Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is a video game and sequel to the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Released for Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube and Microsoft Windows on December 2, 2004, Warrior Within was developed and published by Ubisoft.
The game adds several new features to the base of its previous installment, the Sands of Time. Specifically, the options in combat are expanded, with the lack of the Dagger of Time, dual weapon wielding becomes a far more important part of battles thanks to the ability to steal enemies' weapons. Warrior Within has far darker tone than its predecessor with higher amounts of blood, sexuality and swearing and received a "Mature" rating from the ESRB due to the adult oriented content.
The game found greater sales success, though lower critical acclaim than its predecessor. As a result, a third game was produced, completing the Sands of Time Trilogy. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones was released on November 30, 2005. A port of Warrior Within was done by Pipeworks, under the name Prince of Persia: Revelations, and was released on December 6, 2005 for Sony's PlayStation Portable. The port includes additional content including three new areas not available in the original release.
Seven years after the Prince used the Sands of Time to turn back time and rewrite history, he finds himself hunted by the Dahaka, the guardian of the timeline. Because the Prince escaped his fate, the Dahaka chases the Prince to ensure that he dies so order is restored to the timeline.
Seeking counsel from an old wise man, the Prince learns of the existence of the Island of Time, the birthplace of the Sands of Time, governed by the Empress of Time. At the time Prince arrives to seek advice from the old man, the Tower of Babylon is starting to grow up from the ground as seen in one of the Warrior Within cinematics. Thinking only of himself and his survival, the Prince sets sail for the Island to prevent the Sands of Time from ever being created, under the belief that the Dahaka will have no reason to hunt him if he does so.
Many obstacles attempt to prevent the Prince from reaching the Island and his goal. First, his ship is attacked by an army led by a mysterious woman in black named Shahdee. The Prince faces her and during the ensuing combat she manages to throw him overboard. His ship sinks and the entire crew perishes. The Prince, however, manages to survive and drifts ashore on the island.
Wandering further into the island, he re-encounters Shahdee, whom he pursues deep into the fortress of the island. By doing so, the Prince comes across a portal, where he is sent into the past. Continuing his pursuit for Shahdee, he finds her trying to murder an unknown woman in red. The Prince engages Shahdee once more in battle, kills her, and saves the woman, who he learns is Kaileena, a servant of the Empress of Time.
Denied an audience with the Empress of Time to state his case, the Prince is then faced with the task of activating two towers, which in time will open the doors to the empress' throne room. Kaileena aids the Prince by presenting to him the Serpent Sword, which will activate the bridges to reach both towers, and eventually the Lion Sword, an even more powerful weapon than the previous. As the Prince explores the island, he occasionally encounters a mysterious, dark-looking creature known as the Sandwraith. Shortly before reaching the throne room, the Prince is attacked by the Dahaka (which, until this point, had only been encountered in the present) and almost killed, but the dark creature rushes in and is killed in his place. The Dahaka then leaves without attacking the Prince. The Prince eventually succeeds in reaching the Throne Room only to discover that Kaileena is the Empress of Time. She had sent Shahdee to kill the Prince, sent him on the perilous journey to the towers, and even cursed the Lion Sword - yet the Prince did not die. Kaileena has seen her fate, which is to die at the hands of the Prince. Accepting this, her only concern is to get rid of him at any cost. Shahdee, feeling that her mission to help save Kaileena was foolish, illogical, and futile, had turned against her only to be killed by the Prince.
The Prince reluctantly fights and kills Kaileena. Returning to the present, he hopes that he has escaped his fate, but soon discovers that when he killed Kaileena, the Sands of Time were spawned from her body. Realizing that he has caused the event he intended to prevent, the Prince begins to lose hope, but soon discovers the Mask of the Wraith, which is said to have the power to defy fate. When he puts on the mask, he transforms into the Sandwraith, the dark creature he previously came across in his journey. In this state, the Prince is able to coexist in a single time with his past self, explaining his past encounters with the Sandwraith. When he reaches the point at which the Wraith saved the Prince from the Dahaka, he instead lets the Dahaka kill his previous self, causing the mask to fall off and him to return to the position he was in just before he entered the Throne Room.
The Prince decides that he may not be able to avoid killing Kaileena, but if he kills her in the present rather than the past, the Sands will not be created until after he had used them, thereby escaping his fate. The Prince confronts Kaileena again and forces her through a time portal into the present. At this point the ending forks, depending on whether or not the player has found all of the health upgrades and acquired the ultimate weapon in the game, the Water Sword. The "With the Water Sword" ending is considered the true, canon ending as it extensively effects the story of The Two Thrones, thus implying that the "Without the Water Sword" ending is the fake ending.
Without the Water SwordEdit
The Prince and Kaileena fight again and the Prince kills her again. After the fight, the Dahaka appears, taking both the body of Kaileena and the Medallion of Time. Seemingly satisfyed with having restored the fabric of time, the Dahaka dissapears with all evidence of the timelines misinterpretation. With his fate evaded, the Prince heads back to Babylon to find his city in war and turmoil. The game ends with him hearing the words of the old mistic: "Your journey will not end well. You cannot chage your fate. No man can."
With the Water SwordEdit
The Dahaka appears and heads for Kaileena. However, the Prince discovers that the Dahaka has a weakness to his Water Sword. The Prince fights the Dahaka and manages to defeat it. Having both escaped their fates, the Prince and Kaileena set sail for Babylon together, while fornicating on the ship.
The gameplay is much like the original Sands of Time game but with a few major differences. The Prince can wield two weapons and throw his secondary weapon, and pick up another one. He also has the ability to perform several combos and charge attacks. In addition, the Prince can use the environment to his advantage, such as by bouncing off of walls to attack enemies. This is because of Ubisoft's new gameplay system called the "Free-Form Fighting" system. Also, the game has two timelines. The present is the ruined and half-destroyed Island of Time and the past is the beautiful and flourishing Island of Time.The player can shift between these two periods through a column of Sand of Time, called a Sand Portal.
Jordan Mechner, creator of the Prince of Persia character, had worked on The Sands of Time, though not on Warrior Within. He made a statement about the game appearing in Wired Magazine, December 2005: "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." His absence in the game's production was a likely reason for the drastic changes.
Critical reviews of Warrior Within were generally positive, though not as positive as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. It was commonly agreed amongst popular reviewers that the platforming and adventure elements of the game were equal to, or exceeded, those of its predecessor. Warrior Within, however did receive at least one scathing review from PC World Canada, who ranked it as the ninth worst game of all time.
The revamped combat system and better integration of combat sequences into the gameplay were also praised. Lastly, Warrior Within contained more raw content than Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - taking anywhere from 12-16 hours to complete.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was a radical stylistic departure from The Sands of Time. Most criticism of the game centered around this departure, as the core platforming gameplay is virtually untouched.
The main reason behind the change was cited by Ubisoft as an attempt to garner a wider audience for the title. While Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time met with critical acclaim, it also met with lackluster sales. Ubisoft revamped the appearance of the series for a broader appeal, which increased sales, but decreased acclaim.
- The Prince, who was charming and cheerful yet unsure of himself and his abilities in The Sands of Time, has become an anti-hero. He has new tattoos and a more aggressive attitude to show this. For example, near the beginning of the game, when sliced across the face by Shahdee, the Prince yells out "you bitch!". Another time as the Sandwraith when the Dahaka chases the Wraith out of the library the Wraith slashes one of the Dahaka's tendrils. He yelled out "Die, You Bastard!". He will also yell out thoughts during combat such as "Is that the best you have to offer?"
- Increased levels of blood and gore. In The Sands of Time, the player fights creatures which seem dehydrated because of the Sands, making them unable to bleed. In Warrior Within the creatures remain much more true to their original forms, meaning they spew blood when they are struck.
- The Persian-influenced music from The Sands of Time is replaced by a Persian-influenced Hard Rock soundtrack, although both composed by Stuart Chatwood. The game's main musical leitmotif is Godsmack's I Stand Alone and Straight Out Of Line used for the credits slide. Although the new, dark approach to the game's music is suitable for the in-game fights and puzzles, as well as the new, darker prince, it was generally not appreciated by fans who were disappointed with the change of character. When the prince is not engaged in any fights, or solving a puzzle, the player can hear some well-orchestrated music that reflects the (usually quiet and lonely) environment, especially in the beginning of the game and the garden waterworks area. When the Prince engages in a fight with multiple enemies, the music changes to a hard rock track, which again reflects the environment and the type of enemies faced. Every time a boss, such as the Empress or the Griffin, is fought, the music is more traditional than hard rock.
- Over-sexualization of characters, such as Shahdee. The Sands of Time features quietly erotic scenes between the Prince and Farah, but Warrior Within has more blatant displays of eroticism.
- The player can collect items within the game in order to unlock artwork and other extras.
- The story reduces the amount of character development and interaction from The Sands of Time.
Ubisoft contests that these most changes were meant to reflect the Prince's starkly different personality, due to the Prince having to bear the weight of the Dahaka chasing him. This had a negative effect on him, and made him dark and cynical.
The game also received criticism for uneven difficulty progression and numerous glitches and bugs:
- Players have encountered a glitch dubbed the “Wraith glitch”, wherein the player is turned into the Sand Wraith character too early, usually in the chapter "Fate's Dark Hand". The skin appears similar to that of a corpse.
- The same glitch will also occasionally happen in reverse, crashing in a similar fashion before reverting the Sand Wraith to the Prince. In both cases, the player must start over, unless they have an earlier save file.
- There is a 'Ghost' glitch during the Prince's first encounter with the Crow Master. After the Crow Master's health is sufficiently depleted, the Crow Master becomes 'spiritless' but yet remains standing and attacking the Prince. The Prince can still deal it damage but cannot kill it, and he can walk though it like a ghost. This usually occurs when players attack the spiritless body of the Crow Master.
- A glitch in the Mechanical Tower can sometimes be found, where the bridge the Prince must raise to gain access to the lever that activates the tower will not rise properly or at all. This can almost always be avoided by doing the Mechanical Tower first.
- A cut scene in the "Southern Passage" does not occur. This cut scene opens a hole in a wall. If the cut scene does not occur, the hole does not appear and the player must revert to a previously saved game.
- While attempting to gain what is usually accepted as the last life upgrade; it is generally called the "Dahaka Hole" glitch.
- In "The Empress" there is also a glitch which happens when the Empress of Time breaks the wall and the player is skipped to "The Face of Time".
- In the Xbox, Gamecube and Windows version of the game, the sound in cut scenes (voice acting, music and sound effects) will sometimes either not be synchronized with the action, or not be present at all.
- At the end of the game: in the time portal room before the final combat, the sand portal sometimes fails to activate when the Prince is in it. Even with an earlier save file, the game must be started over. This "sand portal" glitch is caused by going back through a sand portal that you have already used, so if you want to avoid this glitch don't go through a sand portal more than once.
- A glitch when fighting Kaileena for a second time can be encountered under the right circumstances; if the Prince slows down time, then Kaileena slows down time, then the Prince rewinds time, then he will become four times faster than the game would normally allow, even faster than what fast forward time would allow. This glitch ruins the cutscenes in the battle, however, randomly facing and placing both the Prince and Kaileena.
- During the first encounter with a golem, at the beginning of the Machine Tower, the golem is sometimes invisible making it very hard (but not impossible) to defeat it.
- A glitch when fighting Griffon makes it invisible making it very hard to kill. But since you can see its eyes you can predict where it is.
The GameCube version seems to suffer fewer of these glitches, as stated by Gamespot: "Some technical flaws in the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions of the game also mar the experience somewhat. The Xbox version is prone to audio glitches. Certain sound effects get stuck, and, at other times, scenes that should have voice in them are cut off completely. This is a shame, because the sound effects in the game, aside from some ham-handed voice acting from the prince, are excellent and impactful. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 2 version's flaws are graphical. As a result, the game has a slightly choppier frame rate than the other versions. While it's not enough to hinder gameplay or combat, it does detract a bit from an otherwise beautiful-looking game. We didn't notice any sound or frame rate issues with the GameCube version of Warrior Within, however."
Ubisoft has released no patches to address these issues, nor offered any other solution.