Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within™ On Steam

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By Hilary Goldstein
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ranks amuốn the very best console action-adventure games of this generation.

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Despite the critical acclaim, Ubisoft decided to lớn tinker with the formula in hopes of attracting a wider audience with Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. The result is a much darker Prince, who speaks in a gravelly voice, travels through a rather gryên labyrinth of saw blades và spiked floors, & is solely concerned with saving his own butt, no matter who he has to lớn take down in order to vị so. In the process, Ubisoft Montreal re-invented the combat system, added a few new traps, lengthened the gameplay experience, và threw in a number of bosses. So, with all of these improvements, how is it that Warrior Within isn't as good as The Sands of Time?

A Warrior's Tale Warrior Within takes place several years after the events of The Sands of Time. The Prince, having originally released the Sands, is being hunted by the Dahaka, guardian of the timeline. The Dahaka is a massive dark warrior that serves fate and will pursue the Prince until he is dead. Desperate & weary from the years of running, the Prince makes a final play, heading lớn the Island of Time. The hope is that if the Prince can somehow go inkhổng lồ the past, he can stop the Empress before she ever creates the Sands of Time, meaning he would never have sầu opened them & the Dahaka would have no cause for its hunt.

The premise certainly sounds good and the story of Warrior Within has more complexity than the simpler fable of The Sands of Time. Ubisoft chose lớn use this story lớn darken the Prince, draping him in a morose take-crap-from-no-one attitude, changing voice actors to lớn provide the Prince with an edgy Clint Eastwood snarl, & giving hyên such novel lines as, "You bitch!" No, this is not Sands of Time, this is the new Prince of Persia & the idea of a dark character, dark atmosphere, và dark story are forced down your throat from start lớn finish. It's too much, too forced, và frankly, not as appealing as the Prince of old. From a thematic perspective, it's a step backwards, even though the gameplay remains excellent.

In Ubisoft's decision to lớn make a bad-ass, no-nonsense Prince gamer's could better identify with, they instead made the Prince more generic than before. It's the Arbanian theme, the whimsical feel and luscious bloom lighting of The Sands of Time that helped it stand out aước ao other action games. And though the gameplay mechanics remain quality lớn the world of the Prince, the character seems lượt thích a quiông xã selection from video game Central Casting.

There is no Farah in this adventure, no White dove that shows some light in the darkness. There is nothing to lớn contrast the gloom seen throughout Warrior Within. The Prince is not out khổng lồ save sầu the world, he's out khổng lồ save sầu himself at the cost of anyone who gets in his way. This isn't even a tale of revenge. It's easier to lớn empathize with the Prince from The Sands of Time, because he's likeable, and he's at least trying lớn bởi vì the right thing. The only character in peril this time is the Prince. He's not a hero this time out, he's just a guy trying to lớn save his own ass.

Though the dark look và feel of Warrior Within were off-putting at first, once I got past those elements, I fell in love sầu with POP all over again. Warrior Within is quite an enjoyable gameplay experience. With many of last year's complaints addressed, it would be tough for any Prince người not to enjoy the sequel, just don't expect khổng lồ love sầu it as much as the first.

The Prince of Persia's Excellent Adventure As with The Sands of Time, Warrior Within sets you in a confined environment (this time an island), throws enemies in your path, & has you perkhung acrobatic feats that would seem khổng lồ defy gravity. Once more you will run along walls, swing off bars & fly through the air lượt thích a trapeze artist. Though the essence of POP remains, the game's structure is a little different. Where The Sands of Time put you at the starting line and then pushed you from point khổng lồ point, rarely returning you to lớn familiar ground, Warrior Within has a slower pace and a more open kiến thiết. The majority of your quest involves activating two towers (Tolkien fans, please don't sover me your angry letters), which open a door that's keeping the Prince from his ultimate task. You can choose to go after the towers in any order & you can trek baông chồng through the majority of areas at any time if you want khổng lồ explore, look for hidden treasure chests (which unlochồng art), or hunt down the elusive, booby-trapped chambers that hold health meter boosts.

Throughout the Prince's journey, you'll come across time chambers, where the Prince can hop to lớn the past or present. This changes the enemies encountered và the overall structure of each room. It's an awesome sight at times, to witness a room in the present -- dilapidated and barely in one piece -- transformed lớn a pristine gr& hallway, with working traps và better lighting.

As with most open adventures, there's a lot of backtracking in Warrior Within và while many instances place you in a different time period when you backtrachồng (making for a new experience), there are several times where you will revisit the same rooms, pass the same traps, defeat the same enemies. These repetitive sầu moments really screwed my navigation up, as I would pass a few familiar traps & think, "No, I must be going the wrong way, I've sầu been here before."

While the backtracking is a little too much in the over, there's a lot of variety lớn the areas, more so than in The Sands of Time. The more drab locations, which are prominent early on, are the weakest, the later sections of Warrior Within feature some fantastic kiến thiết và great art direction. I love sầu the gigantic moving gears in the Mechanical Tower & the gorgeous green Garden Tower. The areas that caught my eye most, that really made me appreciate Warrior Within, were the ones that were less dreary & reminiscent of the style from The Sands of Time.

Critics of The Sands of Time's length have sầu nothing to lớn fear. If the first POP took you eight hours to lớn beat, Warrior Within should take 12-14 hours, a good length for an adventure game. Any longer and it would have sầu become monotonous. As for concerns that this is an all-combat affair, Warrior Within has the same balance of platforming, puzzles, & combat as Sands. However, the platforming elements have been approached a bit differently this time out.

The Platformer Within Anyone who's played through The Sands of Time will have few problems handling the platforming tasks of Warrior Within. Though two new trap types have been added và the need for slowing time is more prevalent, you won't be asked khổng lồ vị anything you haven't done in last year's Prince of Persia. Run on walls, leap off onkhổng lồ a bar, swing and jump against another wall, bounce off và upward, grab onlớn a ledge and pull yourself khổng lồ the top. I could vị it in my sleep by now, but I still love it, because no other game has platforming quite lượt thích this.

The major difference between Sands and Warrior Within is the sense of urgency when platforming. Sands had a lot of crumbling beams và platforming puzzles that forced you khổng lồ be reactive, where Warrior Within is a bit more laid baông chồng, concentrating those types of intense moments into lớn short bursts. On the one hvà, this makes a sepia-toned chase scene where you must run from the Dahaka more exhilarating. But since you only get about a half dozen or so chase sequences in the entire game, it would have been nice lớn see more instances where quick reactions were vital to survival.

Platforming is what makes this series quality. There are a few other platformers in the market, but none come even cthảm bại to lớn POP in terms of innovation or sheer marvel. Why then de-emphaform size what makes this franchise so special? Though there is an equal chia sẻ of platforming và combat, the platforming often feels secondary in kiến thiết. You always seem lớn be platforming just so you can get khổng lồ another battle. Because there are far fewer moments where you are pressed to lớn move sầu quickly, a lot of the jumping, swinging, & wall running is easy lớn take for granted.

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I'd rather have more complex platforming moments that require quick reactions & timing & less combat. Fighting in action games is incredibly common, but great platforming is not. Why not stand out from the crowd instead of standing with them? One thing that has not been fixed with platforming is the camera. Though you can now move around while in the pulled back Landscape View, there are several times where you can't position the camera behind the Prince, forcing you lớn make a blind jump. This is nothing new, as it was a problem in The Sands of Time. This issue doesn't surface often, but it's still there.

Along with platforming, Warrior Within retains roughly the same number of puzzles as the previous game. Puzzles often involve sầu pulling levers to adjust movable objects to either connect together or create new ledges for leaping. These puzzles really don't require much thought and I actually passed them all by just randomly turning levers. As with the first, I really wish there was more emphasis on classic adventure-style puzzles that require some real brain power.

King of Blades Ubisoft Montreal's biggest efforts went inkhổng lồ upgrading the combat system. We've talked about this system extensively since E3 2004, but some things are worth mentioning again. For Warrior Within, Ubisoft created a free-khung fighting system, which enables you khổng lồ create your own combos and find your own favorite fighting style. With the ability to lớn wield two weapons, the Prince now has an assortment of combat options. You can piông chồng up a secondary weapon and use it in combination with your normal sword (which is upgraded about a half-dozen times throughout play) or you can toss the weapon at a foe (for a knockdown or delightful decapitation). Playing with your default sword is often a better tactic, however, as with one h& không tính phí you can grab enemies. Once nabbed, an enemy can be strangled, sliced, or tossed aside.

Combat in the first few hours of Warrior Within is pretty awesome, because it's all very new & there are so many ways khổng lồ earn slow-motion close-ups of gruesome death blows. With the large variety of enemies & more than 60 weapons at your disposal, there is plenty to lớn keep you occupied. But after a few hours, I started getting tired of the battles, just as I did in The Sands of Time. I don't care about fighting more và more enemies, no matter how cool it may look, it's the platforming & the puzzles and even the story that make Prince compelling. Eventually I just started grabbing enemies and throwing them over ledges to get rid of them quickly.

Fortunately, there are some good trùm fights mixed in throughout Warrior Within that refresh the combat. The brutes, who are flesh & svà goliaths that tower over the Prince, are an awesome challenge. The Crow King is a cool-looking foe, though he's never given any context in the game as khổng lồ why he exists or what his purpose is other than dying by your blade. The big fights come against a few different women, all of whom share the same mix of combos. It's pretty damn cheap when you fight two different characters a total of four times and each fight is the same with some wrinkles (i.e. Time Powers) here và there. Still, the final boss fight is at least a challenge và victory is certainly satisfying.

Cats in Agony: The Sounds of Warrior Within While some may argue that the darker theme of Warrior Within makes for a better game, there will be little debate over the sound, which just plain sucks. Godsmaông chồng provides one guitar-heavy melody used a few times in POPhường. 2, but there are other heavy riffs that often come up during combat as well. Though there are a few tracks offering a more Arabian feel, they quickly fall prey lớn power cords.

When the music isn't happening, you must contover with the horrendous screeches from enemies, which sound a lot like my cat getting neutered. Then there are the quips from some of your female combatants, who sound lượt thích valley girls on a power trip và who scream lượt thích banshees in a blender. Perhaps worst of all is the Prince himself, who offers some horrible quips, including, "I am the Prince of Persia... & the King of Blades!" Try listening khổng lồ that ten times fast. The quips from bosses are repetitive và bad as well. On the plus side, this becomes added inspiration for killing bosses quickly. It's not all bad though. Along with some of the more decent Arabian-themed tracks, the voice acting in the cut-scenes is actually quite good. Sure, the Prince sounds like he's been smoking since he was seven, but for the tough-guy voice, he's actually handled well. I lượt thích the cut-scenes và the voice-acting in them, but during combat it's just awful. The Prince doesn't even talk to himself any more in that adorable Peter Parker kind of way. He's quiet until he needs to cut someone's head off.

Timeless Beauty The sound may be ugly, but the game is beautiful. The bloom lighting of the first POP made for an almost ethereal experience and Warrior Within is the exact opposite. Things are dark và dirty, with the Prince looking more menacing than some of the enemies he faces. Love sầu or hate the look, it's hard lớn argue the stunning visuals. The architecture in some areas is amazing and the Garden Tower feels like the seventh wonder of the world.

Ubisoft seems lớn be king of animations and Warrior Within adds a few more to lớn the Prince's bag. Everything is smooth and fluid. Watching the Prince climbing a ledge is a fantastic sight. What other game has animations so good that you can be in awe of a character climbing a ledge? With dust particles, dynamic lighting, và solid texture work, Warrior Within keeps Prince is a pretty game. Unfortunately, the PS2 version suffers from a lot of framerate stutters & some contrasting problems that make the game too dark in some areas. In a game packed with action and platforming these things can be a killer. It mainly affects aesthetics more than gameplay, but it's very noticeable throughout the game.