Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is completed, and I must say that it was a bit of a disappointment. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was a stylish and entertaining game, and this sequel has many of the same qualities, but have some new problems, that deduct a lot from the quality of the experience.
The graphics are great, great atmosphere, attention to detail, and a design that is every bit as great as the first game. Like the predecessor, the frame rate is low, but it is steady, and you forget it after playing for a few minutes.
The combat controls are fluid and intuitive, however, blocking is hard to get the hang of, compared to e.g. Ninja Gaiden. And since blocking is absolutely critical for completing the game, it is very annoying. The freeform fighting system is great, you have a great variety of moves, and the ability to throw secondary weapons at enemies far away. The fight sequences are a bit reminiscent of God of War, but just not as good.
However, the combat is not the strong point of the game. As in the other games, the Prince spends most of his time climbing on narrow ledges, swinging from poles and ropes, traversing the most impossible of paths. It is a pleasure to play as well as to watch, and this part of the game is just as good as in the first game. The camera is always placed so that you have no doubt as where to go. However, on the larger scale, finding your way requires learning the level design of the whole game by heart, as the in-game map is completely useless. This was a bit of a problem for me, and I had to consult FAQs many times to find out where to go.
The atmospheric music is great, sinister and with a distinct persian feel. However, quite surprisingly, whenever an enemy is within range, the soundtrack changes to bad-ass heavy metal. The music is actually quite good (if you like that sorta thing :), but it certainly seems a bit out of place in the atmosphere of this game. The atmospheric sounds, howling wind, machinery, etc., are great, but sounds during the action sequences suffer from disabilitating problems.
The sounds during action sequences are extremely important, as the give you instant feedback to the result of an action, e.g. did your attack succeed, did you block your opponent correctly, etc. This feedback may also be provided by the graphics, by colour changes and blood, but during a 3D fight, some of the graphical feedback may be obscured. So sounds should always indicate status during a fight. This simply does not work in POP:WW. A lot of the crucial sounds are missing, such as explosions and hitting feedback sounds.
Apart from the sound issue, the game is so full of crippling glitches, that it seems the game was released way too early. The odd sliding