Available : 11/30/2004

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Preview © Ubisoft
By: Thomas Cap


I have been waiting for this so long. Well, not for writing this article but this was a necessity to do the other thing: play the sequel to Prince of Persia - Sands of Time (and that over a month before it hits stores worldwide). While I was a fan of the earlier Prince of Persia titles the Sands of Time was the first Prince title to totally suck me into the story that I simply couldn’t let my game pad go before I saw the credits roll. So I was expecting much from the sequel, yes even from the beta. Was I let down? You bet I wasn’t...

The Old Man said to the Prince, “Your fate has been written. You will die.”

The Prince has returned home to Babylon after preventing the terrible events during The Sands of Time from happening at all. But this came at a price: his alterations of the timelines have awakened an immortal incarnation of Fate known as the Dahaka. This supernatural creature that doesn’t know the meanings of words such as mercy consumes everything in its path and is bent on our prince’s destruction...as fast as possible.

The prince soon realizes that there is only one way to ensure his survival and end his life on the run (besides giving up which of course isn’t an option). He has to travel to the mystical birthplace of the Sands of Time and prevent them from being created in the first place, which will hopefully close the rift in time and calm the Dahaka.

His destination is a remote island, ruled by the mysterious Empress of Time and the inhabitants of the island are neither man nor beast. During his travels the prince’s ship is attacked by a war galley apparently sent by the Empress herself to prevent the Prince from reaching the island. His crew is slaughtered and the prince is thrown overboard during a fierce fight with the Empress’s female champion. She is a mysterious character that we will meet many times throughout the game but she doesn’t seem totally convinced that she really wants our prince dead...

Farwell prolonged innocence
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Our prince has grown up since we last met him. Living a life in the shadows, running from an invincible enemy made him restless. Scars give evidence of countless battles, lost was what was left of his innocence after his adventures in the sultan’s palace; yes I would even go as far as claiming that a little madness hides behind his eyes. He recklessly throws himself into the battle as if he is hoping for an honorable death in battle to escape the annihilation at the hands of an invincible, supernatural being.

But on the other hand those countless battles also refined his already supreme skills even more. Many new moves, devastating combos and the ability to wield different side arm were added to his repertoire. Wielding two weapons unlocks even more combos and moves including throwing the sidearm to heavily damage or even behead distant enemies. Laudable are also the improved controls. The PC version of Sands of Time was a little harder to control if you were using a keyboard and a mouse instead of a gamepad but the PC preview version of Warrior Within doesn’t have such problems.

Back to the future - again

Many may wonder if you are still able to rewind time since you returned the dagger of time to its rightful owners at the end of the prequel. Of course the developers didn’t remove this feature that made the Sands of Time so unique. How they explain this? This preview version doesn’t include the whole story line yet so your guess would be as good as mine if I didn’t have the chance to meet one of the developers at this year’s Games Convention in Leipzig. He told me only this: Farah (the princess from Sands of Time if you don’t know) gave the prince a gift before he left... (and no, it is not the dagger, think in a LITTLE more creative way, please!)

Pain, Grief and Darkness

The atmosphere and level design of Sands of Time was one thing. Our adventure in a beautiful but abandoned palace that was invaded by a supernatural and evil power wasn’t really as pleasant as a walk in the park on a sunny day but its former beauty was still there.

And Warrior Within? It is hard to describe but my mind somehow drew this parallel. What if something as bad or even worse happened elsewhere and wasn’t disturbed for decades or even centuries? Every single room, every corner, every living creature, the flora and even the skies themselves were spoiled and became wicked by this unnatural presence. Imagine a place that hasn’t seen joy or happiness in ages, almost everything lies in ruins and what creeps and walks there is a mockery of life as we know it. Of course countless books, games and movies tried to capture this mood before but trust me - the atmosphere will give you the creeps if you really find yourself immerse in the game.

Conclusion:

Preview Code is always a double-edged sword. On the one hand it calms your hunger but at the same time it simply isn’t done yet, and you are left begging for more if it is a really good game. And if there is one good game to look forward to this year it is defiantly Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.


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