels into the game, you will gain the ability to reverse time for a few seconds, a concept that was also used in the Sands of Time. This ability is quite handy as it allows you to make up any mistimed jump or a mistake in combat, without actually having to restart the level. This ability is limited to the number of sand slots you possess. If you run out of these sand slots, you can always replenish your stock by killing enemies and bursting other items strewn about the castle. There are other time related abilities as well, such as special spells to knock back multiple enemies and the ability of speed, which will be used to get out of a tight fix. There are however learnt about a bit later on in the game.
Time-travel has actually elongated the game by a good amount of hours and it is nearly twice as long as the predecessor. It does however tend to lag about halfway though. The path is not always clear and you might have to stumble and wander your way around. The developers did provide a map of the castle, but other than showing your present objective and the time-period, it is quite useless. There’s hardly any detailing in the map, so if you’re stuck, you’ll just have to continue wandering and make out the path on your own. It also doesn’t show any enemy locations.
The enemies in Warrior Within will strike at you harder and in bigger numbers than before. But, thankfully the combat system of the game has become bigger, badder and better. To fight the many enemies, the Prince has a lot more combos and fighting techniques up his sleeve. Another brilliant feature of the new combat system is the weapon sensitivity. Depending on whether you’re holding one weapon or two weapons in your hand, the Prince will perform his acrobatic moves and of course, his slash attacks.
Holding just one weapon in your hand, gives you the added ability of grabbing and throwing your enemies, which comes in handy when you’re fighting on ledges and beams. Instead of having to hack at them continuously, you just throw them off the ledge and move on. The dual weapon system takes away this ability but instead, gives you a much wider range of slash attacks. The effects of the attacks depend on the weapon held in the Prince’s left hand. So while the sword in your left hand will allow you to slash your enemies, the mace will help you knock them down. The thing to keep in mind here is that the weapons in your left hand will degrade with time. An icon beside your health indicator shows the weapon in your left hand and when it turns red, the weapon is about to break away and it's time to start looking for a new weapon. You can also throw these weapons straight at the enemies to impale them.
You can also vault off walls to increase the ferocity of your attack. Vaulting off enemies themselves isn’t a bad idea either. Both these techniques were previously used for Sands of Time as well, but there is a new pole-vault technique developed for this game. It works nearly the same way as a normal vault, but you’re actually spinning around using the pole, rather than just jumping straight at them.
There’s a lot more blood and gore this time round. As the Prince slashes his enemies in half, the camera moves in slow motion so you actually see the enemy getting torn apart, with blood flying everywhere. This action is also repeated for the beheading scenes. This is primarily why the game has an M rating. It might appear a bit disturbing at the beginning of the game, but as you will encounter this very frequently, you will eventually get used to it.
The combat has become more difficult than was the case in the previous edition. Not only do enemies charge at you in bigger numbers but attack more ferociously as well. It is best to get used to combos, as they will come in very handy later on in the game. Some good acrobatic moves, coupled with the Prince’s slash attack can help you end battles quicker and with very little loss of health.
The only problem with the higher combos is that they’re useless in boss fights. There are quite a few bosses to get rid of before reaching your goal, and it is here that the combos would have best served their purpose. Unfortunately, they’re rendered useless as the bosses will easily defend themselves against most combos. It is only the smaller combos that can be used against them. The best way of defeating them would be the dodge-and-hit method, draining the bosses’ health slowly and slowly. It can get frustrating at times, but pays off in the end. You will also meet up with the Dahaka several times during the game. Each time you must quickly run through several passages and make your way through the many hazards in the way.
What strikes one as odd, during the initial stages of play, is the changed attitude of the Prince. The Prince has gone a total attitude reversal and from the nobleman of the Sands of Time, appears now as an arrogant guy yelling out taunts at his enemies. This sheds light on his desperate situation. He just wants to save his life and doesn’t care for anything else. To some, this new image appears cool, whilst the others think of him now as less-likeable than before.
Fortunately, the Prince is as acrobatic as ever. The environmental puzzles were the mainstay of Sands of Time and they are the mainstay for Warrior Within as well. To solve these puzzles the Prince needs to use all the acrobatic moves he possesses. Running on walls, climbing, jumping, swinging, vaulting, have all been preserved from the earlier game, with the addition of curtain-swinging. These puzzles are quite exciting to beat.
The game looks as good as its predecessor. For the most part, the many rooms of the castle look quite real. The physics of the game are brilliant and mostly, the stunts don’t appear artificial. The game has a much darker tone than before. The cut-scenes also jitter on a few occasions. The camera angles also go awry at times. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen a lot and overall the game looks great.
The game sounds brilliant. The sound effects have been masterfully added and give you a great feel of the game. A very different soundtrack has been given to Warrior Within. It is combination of rock and heavy-metal, which can make the adrenaline rush during combats. There are some technical faults in the music of the cut-scenes and at times the audio lags behind. The dialog isn’t as good as it could have been, but this is taken care of by the excellent audio effects.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, despite its small flaws, is a great sequel to a brilliant action-adventure game. Though it may not possess the charm which made its predecessor so famous, it still manages to sufficiently hold your attention. The combat has been greatly improved from last time and the game is a lot lengthier. Combined with its great level designs, traps, acrobatic moves, and great sound effects, this is one game you would not want to miss.