October 12, 2007

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - The PrincePrince of Persia: Warrior Within is the immediate sequel to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. It picks up where the first game left off, with the Prince travelling to an remote island in an attempt to stop the Empress of Time from ever creating the sands of time, because having changed the past there is a creature hunting the Prince to remove him from timeline. This creature, the Dahaka, torments the Prince and thus the Prince himself has become a tormented soul. Everything about Warrior Within reflects that darkness with a Prince that has lost all compassion and acts out of desperation, and combat that is vicious and violent.

That's the first thing that will hit you when to start playing Warrior Within. The prequel was bright, morally simple, and contained a fair share of playful banter between the Prince and his partner Farah. That has completely changed here as the environments are dark and monochromatic with enemies and creatures obscenely disfigured and hellish in their appearance. The soundtrack is loud, harsh, and violent during combat but can be quite nice and ambient otherwise. (Think Quake and Trent Reznor.) The combat is extremely violent now, with finishing moves like decapitation or full body-length splices. Instead of disappearing into sand, the enemies now exhibit blood and gore before turning to dust.

Whether or not you feel this change is for the better or worse, the gameplay itself is a significant improvement, taking something great and making it excellent. The platforming is not as simple, although the basic elements are the same. Hand holds and ledges are integrated into the environment and structures. There are new elements that you must use to move forward and new traps as well.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - ShahdeeThe new combat system is a lot more fun. It's more intense and you can do so many more things than before. In much the same way as Oni, you can grapple with, throw, and manipulate your enemy directly during combat. Unlike Oni, though, you can use all of your moves from the beginning, instead of having to learn them over time. But you can also make use of the walls and poles around you, allow for leaping, spinning, and other acrobatic attacks and escapes. There are a bunch of combinations you can execute, and then chaining combinations together makes for exciting and challenging battles. If you choose the hard difficulty, using your environment wisely and identifying the most effective strategies for each enemy becomes very important. It also makes combat very hard overall.

The plot and motivations of the Prince and the other primary characters is very different this time around. Instead of trying to save others, the Prince is motivated by a selfish desire to save his own life, selfish in that he does not care who else has to die in order for him to accomplish this. There is no doubt or conflict involved in his decisions to murder those that would oppose or obstruct his goal, regardless of their motivations.

Overall an excellent game. I ended up playing it a second time through, right away, to get the better ending, and when doing so it was just as enjoyable as the first time through.

Posted by josuah at October 12, 2007 7:28 AM UTC+00:00

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