Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within
Posted 27 December 2004 - 11:21 PM
I was pleased to find `Warrior` amongst the numerous bits and pieces I unwrapped on Christmas morning, and was looking forward to giving it a run through when I got back to my own place (like many on here I was visiting the folks) late on Christmas Day.
I eventually got home around 11:30pm on Christmas Day, and rather than leaving `Warrior` until Boxing Day, I thought I'd get an hour or so of late night adventuring in before wandering off for a good night's sleep.
Presentation on the game is first rate, with a wonderful high quality intro sequence, with a lovely 5.1 soundtrack (waves crash, shouts come from all direction. The works). The game starts off with the prince on a ship that's being attacked. The only choice is for your to get stuck in, repel the invaders, and fight the leader.
Graphics at the start are very good indeed, with water bursting out from holes in the sides of the boats, to flaming arrows flying across the deck from the attacking boat. I was a little surprised to be flung into so much fighting at the very start of the game, and it was a little worrying to see how many hits the first batch of enemies took. However, nothing could have prepared me for the first boss.
The first boss fight makes an appearance about 2 minutes into the game (you'll quickly use the cutscene skip to get there much quicker) and you'll be knocked sideways, not just by the sheer number of hits required to kill and difficulty level (remember, this is pretty much at the start of the game) of this boss encounter. I would say that without a doubt this boss fight is more difficult than any found in `Sands of Time`.
After seven. Yes, seven attempts at getting past this section, and getting close to hurling the pad across the room I finally do it. Was I pleased? Well, pleased in as much as I knew I wouldn't see that first section ever again, but slightly miffed that the design team had decided to put something like this in right at the start of the game.
With the battle out of the way the main section of the game opens, and the graphic quality ramps up still further. If you thought the graphics were good in `Sands`, you are in for a real treat here. It was at this point that I expected to sit back and enjoy a good section of puzzling and platforming. Sure, the killer birds from the first one were back, but I quite enjoyed giving them a few swipes to stop them bothering me.
As I continue through I find myself facing yet more battles against characters requiring loads of hits. All I want to do is get back into puzzle solving and platforming, but I'm constantly having to battle my way through fight after mind-numbing fight.
I personally felt that `Sands` had the fighting and puzzling/platforming balance spot-on. The majority of the game was indeed puzzling and platforming, with a small bit of simple fighting to break up things a little. In `Warrior`, the fighting aspect has been increased to such a degree that the game now resembles something out of the `Devil May Cry` series. There's just far too much of it, and it simply gets in the way of you progressing through the environments. In `Sands` the majority of your deaths came from your incorrect `solving` of a puzzle (either through falling too far or death by one of the many traps). In `Warrior` you'll find that the majority of your deaths come from dying whilst in a fight.
I'm a bit baffled as to what audience the game is now aimed at. The fighting sections are going to appear far too tedious to your arcade/adventure game player, and the puzzle/platforming sections are going to seem devoid of action to the beat-em-up fan.
The music is another where I completely lost as to who the target audience are. The fantastic Eastern and orchestral themes are nearly all gone (I'm only about 2 hours in, but that's certainly what I've experienced so far) and in their place are a selection of heavy metal tracks which are ok for the fight scenes, but seem to go on far, far too long. The main fighting music loop will really start to get on your nerves after only a few minutes.
I'm going to try and crack on further with this, as I'm hoping an excellent title is fighting to get out. However, my games playing time these days is sadly limited, and if I don't start getting some playability soon, I'm going to be trading this one in unfinished.
If you've not played `Sands of Time` I urge you to track down and play it at once. If on the other hand you played and enjoyed `Sands` and are expecting more of the same with `Warrior Within`, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.
Posted 31 December 2004 - 09:22 PM
Might as well start off with the bad stuff, the bugs are it's major downfall in my eyes after you've played it for a long time. I'm really glad I never came across the spoilerific bug which prematurely transforms your character if it can only be fixed by reverting to an earlier save. I pretty much never keep backup saves anymore and with 3 slots and two sisters vaguely interested in playing it I don't really have a choice in the matter. The major things that piss me off though are the way they seem to have broken stuff that felt rock solid in SOT. Although the balance beams in SOT made you feel slightly afraid you were always safe really as he would always grab after a fall. This isn't the case in WW though as occasionally beams at awkward angles will cause you to fall to your death. Brings back that fear but for the wrong reasons. The rewinding screws up weirdly sometimes too, like they are trying to simulate things happening in reverse rather than actually recording what happened. It just seems really bad that they've managed to break things that were nigh on perfect in the original.
Still, my opinion on it is generally positive, the bugs are the only major downer for me. Yeah the voice acting ain't great but we've been dealing with awful voice acting in video games for ages. The music doesn't bother me and I'm sure some of it is like a remix of the stuff in SOT. A lot of the music in that had some guitar in it, it's just been brought to the forefront for this. The actual design hasn't suffered IMO, the gardens section is vertigo inducingly gorgeous. I also like the differences between past and present and exploring both of them.
The fighting for me has improved from the first one, not a common opinion around here though. Firstly the counter attack is now actually possible to execute on a regular basis as you need to hit it just as the attack lands rather than pre-empt it and the period you can press it in seems to be longer. For those of you having problems with the first boss this is how to deal with her, you can counter her first kick after she blocks one of your attacks and just put her under a relentless assault. There's also a bigger variety of moves and less set patterns for what moves enemies will block which I was getting annoyed with by the end of SOT. The second weapon works very well for me, allowing me to dispatch enemies heads quite frequently which amuses me. I've generally found the fighting to work very well if you take it at a considered pace rather than mashing buttons at random.
And if you really can't get with it then most of the time you can run away! I was struck by how bad the respawning sections in SOT are today, there really is no point to it in a way. My sister is playing it for the first time and is quite stuck at the fight with his father, perhaps not as big a shock as Shadee on level one of WW but still a big jump in difficulty the first time you play. And I can see that she's really pissed off at SOT whereas she seemed to persevere and quite enjoy the bosses in WW (I know, sado masochism must run in the family). I just think people look at SOT with rose tinted glasses already, it's not perfect and the combat breaks the flow as much as WW if not more sometimes.
Don't really know if I have a conclusion from all this, WW is at least a game I felt like I wanted to go back to straight away as I kinda realised I hadn't fully explored some areas as I only had one health upgrade by the end (if you get them all there's apparently a different ending). I'm playing through on hard now and have found a lot more health upgrades already which I've found quite rewarding. SOT was so linear that I didn't really feel like playing it again straight away, I put off buying myself a copy of it for a long time but thought I really had to play it again to fully compare it with WW. So no it's not more of the same in terms of being like SOT and you aren't guaranteed to like it if you liked SOT but if you put a bit of effort into getting used to the new combat system then there's still a great game in there.
Posted 10 January 2005 - 11:35 PM
However, instead of the frustration I found myself enjoying the game. I was leaping around from beam to beam, backflipping, bouncing off walls, and killing all enemies with ease.
Thinking I'd obviously misjudged the game I ploughed onwards. Suddenly a cut scene appears. Two women are fighting. One, I recognise from the start of the game, and it seems she certainly not a very pleasant person as she knocks a poor girl almost over the edge....
OK, I'm back in the action and.... oh.... Game Over. OK. Thanks for warning me that this person would fall to their doom if I didn't get to them in time. Right, reload and have another go.
Ok, ok. Skip the cutscene and straight into the fight this time. Right, I've managed to lure the woman who attacked me near the start of the game away from the poor girl who was hanging off the edge. Obviously, as I distract the woman in black away, the other girl will be able to climb back up and either help me, or at the very least stop being such a liability. No. Unfortunately this girl has an inability to climb back up on to platforms, so you've got to make sure that the woman in black is kept away as far away from her as possible.
Not a problem. I'll just follow the same attack pattern I did at the start of the game. Sure, it was extremely boring, but it was the only way to get past her. So, I'm blocking. Still blocking. Errr. I seem to have been kicked across the length of the screen by her booting me. Right, so even if I'm blocking that attack can't be avoided? Great!
OK. This calls for new tactics. What I'll do is keep constantly on the move, so that when I attack her she'll be facing the other way. She'll never have time to turn around before I make contact with my blades. Eh? What's this? She's facing completely the opposite direction, I go in for the attack, and in one frame of animation (unless it's so fast that the naked eye can't detect it) she's not only managed to turn around 180 degrees, but also plonk two great swords into me and lift me up.
Game Over, Restart, Die, Game Over, Restart, Die, Turn off Xbox and read a book.
Just when I think the game is on the up, it sinks to new depths.
I normally agree with the scores in GamesTM, but to give this a 9?! What were they thinking? A 7 would be pushing this.
Posted 11 January 2005 - 10:02 AM
And if you didn't realise that the woman in red was going to fall to her doom if you didn't distract the woman in black, you really need to play more games.
This game is flawed, I'll give you that. Some of the flaws:
Although I haven't experienced any bugs myself, (apart from an invisible crow), there's plenty of reports of pretty serious showstoppers.
It's too easy to kill dudes without getting any sand for it.
Despite a much-improved fighting system, too many of the enemies are only vulnerable to a small number of attacks, which reduces what feels very free into a memory test like SoT.
And, of course, the aesthetic issue.
However, this game is in no way the disaster you're claiming.
Posted 11 January 2005 - 01:52 PM
The main problem for me these days is that as my gamesplaying time is sadly so limited, if I find something frustrating and it requires more than a few attempts to get past a certain point I'll just get cheesed off with it and play something else.
...this game is in no way the disaster you're claiming.
`Sands of Time` I enjoyed from start to finish. The game took me a few weeks to get through as I was playing it in nice bitesized chunks, but never frustrated me in the same way this has done.
I'm sure I'll come back to this in a week or two, when you'll be able to read more moaning from me
Posted 12 January 2005 - 12:28 PM
Posted 12 January 2005 - 05:11 PM
Posted 13 January 2005 - 02:04 PM
I'd pretty much agree with that, Edge gave it that didn't they? The score it's got on Metacritic is ridiculous and most of the reviews seem completely blind.
7 out of 10, in my books.
My best tactic for the woman in black is run in and slash with your standard sword until she blocks. Then you block, she always go for a spin kick and a lot of people don't seem to realise you can always counter this for another 2 hits. She might block one of the counter hits but you can counter her again. Repeat to fade...
Posted 23 January 2005 - 06:12 PM
If anyone has been holding out on this but enjoyed SOT, I'd really recommend giving it a go. The prince isn't actually all that moody, the castle setting is wonderful (and in places even more luxurious than the palace), and the 'rawk' soundtrack erm, isnt (apart from the title screen and the fighting, where I seem to remember a similarly guitar heavy score in SOT).
Its still got the whole wall running, back flipping, ledge climbing acrobatics that captured everyone's attention in the first place, but they've sorted out the combat somewhat, which was precisely everyone's cricism of 'Times. Top game.
On a side note - its so buggy! Not really show stoppingly so, but I cant remember a console release thats been so bad in a while. I've had a couple of crashes, enemies rooted to the spot and invulnerable, looping sound effects and a complete loss of sound during a cutscene.
Posted 24 January 2005 - 09:18 AM
The combat is top notch so far, but then I had no complaints with it in the first game.
Posted 02 February 2005 - 07:35 AM
It is absolutely unforgivable that the game crashes so many times. Good game but it was completely spoiled by the bugs, it came to the point that it became unplayable.
Posted 07 February 2005 - 07:06 PM
Bug-wise I had no sound in a cut scene once and two crashes. The main recurring bug was the lack of music where music should normally play - fights, Dahaka chases, etc. None of the bugs managed to halt my gameplay - I was all set to quit on the first crash so it just brought that forward, while the second crash was when reloading a save game - I just had to reboot the Xbox. But the bugs did sap a lot of the atmosphere the game was trying to create.
On the whole, the game was great and the bugs just managed to rob it of its potential. I'd have preferred less fighting, but then if I had just played on Easy mode from the off I'd have got that anyhow and enjoyed myself more. I didn't like the mixture of platforming and fighting - I'd have preferred them kept apart as they were in Sands of Time. That way I can relax and enjoy my platforming and know I'm not going to get ambushed by exploding dogs or invisible women at key points.
The plot was fairly decent, but poorly done. I hadn't a clue what was happening at times, including
which left things a little vague until the end.
The game also had far too much backtracking. Granted, there's only so much you can do with one castle but in sections where I have to go back to a point I've been before, I'd have liked alternate routes taking me there and the game forcing me down them a la Sands of Time. Some have criticised the Sands for being far too linear, but it's a better option than the half-hearted attempt at freedom on offer here. Choose one or the other, and save me getting stuck trying to remember which route leads where. The map was of no use whatsoever save for telling me I've definitely gone too far in one direction.
A lot of bad points there. But the platforming is as good as ever, the castle was beautiful and any potential sequel would do well to throw in more puzzle elements and less tedious fighting.
At least I know to play it on Easy mode.
Posted 07 February 2005 - 07:33 PM
Posted 07 February 2005 - 08:32 PM
Posted 07 February 2005 - 09:51 PM
Posted 07 February 2005 - 10:48 PM
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