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Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
For: PS2, Xbox, GC, GBA, PC
Version Reviewed: GC
ESRB Rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Sexual Themes

If you'll remember, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was one of my highest reviewed games on this site, as well as the 2003 Game of the Year for multiple publications, including the Official Playstation Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Official Xbox Magazine, and PSE2. It was also voted Game of the Year by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, which is the video game industry?s equivalent of the Oscars. The Sands of Time was notable for it?s then-innovative use of time as a game play element, as well as usage of absolutely gorgeous graphics and environments to create a very unique atmosphere. It was also notable that the game used strong story-telling elements in a third person action/adventure, as well as controls that enabled pick-up-and-play to anyone who wished to play the game. Unfortunately, that was not many of the public. Even though The Sands of Time was the sequel to one of the most high-profile franchises in the ?90s (Jordan Mechner?s seminal Prince of Persia for the Apple II), it did not sell particularly well, only breaking the million copies sold mark when publisher Ubisoft decided to bundle it with the original Splinter Cell. Ubisoft?s solution to this was to make the game more ?hardcore?, more ?mature? since that is what the gaming public wants. After all, look at the success of Grand Theft Auto 3 (over 20 million copies sold). It works. So, they pumped up everything. The result: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.

Violence

Warrior Within, although puzzle-based, is still remarkably violent. The publishers marketed the Free-Form Fighting System, which they styled SSX with swords. It enables fluid movement with fighting, using throws, grapples, slashes, and stabs, as well as the environment to dispose of enemies. Some of this is actually pretty cool. Some rooms have pillars that allow you to spin around them and slash or kick enemies that are near you, resulting in multiple instances of Hong Kong action movies style moves. The Prince has turned into a kind of dark version of the Ultimate Spider-Man?he?s bouncing everywhere all the timeAll of the enemies are non-human, or formerly human. In short, they are beings that are altered by the Sands of Time into a shadow of their former selves. (-3.5 pts.) Warrior Within is also suitably bloody for a game that has this level of Mature rating. Much like in the first game, you can decapitate enemies, but this time, instead of Sand that pours out, blood does. It?s not comical like Mortal Kombat or GTA, but it is graphic. (-1.5 pts.) Body parts can also be visibly detached, such as beheadings and slicing a body in half. This is only done to non-human characters. (-1.5 pts) It should be noted that the blood can be turned into Sand, reducing the gore level of the game significantly. (+1 pt.) Overall Violence Score: 4.5/10

Language

This game isn?t exactly heavy on dialogue, but what bad language is there is suitable for prime time. This means that the word b*****d is used once or twice, and there might be a couple of d**ns in there. The Prince also calls one of the nefarious female characters b***h once. (-3 pts.) There is no sexual dialogue in the game. (-0 pts.) Overall Language Score: 7/10

Sexual Content/Nudity

There are two main female characters in this game, and both dress in revealing clothing. One of them, Shahdee, wears very revealing lingerie attire. (-3.5 pts.) Another, Kaileena, wears very skimpy dresses that accentuate her cleavage. (-1.5) There is no other sexual content in this game. Overall Sexual Content/Nudity Score: 5/10

Occult/Supernatural

The island upon which the vast majority of the game takes place is called the Island of Time, and the ruins built upon that are called the Castle of Time. Within these ruins are warp zones which transport the Prince between the time periods in which the game takes place. These environs are entirely supernatural. (-3 pts.) The Empress of Time and the Prince both have the ability to bend time to their whim?for example, if the Prince dies, he can reverse time and undo his mistake (hopefully), as long as he has adequate reserves of the Sands of Time. The Empress, too, uses time to bend events, travel between eras, and undo various deeds. These powers are the stuff of legend, but not occultic. There is also a massive beast spawned by time called the Dahaka. It is not occultic in any way, but merely supernatural. (-1.5 pts.) Overall Occult/Supernatural Score: 5.5/10 Cultural/Moral/Ethical is not a problem in this game, since it takes place in a fantastic environment with fantasy ideas. Also, the game is very linear, so there are no choices to be made about what the player can or cannot do. Overall score: 10/10

Game Play

This game is intense, fun, and captured my attention from the very beginning. Warrior Within is confined to a linear story, and does not have different levels or anything that goes off the beaten path?however, it does have tons of unlockables, plus multiple difficulty settings that will challenge the player throughout. Overall Game Play Score: 17/20

Graphics

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is simply stunning. The graphics are a leap up from The Sands of Time, providing even larger, more complex environments for the player to figure out and ponder over. Animations are also very well done, with the Prince animating fluidly and the enemies each having several different moves, and not seeming like carbon-copies of each other. Each FMV (full motion video) cinematic is not generated with the game engine, and is pre-rendered; still, they all look excellent. Overall Graphics Score: 10/10

Sound

For the most part, the sound is the same, except now Ubisoft has added an extra edge, in the form of n?-metal band Godsmack. So whenever you run from the Dahaka, one of their songs plays, and another one plays at the end of the game. Other than that, the music is great; Godsmack?s brand of rock just doesn?t fit the game. The voice acting is phenomenal, with Monica Belucci providing an inspired performance as Kaileena. All of the sound effects are spot on, and are suitably dark for this game. Overall Sound Score: 8/10

Stability

This usually isn?t that much of a problem for console games. However, in Warrior Within, I ran into a bug that was just a little annoying, but looking back, great that it happened. When the Dahaka chases you, as mentioned above, one of Godsmack?s songs plays. Well, due to a certain glitch in the game, when you reach a certain point in the song (usually after the awesome beginning guitar solo) the music cuts out. So, you end up running in silence, which is a welcome reprieve. Overall Stability Score: 4/5

Controls/Interface

Prince of Persia returns with its simple, streamline interface, user-friendly controls, and low learning curve. It is possible to customize the controls to some extent, but with controls this friendly, why would you want to? Overall Controls/Interface Score: 5/5

Bonus Points

Warrior Within shows the importance of not messing with something that you cannot control (time) and the consequence of evil on the world. (+3 pts.)

Overall Score: 79/100 C+

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Michael Chrichton

    For the most part I agree with your review except for one thing.You say that Warrior Within is confined to a linear story.Then you say the levels don't go of the beaten path.I am wondering what you mean by that?Since there are several paths you have to take but it is up to the player which path he takes first.That is if he knows his or her way.Also Prince of Persia is not a RPG where it is more common to have sub plots.It's an action adventure where the focus lies on the game play and story is less important.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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