Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Rule one, better swordfighting. Rule two, darker characters. Rule three, the same amazingly athletic gameplay we've taken for granted every other time we played the first Prince of Persia. Without a doubt, all three of these goals have been achieved, but not always in a satisfying way. This time around, the Prince is pursued by the evil Dahaka, a creature unleashed when he opened the Sands of Time during the events from the first Prince of Persia. This creature, sent to defend the timeline, means to kill the Prince and restore the timeline. Tasking himself with destroying the Sands of Time to prevent this all from ever happening, the Prince sets out on yet another adventure, this time packing the angsty rebellion of a teenager along the way.
In my opinion, the most crucial difference between this game and the first is the combat system. Much smoother, featuring more options than the last, you can not only dual wield weapons but also steal them from your opponents, and string together combos that range from a series of wicked slashes to a leaping strike that jumps over the opponent and then decapitates them after you land. My only real complaint is of the AI opponents, who are not only vicious and capable, but frequently seem to resist all but the most specific fighting strategy. For a game that's designed to be flexible, giving you the choice of how to fight, I did get the feeling of being hemmed into a pretty specific block, evade, attack pattern. The puzzle solving is pretty much the same as ever, and in my book, that's okay. It was solid to begin with.
Graphically, Prince of Persia is still amazing good looking. The cutscenes are particularly nice looking, with incredibly realistic cloud and water effects. While audio doesn't dominate this title, it doesn't get skimped on either, so you've got your bases covered there too.
All in all, this title was a tad annoying with its combat, and as with Ninja Gaiden. For my money, if you can overcome that, it's definitely worth a shot.