The Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Review

The Prince of Persia is back, and this time he’s a lot more mature. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within takes the fantasy world created in its predecessor The Sands of Time, in a much darker and violent, and at times sexier, direction. This may have made the game inaccessible to younger gamers, but older gamers will probably appreciate the changes and find that they make for a more compelling game.

If you played The Sands of Time then you know that one of the game’s more unique features is its time manipulation. You could use the Sands of Time to briefly “rewind” time. If you missed a jump or walked into a trap, you could move time backwards and save yourself from your fate. Well time is once again at the center of the story in Warrior Within, except this time you’re trying to prevent the events from the entire first game from ever happening in the first place.

In The Sands of Time, the Prince released the titular Sands of Time and spent the entire game dealing with the consequences. Well, almost all of the consequences. It turns out that a supernatural monster known as the Dahaka is the guardian of the Sands of Time and it is its duty to kill anyone who dares open the Sands of Time, i.e. the Prince. To save his skin the Prince devises a plan that would send a Time Cop into a conniption. He decides to travel back in time and prevent the Empress of Time from ever creating the Sands in the first place. No Sands of Time, no Dahaka, and our Prince can sleep at night. If you’re wondering why he didn’t decide to just go back and convince himself not to open the Sands of Time in the first place, it’s because, well, there wouldn’t have been much of a game in that now, would there?

In Warrior Within the time continuum is disrupted on a much grander scale. Instead of the time travel being limited to a few seconds at a time, you will travel to the distant past in order to try and save yourself. This makes for some interesting play in that you will revisit the same locations both in the present and the past in your quest and you’ll get to see firsthand how they have succumbed to the ravages of time. In this case time has not been kind to the fortress, and significant decay and ruin will make navigating the rooms and solving their secrets different in the present than in the glory days of the past. Certain rooms will let you shift between the past and present and knowing which time period you need to be in to progress in the game is part of the puzzle.

If there’s one thing that you can say about our Prince, it’s that he sure has a lot of great moves. Warrior Within is definitely an action game, but it has a lot of platform style elements in it as well. There is no shortage of narrow ledges and precipitous drops in this game and you’ll have to be careful that you do not fall to your death. Don’t worry too much – remember that I mentioned that the Prince has some great moves. In addition to the standard jump and ledge-grappling, you can literally run up the walls. Eventually gravity will take over, but for short distance you can try to run up a wall high enough to grab a ledge or cross a gap by running along the wall along side of it. You can also climb poles or columns to reach high places, swing from hanging objects, and, and this is pretty cool (unless you’re an art history major), use your sword to cut into a tapestry and use it to slow your descent as you see the pirates do with sails in the movies. You must also string many of these moves together to get through areas, such as ending a wall run with a leap to a column. All of the moves feature absolutely great animations, making for fluid, life-like, and “realistic” moves.