Two Steps forward in gameplay, several steps back in Story-
Prince of Persia: Warrior within is the sequel to The Sands of time and the dark middle chapter in the Sands of Time Trilogy.
The plot can be somewhat confusing if you have not played The Sands of Time. The story begins with the Prince being hunted by the Dahaka, a living embodiment of destiny. The Prince was supposed to die when he unleashed the Sands of Time and by changing the path of history has cheated his fate. The Dahaka hunts the Prince in order to correct history. This leads the Prince to travel to the Island of time and kill the Empress of time before she can create the sands of time, thus changing history again so that the Dahaka will leave him alone. The games story does improve as it goes on and features two possible endings. unfortunately the way that these endings are achieved is a bit trivial(Its to do with hidden parts of levels) and its unlikely that you would get the real ending on your first playthrough.
The gameplay also follows on from The Sands of Time and improves upon many aspects.
The Platforming is more or less the same, With the Prince gaining some new moves such as being able to ride down curtains.
The game also features some new and improved deathtraps to challenge the player as well as the unique Dahaka chase sequences in which you must escape from the Dahaka, completing a fast series of platforming sections with little room for error.
A focus on Combat is the huge difference between Warrior Within and Sands of Time And the Improvements are very noticable and positive. The combat system has far more Depth than it did in Sands of Time and enemies are no longer killed using specific combos but have actual health now. The Prince has a much larger and more deadly arsenal of moves he can use in combat. As with the Darker tone of the game, The Prince is now able to finish off his foes with horrible mutilation attacks that involve decapitations and limbs and torsos being sliced apart.
A key difference between Warrior Within and The Sands of Time is the changes that have been made to the time manipulation machanic. The Prince has a Medallion of time as opposed to the Dagger in the first game, this means that while he is able to hold far Less Sands at any moment in time than the original, he also has a much larger array of abilities he can use with the medallion. This lack of sands can lead to some moments of immense frustration as you lack Sands required to complete a puzzle and are constantly running out of Sands.
The difference in tone between Warrior Within and the Sands of Time is very much felt in the Visual and Audio elements of the game. The game uses a color palette of primarily red, black and grey which is a strong contrast to the vibrant colors of the original. The audio elements such as the soundtrack have completely changed from the original, the original featured fantastic music that was well within the context of the game. Warrior Within features emo and death metal music, which really detracts from the game experience.
Multiple times throughout this review i have directly compared Warrior Within to The Sands of Time, this is because Sands of Time was such a brilliant game and Warrior Within throws away a lot of what made that game brilliant for a more Darker Badass Prince and lot more Gore, Violence and Swearing. It does on a gameplay level, improve upon the Sands of Time in almost all respects, its a shame that the most important parts of Sands of Time were taken out of this game, its Story and Characters feel more hollow and gamelike than they did in its predecessor.