Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Review for Xbox

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Art direction aside, some locales remain stunning
Art direction aside, some locales remain stunning

Art direction aside, some locales remain stunning

The most satisfying moments in a gamer's life are when they play something that makes them forget its all about the money. Just a timeless, treasured expression, where, yes, you can firmly believe that the product was sneaked past the ad department, the cynical fat-cats, and the corporate yes-men like a vulnerable child. The game contains a sense of goodness and wonder that is so utterly alien to monthly targets or financial years.

Prince of Persia made many forget that it was all about the money, they stood in amazement that a comparative giant like Ubisoft could keep their figures in the black and realize modern fairy-tales; first Beyond Good & Evil, now this. Unfortunately, as with countless other titles that made gamers forget they were playing something which was mass-manufactured, Prince of Persia was too busy dazzling their senses to reach far enough into their wallets.

'Fans of the original only need to sample the opening section of Warrior Within to start uncomfortable speculation'

Fans of the original only need to sample the opening section of Warrior Within to start uncomfortable speculation about how such a product was formed. Concern sparked on message boards as the information slowly leaked out, despite PR forumites cooing words of reassurance, such as this just being a 'natural, new direction for the Prince' and 'we haven't forgotten what made POP great,' they couldn't disguise the feeling of focus-group which screamed from every pore of Warrior within.

Still, it couldn't be that bad surely. The plot was a promising one, and seemed to honour the original game.

Prepare yourself for combat, lots of it

Prepare yourself for combat, lots of it

After unleashing the sands then manipulating time so that the incident never actually occurred, the Prince avoided a catastrophe and got away scot-free, or so he thought. Problem is, he wasn't supposed to survive, and now for the past seven years an invincible Guardian of the timeline, a 'Dahaka', has been pursuing him day and night, seeking his untimely demise.

In one final, desperate scheme, he aims to travel to the island of time, return to the past, and prevent the sands from ever being created. Therefore preventing them from falling into the Maharaja's hands, and in the process causing a temporal paradox that would have Doc Brown frothing at the mouth.

So, how bad could it be?

Haunting, often beautiful, Arabian style music. Gone. Replaced now with a riffing Godsmack soundtrack, crunching electric guitars urging you into a bristly mindset. A rude, yet well-intentioned and good-hearted hero, someone charming but crass enough for us to relate to. Gone. Replaced now with a brooding, dual-wielding badass who curses and taunts his enemies. Soft-focus, lightly coloured, shimmering environments, full of Eastern flavour.

Gone.

'What we have now is, technically, a very accomplished product, but it suffers from a painful lack of soul'

What we have now is, technically, a very accomplished product, ignoring for one moment the bugs present, but it suffers from a painful lack of soul. The majority of Warrior Within's environments are relentlessly gritty and dark affairs, inspiring as much a sense of lingering depression in the gamer as Prince of Persia did a lightness of mood. Time spent in the more fluid and alive levels such as the Clockwork tower, or colourful and organic vistas such as the Water Garden, only makes your sense of returning to dank hallways and yet another marathon of traps all the more oppressive.

Ubisoft have spent much time trumpeting the merits of their all-new combat system, yet it continues to stand as little more than a wedge between the player and the real heart of the Prince of Persia franchise; platforming.

Enemies will be avoided, more often that not, simply because even on the easiest mode they soak up too many hits and you can just leap to a higher point and leave them milling about aimlessly, still spouting one-liners. There are periods of enforced combat, and these become, unfortunately, more numerous as the game draws on, but at least Warrior Within has an option here which Prince of Persia so sorely lacked, with teleporting foes that could follow you anywhere.

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Billysan's Avatar
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Billysan

The review speaks truth.

Ubisoft Montreal pissed me off so much with this game. Thankfully Two Thrones was a return to glory.
Posted 05:18 on 11 January 2009
Brainpeachy's Avatar
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Brainpeachy

Graphics and gameplay are really good, but there's a bit too much freedom. For instance, i was running from the dahaka, made a wrong turn and the dahaka caught me. no problem, just rewind time, so i did and finished my run without a hick. afterwards i did notice my lifebar slowly ticking away and my looks also changed. i just thought it was een new fase in my level progress, because there were no signs of doing something wrong. But when i tried to switch the lever to activate the first tower, there was no lever! I thought i missed a switch somewere and started looking everywere. nothing to be found. Eventualy, all this mess was caused by rewinding time when caught by the dahaka! Why didnt Ubi just made it IMPOSSIBLE to rewind time when caught by dahaka? I really like it when a game is non-lineair, but a usefull map is essential.
Posted 15:33 on 22 July 2008
darkraven's Avatar

darkraven@ joshua

What'a we have here.the biggest actions ever made.Graphics,gameplays and storylines are perfect in these games,but Warrior Within is better than The Sands Of Time and The2Thrones.I am the biggest fan of POP!
Posted 14:36 on 25 July 2006
joshua's Avatar
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joshua

the games are perfect. you have the plot, fights, graphics, the sweet moves to crush any opponent that dare face the prince my only thing is the prince really needs a name other than that the game is perfect i have beat the first and second but suck at the third still working on it
Posted 06:00 on 11 May 2006

Game Stats

Technical Specs
7
Out of 10
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
  • Control of the Prince is as tight as ever
  • Some fantastic platforming
  • Painfully immature style
  • Too much emphasis on combat
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 03/12/2004
Platforms: Xbox , PC , PS2 , Cube
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Platformer
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 15,488 138
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