Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
|Prince of Persia: Warrior Within|
German cover art
|Developer(s)||Ubisoft Montreal, Pipeworks Software, Gameloft (iOS)|
|Publisher(s)||Ubisoft, Gameloft (iOS)|
|Writer(s)||Corey G. May|
|Series||Prince of Persia|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, platform, hack and slash|
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is an action-adventure video game and sequel to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Warrior Within was developed and published by Ubisoft, and released on December 2, 2004 for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Microsoft Windows. It picks up where The Sands of Time left off, adding new features, specifically, options in combat. The Prince has the ability to wield two weapons at a time as well as the ability to steal his enemies' weapons and throw them. The Prince's repertoire of combat moves has been expanded into varying strings that allow players to attack enemies with more complexity than was possible in the previous game. Warrior Within has a darker tone than its predecessor adding in the ability for the Prince to dispatch his enemies with various gory finishing moves. In addition to the rewind, slow-down, and speed-up powers from Sands of Time, the Prince also has a new sand power: a circular "wave" of sand that knocks down all surrounding enemies as well as damaging them.
Following Warrior Within, a second sequel and a prequel were made, expanding the Sands of Time story. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones was released on December 1, 2005 and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands was released on May 18, 2010. A port of Warrior Within was done by Pipeworks Software, renamed as Prince of Persia: Revelations, and was released on December 6, 2005 for PlayStation Portable. The port includes additional content including new areas not available in the original release. On June 3, 2010, a port of Warrior Within developed by Gameloft was released for the iPhone. Due to problems with the in-game menu, the game was pulled from the App Store on the same day. It was re-released on June 18, 2010, with the fixed menu and improved tutorial. The iPad version, titled Prince of Persia: Warrior Within HD, was released on September 15, 2010. A remastered, high-definition, version of Warrior Within was released on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 on December 14, 2010.
Seven years after the events of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Prince finds himself constantly haunted by a terrible beast known as the Dahaka. The Prince seeks counsel from an old wise man who explains that whoever releases The Sands of Time must die. Because the Prince escaped his fate, it is the Dahaka's mission as guardian of the Timeline to ensure that he dies as he was meant to. The old man also tells of the Island of Time, where the Empress of Time first created the Sands. The Prince sets sail for the Island in an attempt to prevent the Sands from ever being created, an act he believes will appease the Dahaka. After a battle at sea with an enemy force led by a mysterious woman in black capsizes the Prince's ship, the Prince washes ashore unconsciously onto the Island of Time.
He later awakens and chases the woman in black through the Empress of Time's fortress into a portal that transports the two into the past. The Prince saves a woman named Kaileena from being killed by the woman in black, who later happens to be known as Shahdee. Unable to grant the Prince an audience with the Empress of Time, who is busy preparing to create the Sands, Kaileena instead tells him how to unlock the door to the throne room in which the Empress resides. The Prince makes his way through the fortress, using the sand portals to travel back and forth between the past and present, and narrowly escapes several encounters with the Dahaka, who he discovers unable to pass through water. The Prince activates the mechanisms in the two towers of the fortress: the Garden Tower and the Mechanical Tower, that serve as locks to the door. He returns to the throne room only to discover that Kaileena is actually the Empress of Time herself, who has foreseen in the Timeline that the Prince will kill her and who has decided to attempt to defy her fate, just as the Prince is doing. A battle ensues and the Prince proves victorious; he kills Kaileena and returns to the present.
He believes that he has changed his fate, but another encounter with the Dahaka forces him to realize that in killing Kaileena, he was, in essence, the one who created the Sands of Time, as the Sands were created from her remains and they flow into the hourglass. The Prince falls into despair, but then finds a glimmer of hope upon learning of a magical artifact called the Mask of the Wraith, which is said to transport the wearer into the past, allowing the wearer to alter his own Timeline. The Prince wastes no time in seeking out and donning the mask, which transforms him into the Sand Wraith, a monster that constantly ebbs away life, and sends him back to the time when he first arrived on the Island of Time. He formulates a plan to force Kaileena through a sand portal with him, transporting them both into the present, believing that if he kills her then, the Sands of Time will be created seven years after the events of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, meaning it will be impossible for the Prince to release them in Azad. While still in the past, the Prince (as the Sand Wraith) ensures that the Dahaka takes and destroys his other self, who has just finished unlocking the door to the throne room, leaving the Sand Wraith the only Prince in that Timeline. This act loosens the Mask of the Wraith from the Prince's face and allows him to remove it and return to his normal form. The Prince goes to the throne room and, despite his pleas to Kaileena, his battle with her begins as before. He forces her into the present with him, and it is at this point that the game has two alternate endings. Which ending is played depends on whether all life upgrades and a special primary weapon called the Water Sword were collected.
- First ending, without the Water Sword
The Prince fights and kills Kaileena in the present, and the Dahaka arrives to claim her body as well as Farah's amulet from the Prince, so that the Sands of Time and all relics pertaining to it are removed from the Timeline. The Prince sails home to Babylon alone, only to discover that the city is being ravaged by war. The old wise man's voice is heard, once again stating: "Your journey will not end well. You cannot change your fate. No man can."
- Second ending, with the Water Sword
In the present, before the battle between The Prince and Kaileena begins, the Dahaka appears and tries to remove Kaileena from the timeline. The Prince tries to save her and realizes that the Water Sword can damage the seemingly invincible Dahaka. After fighting and defeating the beast, the Prince and Kaileena sail to the Prince's home of Babylon together. During the journey, he apparently ends up making love to Kaileena where a dream enters in the mind of the Prince, appearing to be a burning Babylon, with a gold crown rolling to the feet of a mysterious, shadowy figure that ominously claims: "All that is yours, is rightfully mine...and mine it will be." As in the first ending, the old wise man's voice is heard stating: "Your journey will not end well. You cannot change your fate. No man can." This ending is a canonical ending and continues in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.
Much as its predecessor, Warrior Within is a 3D platformer centered on exploration and melee combat. As in the prequel, the level design revolves around navigating treacherous environments with parkour and freerunning-styled moves. Unlike the prequel, the game world is highly nonlinear; the player would often return to already visited locations several times from various directions, often traversing time portals to visit the same places in the present and the past in order to find ways around obstacles which would be impassable in either time alone. Secret areas can be found and explored to gain additional health points and unique weapons, which culminates in discovering a weapon capable of inflicting damage on the Dahaka, unlocking the game's canonical ending. In addition to normal platforming, the game also features episodes where the Prince is chased by the Dahaka and must quickly navigate trap-ridden hallways to reach safety.
The combat system has undergone a revision and allows the player to wield off-hand weapons in addition to the primary weapon. Two-hand fighting introduces numerous additional acrobatic combos to dispatch enemies with greater efficiency and brutality. Off-hand weapons have varying bonuses and penalties applied to the player's damage and hit points; they can be thrown at enemies to allow a limited form of ranged combat. Aside from bosses, the enemies are sand creatures of varying sizes. Unlike the Sands of Time, where rounds of heavy combat are interspersed with rounds of exploration, enemies can be encountered anywhere along the way, alone and in packs; some common enemies would respawn as the player revisits locations.
As in the prequel, the Prince possesses a limited control of time; the Sands can be used for more efficient combat as well as to slow down and even rewind time, allowing the Prince to retry ill-timed jumps or escape Dahaka's clutches.
As opposed to the shorter hair and exquisite robes from the first game, the Prince's hair is long and he wears armor and bandages. The game had a change of voice actors; the Prince is voiced by Robin Atkin Downes, in the previous (and following) game he was voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. Kaileena is voiced by Italian actress Monica Bellucci and a sound-alike actress (Alicyn Packard). The Sands of Time featured a soundtrack by Stuart Chatwood, consisting of a fusion of Arabic- and Indian-influenced melodies with heavy metal. Chatwood remained the composer for Warrior Within, though the music became more guitar-oriented; it featured Godsmack's "I Stand Alone" without vocals as the Dahaka's chase theme and "Straight Out of Line" over the game's credits.
Warrior Within's PlayStation 2 version received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
Critical reviews of Warrior Within ranged from positive to mixed. The GameCube, PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions received "favorable" reviews, while the iOS and PSP versions received "mixed or average reviews" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. Elsewhere, the mobile phone version received "universal acclaim" according to GameRankings. Reviewers praised the inclusion and familiar platforming elements of the previous game with mixed feelings of the new combat elements. Warrior Within also contained more content than The Sands of Time, taking anywhere from 15–20 hours to complete.
Jordan Mechner, who was the creator of the original Prince of Persia and worked on The Sands of Time but not Warrior Within, however, commented in Wired that "I'm not a fan of the artistic direction, or the violence that earned it an M rating. The story, character, dialog, voice acting, and visual style were not to my taste."
Eurogamer complained that the game lost much of its charm by making the game's visuals grimier, the story less involving and mature compared to Sands of Time, and the addition of blood and scantily-clad female characters was in poor taste. Penny Arcade parodied the Prince in comic form, claiming the once witty, likeable Prince character, turned into a more aggressive Gothic character, making him a "cookie cutter brooding tough guy with zero personality." GameSpot also criticized the game for having uneven difficulty progression and numerous glitches and bugs.
IGN gave the Mobile version 9.6 out of 10, calling it "Gameloft's triumph" and "likely the best game of the year." GameSpot gave the same version 9.2 out of 10, calling it "a dominant game on its own merits, but it's identical to the first game in one respect: Anyone who is remotely interested in playing an action game on their handset should download it." In Japan, Famitsu gave the PS2 version a score of one nine, two eights, and one nine for a total of 34 out of 40.
Non video-game publications also gave the game some favorable reviews. Detroit Free Press gave the Xbox version all four stars and stated: "The prince has gone from an "Aladdin"-style teenager to a grim, angry young adult. He's even more beautifully drawn than before, and this year's installment adds a much better combat system." The Sydney Morning Herald gave the game four stars out of five, saying, "Exploring the labyrinthine citadel is rewarding, although backtracking and frequent deaths can be frustrating." However, The New York Times panned the game by giving it an unfavorable review and stating that, "The tone of the game has gone from an Arabian Nights fantasy to something akin to a Marilyn Manson music video. In dark and grimy settings, the once gallant prince curses and jeers as he swings his sword at demons whose decapitations are lovingly shown in slow motion to a soundtrack of screeching guitars."
The editors of Computer Gaming World nominated Warrior Within for their 2004 "Action Game of the Year" award, which ultimately went to The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
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