Welcome to the second half … Warrior Within.

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is already half-over, but that’s how things work when you’re having fun … and even when you’re not.

Either way, there’s nothing we can do to slow down time, but there are games we can play that give the illusion of doing so. Such is the story of the Prince of Persia trilogy released by Ubisoft a decade ago for the Xbox/PS2/GameCube. I’d never played any of these three games to completion before, so, with plenty of time on my hands for the foreseeable future, I set out to finally see what they have to offer, and how well they hold up.

The most interesting aspect of the trilogy, to me, is the difference in presentation from the first game to the second (I addressed this quite a bit in this week’s edition of “Whatever,” so for more on that, I’d suggest checking the podcast at the top of the home page), but the most important thing that often goes unnoticed about the series is the refinement that takes place in its free-running. The first game, The Sands of Time, experimented with the concept of turning levels themselves into giant puzzles. The ability to rewind the game on-the-fly and immediately try again should one make a mistake really encouraged the trial-and-error gameplay, and the payoff was a huge feeling of accomplishment when you finally did make it to the end of a series of harrowing jumps and wallruns.

The second game, Warrior Within, is certainly cringe-worthy in its attempt to redefine the word “macho,” but luckily it’s still a well-designed game at heart, and that shines through more the further you delve into it. As a standalone adventure, it can be frustrating because the first game is almost like a several-hour-long tutorial for it. The level design has been ratcheted up several notches in difficulty this time around, and there’s also more of a focus on combat (which has been retooled), but the number of obstacles you must avoid and ledges you must leap to has been upped substantially. The combat can get in the way at times because of numerous back-to-back encounters without the ability to replenish your health in between, but the game never becomes so frustrating you’ll want to give up. Eventually, it hits its stride, and at this point the only things I’d say it’s missing are a better, more detailed map, and maybe a little less metal music on the soundtrack as it starts to wear thin after a bit. I’m only about 7 hours into the game – which is funny to say in an era where new games regularly clock in at around 8 hours to complete, but this game’s reportedly 15-20 hours long – so things could change for the worse, but so far, playing this series has me hoping that its rumored return comes sooner than later.

I’ll keep my progress through the trilogy updated here on my site.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.