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Welcome back Retro gaming enthusiasts - to another exciting edition of "Retro Prince of Persia". Last time, as you'll recall, we examined the first in the new(er) Prince of Persia series, the Sands of Time.
This time, we'll be looking at the sophomore attempt by the Ubisoft team - Warrior Within. For whatever reason, riding off the success of the first game, the team decided that the series needed yet another reboot. This was probably the worst decision they ever made regarding the series. Whatever good will they had garnered from the first game was instantaneously lost with the direction of the second game.
The second game took the series in a much "darker" direction - which is usually code for the developers trying desperately to make the game "edgy", but failing miserably. The gameplay became increasingly better, however. New weapons were added apart from the Prince's dagger, which could now be equipped in your off-hand, leaving you at times defenseless, with only the dagger to count upon. The weapons broke (somewhat realistically) and you could always kill a new enemy to gain a new weapon. The finishing moves were added to the game in an attempt to make the game even more Mature and appealing to the younger kids who couldn't buy it.
The time mechanic remained essentially unchanged, and that was for the better. The game introduced segments where the prince would desperately try to run away from a beast known only as the Dahaka. This would be a good time to talk about the story.
The second game featured a pretty interesting story, taking place seven years after the Prince's defeat of the Vizier at the end of Sands of Time. The Prince is then consequently hunted by the Dahaka, or the guardian of the timeline. Making his way to the Island of Time, he hopes to get an audience with the Empress of Time. The story gets incredibly complex when the prince kills the Empress of Time and unleashes the Sands of Time, setting in motion all the events that he worked so hard to stop during the first game. At this point, he gains control of the "Wraith Mask", which allows a user to coexist dimensionally in the same time-line as their former self, and stops himself from killing the Empress, taking her back to his empire in order to live a life of peace.
The game was criticized at the time for a number of issues. The darkness of the game didn't lend itself to the POP universe, lending to it a negative image in the mind of long-time fans. Furthermore, the gameplay elements - while innovative - weren't all brilliantly executed, leading to some segments that were frustratingly difficult. Finally, the convoluted storyline was incredibly difficult to follow - even if you were paying more attention than the usual gamer.
Leading from their quasi-perfection, Ubisoft quickly learned that their new direction wasn't appreciated. That's why when you join us next time, we'll take a look at how their hard-earned lessons aided the development of the final game of the trilogy - The Two Thrones.