Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is a third-person action-adventure puzzle-platforming video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and released in North America November 2004 across most major platforms. It was published by Ubisoft in western territories and Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is, chronologically the second game in The Sands of Time Trilogy. Canonically, Warrior Within continues the story of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Battles of Prince of Persia. Seven years after the events of The Sands of Time, The Prince has been hunted a creature of fate, known as the Dahaka, a timeline guardian who attempts to kill the Prince for unleashing the Sands of Time to restore order. The Prince travels to the Island of Time to prevent their creation and alter his fate once again.
Announced in Spring of 2004, Warrior Within was released across PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation Portable and Microsoft Windows between November and December of that year. Two mobile phone games were developed and published in North America by Gameloft in 2010. Warrior Within received positive reviews for its revamped gameplay upon release from major gaming websites and saw increased sales, but failed to critical expectations and was panned for its darker tone, violence and depiction of its female characters.
The success of Warrior Within led to the sequel, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, the end of The Sands of Time Trilogy. In 2005 and 2010 Ubisoft Montreal produced two midquels to The Sands of Time and Warrior Within: Battles of Prince of Persia (December 6, 2005) for the Nintendo DS and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (May 18, 2010) for seventh generation consoles. On November 2010 and April 2011, Warrior Within was included in the PlayStation exclusive HD Collection for The Sands of Time Trilogy.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Enemies
- 3 Levels
- 4 Gameplay
- 5 Development
- 6 Ports to other Systems
- 7 Compilation Releases
- 8 Reception
- 9 Video
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Series Navigation
- "The Old Man said to the Prince, "Your fate has been written. You will die." Enter the dark underworld of Prince of Persia 2, the sword-slashing sequel to the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Hunted by Dahaka, an immortal incarnation of Fate seeking divine retribution, the Prince embarks upon a path of both carnage and mystery to defy his preordained death. His journey leads to the infernal core of a cursed island stronghold harboring mankind's greatest fears. Only through grim resolve, bitter defiance and the mastery of deadly new combat arts can the Prince rise to a new level of warriorship - and emerge from this ultimate trial with his life."
- —Official Description
- Prince - The protagonist of The Sands of Time Trilogy, the Prince is desperate to save himself from his fated death and travels to the Island of Time to prevent his end at the hands of the Dahaka.
- Dahaka - The guardian of the timeline, the Dahaka seeks to kill the Prince to restore the order disrupted by his survival following the recapture of the Sands of Time.
- Kaileena - A by product of the Gods's creation of time, The "Empress of Time" is the "creator" of the Sands of Time. Also fated to die, she plots to kill the Prince before he can kill her.
- Shahdee - The Empress' servant, Shahdee tries to kill the Prince before he can reach the Island of Time.
The Island of Time
When the Prince was tricked into opening the Hourglass of Time, he released the Sands of Time on the world. He paid the ultimate price, losing his father and his lover, Farah, in the process of trying to recapture the Sands in the hourglass. Though he was able to undo what he had done, he was "supposed to die" as a result. Because he survived his ordeal, he was hunted by the Dahaka, a creature created by the Gods, that guarded the order of the timeline. In the Prince's efforts to trap the Dahaka, his mentor, Darius, and his mother, Mehri, were killed.
Seven years into his conflict with the Dahaka, the Prince seeks counsel from an old wise man. The Prince learns of the existence of the Island, but its location is nearly impossible to find. Thinking only of 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.
During the journey, his ship is intercepted and destroyed by Shahdee, a servant of the Empress of Time. Accompanied by a pack of Raiders, the Prince's men are killed and he is summarily defeated by Shahdee. Lost in the shipwreck, and he finds himself alone on the island. He picks a wooden stick from the wreckage of a boat to defend himself against some crows. He swears to kill Shahdee for what she has done to him and his crew.
The Prince eventually finds his way to the Fortress of Time. Shahdee tries to kill the Prince, but the Prince repels her by knocking her to the ground. After a fight with several opponents, he obtains the Spider Sword and begins chasing Shahdee through the Island until they reach a Time Portal. She goes through a Time Portal, and the Prince follows her into the Past.
Continuing his pursuit, he finds Shahdee trying to murder a woman in red. The Prince engages Shahdee once more in battle and kills her. The woman introduces herself as Kaileena, another 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 that 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. He eventually obtains the Lion Sword, an even more powerful weapon than the previous.
As the Prince explores the island, he occasionally encounters a mysterious creature known as the Sand Wraith. Additionally, he is pursued by the Dahaka, who has followed him to the Island of Time. Shortly before reaching the throne room, the Dahaka attacks the Prince and almost killed, but the Sand Wraith is killed in his place. The Dahaka then leaves without attacking the Prince, much to his confusion.
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, and 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, who was helping Kaileena save herself, believed her mission foolish. She had turned against Kaileena only to be killed by the Prince at the last second.
The Prince reluctantly fought and killed Kaileena. Returning to the present, he hoped that he has escaped his fate. However, he soon discovers that when he killed Kaileena, the Sands of Time were created from her death. Realizing that he caused the event he intended to prevent, the Prince begins to lose hope, but soon discovers the Mask of the Wraith, an instrument of time that was used by Farah's father, the Maharajah, who had visited the Island and taken the artifacts of time Fortress of Time.
When he puts on the mask, he transforms into the Sand Wraith, the dark creature he previously encountered in his journey. As the wraith, the Prince is able to coexist in a single time with his past self, explaining his past encounters with the Sand Wraith. When he reaches the point the Wraith saved the Prince from the Dahaka, he instead lets the Dahaka kill his previous self.
The Mask of the Wraith is then able to be to removed. He then returned 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. 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 life upgrades and acquired the Water Sword. The ending where the Prince wields the Water Sword is the canonical ending as it extensively affects the story of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. The ending where he does not have the Water Sword is non-canon.
Water Sword (Canon Ending)
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.
In the ending scene of the boat heading off towards Babylon, the Prince ends up sleeping with Kaileena and beginning a sexual relationship together. While in Kaileena's embrace The Prince sees a vision of Babylon under attack and Farah taken as a prisoner by an unknown enemy. In the end, the a hooded figure picks up Sharaman's crown saying and declares all that the Prince posses is rightfully his as well.
Without the Water Sword (Non-Canon Ending)
The Prince reaches the Empress and tries to convince her to come with him to the present. Kaileena refuses and attacks him. The Prince then forces Kaileena to go into the present by pushing her in a portal. When the Prince kills Kaileena, the Dahaka appears and absorbs her being into his own. The Prince assumes, with Kaileena gone, he is free from the the monster's grasp.
However, the Dahaka appears to attack him, only to take the Medallion of Time, the last relic of the Artifacts of Time. In doing so, the Prince realizes that he has achieved destroying the guardian of time and changing his fate as well. Relieved, the Prince boards his ship and prepares to go home. However, as he reaches Babylon, he finds his kingdom is under siege.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is a platformer centered on exploration and melee combat. As in the prequel, the level design revolves around navigating treacherous environments with parkour-styled moves. Unlike the prequel, the game world is highly nonlinear. The player can often return to already visited locations several times from various directions, often traversing time portals to visit the same places in the present and the past in order to find ways around obstacles which would be impassable in either time alone.
Secret areas can be found and explored to gain additional hit points and unique weapons, which culminates in discovering a weapon capable of inflicting damage on the Dahaka, unlocking the game's canon ending. In addition to normal platforming, the game also features episodes where the Prince is chased by the Dahaka and must quickly navigate trap-ridden hallways to reach safety.
The combat system has undergone a revision and allows the player to wield off-hand weapons in addition to the primary weapon. Two-hand fighting introduces numerous additional acrobatic combos to dispatch enemies with greater efficiency and brutality. Off-hand weapons have varying bonuses and penalties applied to the player's damage and hit points; they can be thrown at enemies to allow a limited form of ranged combat.
Aside from bosses, the enemies are sand creatures of varying sizes. Unlike the Sands of Time, where rounds of heavy combat are interspersed with rounds of exploration, enemies can be encountered anywhere along the way, alone and in packs; some common enemies would respawn as the player revisits locations.
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 (Southern Passage – Past) after reverting from the Sand Wraith, if the Prince chooses to proceed through the Sacrificial Altar instead of backtracking to the Throne Room the way he came, his only path leads him to Southern Passage – Present. However, the hole in the wall which the Dahaka made there earlier is impassable (even if visible), and the Prince finds himself stuck. This 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 cinematics 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.
- When performing a wall run , if the player rewinds time,the prince will sometimes make an infinite wall run until pressing the drop button.
- A similar glitch sometimes occurs in which traps sometimes become invisible making it hard to traverse
Ubisoft has released no patches to address these issues, nor offered any other solutions.
Prince of Persia: Assassin
- Main article: Prince of Persia: Assassin
Near the end of 2003, The Sands of Time creative director, Patrice Désilets was chosen by Ubisoft to begin working on a sequel to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. After a month long break from the development of The Sands of Time, Désilets expressed uncertainty about tackling another Prince of Persia game. “The problem is that a prince isn’t an action figure,” he explains. “A prince is someone who’s waiting to become king.”
Désilets and his team spent a year in pre-production formulating what would be tentatively titled Prince of Persia: Assassin. The game's concept focused on a group of player controlled bodyguards that protected a non-playable prince character. Désilets drew on inspiration from the history of Hassan-i-Sabbah, the founder of a group of assassins during the 11th Century. Désilets pitched the concept as a Prince of Persia game about an assassin. Ubisoft, however, rejected the idea because it did not focus on the protagonist of the series. Désilets and the original team who developed The Sands of Time moved on from the project and began formulating what would become 2007's Assassin's Creed.
During the spring of 2004, rumors began to circulate that a sequel to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was in development following the reports of Ubisoft's third quarter financial results. March 4, 2004, during the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, Ubisoft Vice President of Marketing Tony Kee confirmed to GameSpot.com that a second Prince of Persia game was in development. Tony Kee stated a tentative release date for the sequel was Christmas of 2004. IGN.com attempted to secure story details from the developer, Ubisoft reframed from comment. That same day, Jerry Bruckheimer bought the film rights to the Prince of Persia licence and Jordan Mechner signed on to produce both the story and the script.
Months following the March confirmation, reports that Ubisoft would be presenting the sequel to the The Sands of Time at the 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2004) began to circulate. April 2004, Ubisoft confirmed that "Prince of Persia 2" would be among the games they would present during E3 2004. Prince of Persia May 6 2004, "Prince of Persia 2" was officially announced as a game in-development by Ubisoft president and CEO, Yves Guillemot. "We intend to build on that masterpiece," said Guillemot, referring to The Sands of Time. Ubisoft Montreal was named the studio behind the development of the game. When speaking on the story for the game, Guillemot stated that "Prince of Persia 2" would take on a "darker tone" than its predecessor. Additionally he stated that the game would include a "brand-new, free-flow combat system" and "a variety of weapons" for the Prince to use.
According to Warrior Within's lead producer, Bertrand Helias, their intention with the sequel was to change the tone and style of the game, but retain what made The Sands of Time successful. To do this, Helias decided the team in charge of Warrior Within needed to change the art direction to create a different type of "immersion". Warrior Within's illustrator, Nicholas Bouvier chose to move the sequel away from the Oriental style of The Sands of Time, instead going for a more "fantastic" and "Gothic" style to create a sharper and more aggressive environment for the game. Among the inspirations cited for the look of Warrior Within are, The Lord of the Rings, Silent Hill, Tim Burton, "Near East history", Mesopotamia, Babylon and the The Hanging Gardens.
About 60% of the game's development team had previously worked on Sands of Time.
A brunt of the game's development was focused on retooling the combat system based on the complaints received about the combat in The Sands of Time. Pier-Luc Papineau, the level designer for Warrior Within, centralized the time traveling aspect created for The Sands of Time in its sequel through its level design. Each environment in the game is modeled on the basis of the "past" and the "present", decrepit and bleak environments of the Island of Time progressively become the opposite whenever the Prince uses the Time Portals located throughout the Island of Time. The past environments were constructed first as the base levels, then the second.
The "Free Form Fighting System" was built around the variety of weapons the Prince could use in the game. A number of sixty three weapons were often times designed as perishable to maintain variety during combat. Platforming segments in the Fortress of Time itself were varied using the past and present environment creation. Missing or fragmented paths in the "past" would differ radically when the Prince traveled back to the present. The environment of the Fortress of Time was deliberately designed so that players could become lost in any given area.
Lead Artist Designer, Mikel Labat states that the unifying vision of Warrior Within was to design the game so that players sense the "fear" and "oppressive" atmosphere of the game's environment. The treatment of Warrior Within was considered by its developers "darker and more mature". Monochromatic color tones were used to maintain consistency in game levels and to give the Island of Time a "realistic look".
With regard to character design, Labat wanted the design a new look that was consistent with the Prince's appearance in The Sands of Time. He presumably used cues from his own tattoo body art and modeled the darker look of the Prince to suggest a "maturity" and "evolution" of a darker character who was "a real warrior, always ready for a fight". The armor of the Prince reflected his self confidence and the peril he faced as a man fated to die. Labat's intention with the character design of the Prince in Warrior Within was to inspire anger and rage in the player meant to connect with the Prince's plight.
The same character design ideas were used for the enemies featured in Warrior Within, who were also meant to appear "fierce and frightening", reflecting their bleak environment. In an interview with IGN.com, Yannis Mallat described the enemies the Prince faces on the Island of Time "human-like" and "fantasy-like" creatures unaffected by the Sands of Time that played into the diversity of the Prince's warrior abilities. The Prince could use two sword during combat, which allowed the playable to attack the enemies confronted in the game in a way they desired.
With Jordan Mechner preoccupied with writing the story and script for The Sands of Time adaptation, he was not involved with the production of Warrior Within. Following the competition of The Sands of Time, creative director, Patrice Désilets and the original "Team PoP" begin working on a concept that would eventually become Assassin's Creed. Writing duties were left to Corey G. May and Michael Wendschuh while Jean-Christophe Guyot was made Creative Director of Warrior Within.
During production of Warrior Within, producer Yannis Mallat wished to address the minimal complaints garnered toward The Sands of Times regarding the "lack" of consequence the Prince faced using the Dagger of Time. The Sands of Time ended with the consequences of the Prince's actions (his father and Farah's death, the creation of the Sand Creatures) undone by the "Grand Rewind". The team working on the story of Warrior Within felt the Prince should have died because he meddled with the Sands of Time. Additionally, players also felt the tone of The Sands of Time "was too lighthearted to be an action title", citing that the Prince's "heavy burden placed upon his shoulders" clashed with the tone and theme of the game.
As such, visual, narrative and gameplay mechanics were changed to meet the complaints. Warrior Within reshapes the consequences of the Prince's actions, creating a narrative plot point that states the Prince is fated to die for tampering with the Sands of Time. The Prince must reach the Island of Time, the place where the Sands of Time were created, to prevent his predetermined death. The Prince becomes a violent, self-serving character, determined to cheat the death he was predetermined to suffer. Additionally, Warrior Within opted to replace the romantic subplot of The Sands of Time with characters such as Kaileena and Shahdee, who were designed to resemble "sexed-up vixens in g-strings", which was one of the elements outside of the violence that earned the franchise its first first M-rating.
The theme of Warrior Within deals heavily in the repercussions of consequences and the idea of defying fate. As a character meant to restore order to any given timeline, the Dahaka character represents the persistence of the fate the Prince wishes to escape. The Prince trained to become a master swordsman to better face his opponent on the battlefield.
Lead Sound Designer, Johnathan Pilon presumably worked with Inon Zur, the composer and writer for the music featured in the Warrior Within. The game featured heavy guitar riffs and more music than The Sands of TIme. The Nu-Metal band, Godsmack, were also featured in the game to "compliment" the "dark and mature" tone of Warrior Within. "I Stand Alone" and "Straight Out of Line" would play during combat segments of the game. November 2004, it was reported that Italian actress, Monica Bellucci was cast as Kaileena. Noted voice actor and producer, Robin Atkin Downes, replaced Yuri Lowenthal as the Prince.
Ports to other Systems
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was developed as a multi-platform game, made available to all four sixth generation consoles during its initial release in November of 2004 and the PC December 2004. As with The Sands of Time, each version of Warrior Within varied depending on the console. Graphically speaking, the Xbox (the only version of the game to support a widescreen) and Nintendo GameCube featured higher resolution textures opposed to the PlayStation 2 release, which featured low resolution textures.
The Xbox version of Warrior Within differed from the PlayStation 2, Gamecube and PC versions by way of online content. Players could compete with other plays in time attacks and online "survival" arenas. Player scores were updated on Leaderboards provided by Xbox Live. The GameCube featured a minor problem with re-positioning environmental camera; players were required to toggle the d-pad of the GameCube controller twice, going in and out of landscape mode, to fix the camera. Additionally, like The Sands of Time, the GameCube version of Warrior Within suffered from low audio quality. The PC port of Warrior Within featured a "less intuitive" control set up for an analog controller and a combot list that would not function properly.
- Main article: Prince of Persia: Revelations
The PlayStation Portable version of Warrior Within was re-branded Prince of Persia: Revelations. The game was developed by Pipeworks Studios and and published by Ubisoft. Prince of Persia: Revelations was released on December 6, 2005 for and included additional content including four new areas not available in the original release.
- Main article: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (Mobile)
The mobile version of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was developed by Gameloft and published by Ubisoft. Released in 2004, The mobile version of the game featured gameplay modified to suit mobile phones and vastly different environment settings and combat.
- Main article: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (iOS)
Following the initial "end" of The Sands of Time Trilogy, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, were featured in two "compilation" releases for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PC. The first, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Trilogy was initially released a year following the release of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, October 27, 2006 in Europe. It was later released in the North America, January 12, 2009 on the PC. November 21, 2008, all three games later were released on the Valve Corporation platform, Steam.
Prince of Persia Trilogy HD Collection also included all three console games as a part of PlayStation 3's Classics HD collection. The remastered collection was released on November 19, 2010 on Blu-ray in PAL regions. The Sands of Time was later released in North America as downloadable titles only for the PlayStation Network's store November 16, 2010. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within followed December 16, 2010. The Blu-ray version was originally planned for a March 22, 2011 release, but the collection then ended up being delayed until April 19, 2011.
Warrior Within was officially announced during the 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo under the working title "Prince of Persia 2". August of 2004, a leaked list of upcoming Fall games from Nintendo listed "Prince of Persia 2" as Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. The name was confirmed as official by Ubisoft September 1, 2004.Ubisoft promoted Warrior Within during the Game Stars Live exhibition alongside their other upcoming titles, from September first through the fifth.
During the production of the game, the official website for the game went live in October of 2004. In addition, a playable demo of the ship level for all versions of the Warrior Within was made available to the playing public. The game was originally set for release November 15, 2004. However, Ubisoft delayed the game by two weeks, resetting its release to November 30, 2004. October 6, 2004, Ubisoft announced that, beginning from October 8, 2004, that if players pre-ordered Prince of Persia: Warrior Within for any of the sixth generation consoles and PC, they would receive a thirty six page artbook.
November 19 2004, the code for the Warrior Within was finalized and the game was certified "gold", meaning Ubisoft could prepare the game to ship for the holiday season. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was released in North America November 30, 2004 for all sixth generation consoles. By December 2004, Warrior Within shipped over a 1.8 million units in two weeks. Warrior Within was later released in Japan in October of 2005.
Critical reviews of Warrior Within ranged from positive to mixed. In general, GameRankings and Metacritic gave it 91.75% for the mobile version; and 72.33% and 72 out of 100 for the iOS version. 85.57% and 83 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version; 84.97% and 83 out of 100 for the Xbox version;
It was commonly agreed among reviewers that the platforming and adventure elements of the game were equal to or exceeded those of its predecessor.   The revamped combat system and better integration of combat sequences into the gameplay were also praised, although a review of the GameCube version by GameSpy found the combat and platforming in the game "still uninteresting". Warrior Within also contained more content than The Sands of Time, taking anywhere from 15–20 hours to complete.
Tyler Minarik of PlayStation Lifestyle reviewed the game, stating that, "Despite Sands of Time having some of the best narrative and plot points in the series, the next entry, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within makes large improvements in just about every other facet of the game. Warrior Within introduces us to a desperate, angry Prince, who has spent the seven years after the conclusion of Sands of Time being chased by an unstoppable monster, known as the Dahaka."
Detroit Free Press gave the Xbox version four stars, "The prince has gone from an "Aladdin"-style teenager to a grim, angry young adult. He's even more beautifully drawn than before, and this year's installment adds a much better combat system." The Sydney Morning Herald gave the game four stars out of five, saying, "Exploring the labyrinthine citadel is rewarding, although backtracking and frequent deaths can be frustrating."
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was a stylistic departure from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Most criticism of the game centered around this departure, as the core platforming gameplay is virtually untouched. While The Sands of Time was met with critical acclaim, its sales were considered lackluster by the company. Ubisoft revamped the appearance of the series for a "broader appeal", which increased sales, but decreased general opinion. GameSpot criticized the game's uneven difficulty progression and numerous glitches and bugs. In a review by PC World Canada, Warrior Within was ranked it as the ninth worst game of all time.
During the production of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Jordan Mechner explained that the Prince was designed in a manner in which the character would differ from the typical muscle-bound protagonist and would rely more on his athletic abilities to solve puzzles and navigate dangerous terrain.[note 1] Additionally the Prince's affable and sarcastic attitude was a marker of his personality. In Warrior Within, the Prince has become an "anti-hero" branded with tattoos. He cares only for himself and is overly violent and aggressive. When attacked by Shahdee in the first level, the Prince calls her a "Bitch". As the Sand Wraith, when the Dahaka chases the Wraith out of the library, the Prince hopes for the deity's death and calls him a "Bastard". In a December 2005 interview with Wired Magazine covering the grievances of developers who dislike changes made in games they created, Jordan Mechner stated that, "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". Jordan Mechners absence in the game's production was a likely reason for the drastic changes in aesthetic, theme and characterization.
Ubisoft explained that the drastic changes to the character were meant to be a marker of his and the game's maturity, that the being stalked by the Dahaka for seven years led to his darker personality. The team developing the game agreed with the sentiment that the Prince faced no consequences for releasing the Sands of Time and wished to create game exploring that element. In the Gameboy Advanced game, Battles of Prince of Persia, the death of his mother Mehri, was meant to be a contributing factor in his darker turn, however, she never mentioned in the core game for games proceeding Warrior Within. Penny Arcade parodied the Prince's more aggressive and Gothic character in a comic strip, that believed he was reduced to a "cookie cutter brooding tough guy with zero personality."
Other arguments against Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and its changes compared to the The Sands of Time, was reduction of character interaction. The Prince has no companion and travels through the Island of Time on his own. He only interacts with Kaileena during cinematics and kills Shahdee early on in the game. Similarly, there were complaints against increased levels of blood and violence in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. In The Sands of Time, the player fought Sand Creatures who were devoid of human biology and unable to bleed. In Warrior Within the Sand Creatures fought by the Prince bleed when they are struck or cut in half. The New York Times reviewed the game, stating that, "The tone of the game has gone from an Arabian Nights fantasy to something akin to a Marilyn Manson music video. In dark and grimy settings, the once gallant prince curses and jeers as he swings his sword at demons whose decapitations are lovingly shown in slow motion to a soundtrack of screeching guitars."
Another complaint against Warrior Within was the absence of "Persian-influenced music" from The Sands of Time. In it's place, primarily during combat, was a Nu-Metal-influenced soundtrack. The game's main musical leitmotif is Godsmack's "I Stand Alone" (a song known for its inclusion in the film, The Scorpion King) and "Straight Out Of Line" is used in the credits.
Kaileena and Shahdee's design made them the target of criticisms of sexual objectification of female characters. Kaileena and Shahdee are presented in the game wearing explicitly revealing clothing and armor, their bodies are exploited or empathized during their interactions with the Prince. [note 2] Eurogamer and Gamasutra notes that the game lost much of its charm by making the game's visuals grimier, the story less involving and mature compared to Sands of Time, and the addition of blood and scantily-clad female characters was in poor taste.[note 3]
Kaileena was designed by Ubisoft developers to be a sexually alluring. She wears a revealing red outfit akin to that of a monokini, adorned with two belts and long red cloth covering her lower back half and scarf-esque drapery around her arms. During most in-game and cinematic scenes between herself and the Prince, emphasis is placed her upper body.[note 4] Where Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time featured suggestive themes and mild sexuality between Farah and the Prince, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within contained an explicit, but awkwardly animated scene of sexual content between the Prince and Kaileena.
Shahdee's armor is counted among the numerous female characters in video games designed with impractical armor. In particular, her armor has been criticized for being little more than a "metal thong" that provides no protection for her body. Her introduction in the opening cinematic focuses not on Shahdee but her exposed bottom. During the final boss battle with Shahdee, the warrior will taunt the Prince with by slapping her bottom repeatedly until her life bar is severely depleted.
- Jordan Mechner: "We always knew he was going to be a really agile, acrobatic kind of guy. He's not muscle bound, he's more of a kind of clever trickster."
- "Again, let us not forget that this inability does not extend to "sexy" and "mature" content as can be found in such laudable titles as Warrior Within and The Witcher, games whose "mature" sexual explorations often fell flat on their faces."
- "Then we go to the Warrior Within. Where the Prince is now wearing body armor and the first female shown is wearing a chain mail breastplate and a thong. Somewhere I think the wires got crossed with that decision. From the article, it talked about how it's ok to dress female characters to be seductive when the time is right. I highly doubt someone entering a giant battle would decide to wear nothing but a bra to cover her chest."
- "I'm not offended by Kaileena's breasts, it's just that they remind me of everything that was wrong with Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within. Here's a tip for anyone writing video games (or indeed producing any other kind of art): Darkness does not equal depth, unless you're talking about depth of cleavage."