Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: May 18, 2010
The latest installment in the highly-popular Prince of Persia franchise comes along with the recently released summer blockbuster movie adaptation, but they are not the same. The best decision that Ubisoft could have been made with this new game is to pass over the opportunity to use the star-power of Jake Gyllenhaal, and stand strong in the world and stories that they’ve created.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands isn’t a prequel or a sequel but an interquel, taking place in between Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. The story follows our nimble prince as he heads to the palace of his brother, Malik. When he arrives, he sees that the palace is under attack by some treasure-seeking enemies. After meeting up with Malik, the prince discovers his brothers intent to unleash the mystical Solomon’s army to help him in defeating his palace’s attackers and save his people. The prince insists this is not a good idea considering the uncertainty of a force such as Solomon’s army, but Malik proceeds with confidence.
As expected, when Malik summons Solomon’s army things go wrong immediately. The army rises from the sand and turns everyone within the palace into statues of sand with the exception of Malik and the prince, who both end up in possession of a half of the seal that brought the army to them. Later it is discovered that the only way to stop the army is to reunite the seal’s two halves, but with Malik becoming drunk with the powers he’s gaining with each foe he slays, it’s up to the prince alone to find a way to unite the two halves of the seal and stop Solomon’s army.
As with all Prince of Persia games, The Forgotten Sands consists of three key elements: acrobatic navigation, puzzle solving, and combat. Most of the time,you’ll use your many talents to climb, swing, and jump all over the place to get to the next area. These types of games are obviously a little unrealistic in terms of architecture, but that’s also where a lot of the fun comes from. The game does a great job of allowing you to smoothly transition from obstacle to obstacle with ease. There are still times where you’ll miss your mark or jump in the wrong direction, but you have the Sands of Time ability to rewind just a bit and remedy your mistake. You’ll also inherit special abilities along the way that will help you to navigate, such as the power to freeze water for a period of time, allowing you to use it as a pole to swing from or a wall to climb.
As you collect new skills, it will get more and more tricky to get to the next place, and you’ll have to really nail your timing to pull off certain maneuvers. Thankfully, because the controls aren’t complex at all and Ubisoft did such a great job on smooth transitioning, this all comes together quite nicely and helps the game to be as entertaining as it is.
The puzzles can sometimes seem really tricky, but once you take a better look at them and give them a go, they seem to just make sense and solve themselves. This was a high point for me; I enjoy puzzles in games such as this, but dislike when they’re so challenging that they bring the flow of the game to halt. The one’s you’ll find here are amusing enough to shake the gameplay up a little, but still let you move forward in the story without too much delay.
Combat consists of a basic button-pushing setup with the ability to add new powers and levels to your pre-existing arsenal. Combat is not constant as you’ll be moving in sections from enemies to obstacles to puzzles in an attempt to keep things fresh. When you do find yourself in battle, you’ll usually find yourself face-to-face with a large number of foes to deal with. Despite the numbers being large, once you get down the different movements and attacks, you shouldn’t have too many issues proving that you’re the superior warrior.
I do want to talk about two things regarding the ending…and no worries, no spoilers will be spoken. First of all, I just have to tell you all that if you play this game, make sure you sit there until all credits finish rolling at the end. Once you finish the final boss fight, there’s a cinematic scene to wrap things up, but this ends rather abruptly and leaves you asking “That’s it? Really?” It’s not a bad ending, but it hits before you expect it to and that can negatively affect the game depending on your experience. If you sit through the credits, there is a little more to help bring it all together. Personally, I wish they would have done one more cinematic after the first one to wrap it all up, but for some reason this is the way they chose to run.
Speaking of, the other thing I want to do is praise said final boss fight. No, it’s not revolutionary or life changing; you won’t dislike the whole game and then have it all turned around by this one final battle. You will, however, have a hell of a lot of fun. This was one of the more epic boss fights I’ve taken part in and I think players will appreciate it. Too often can you work your way through a game excited to take someone or something on, and there’s no real payoff to satisfy you.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands isn’t the best game you’ll ever play, but don’t look past it based on assumptions. The game is a hell of a lot of fun, and you’ll enjoy making playing through it as the many different sections and story moves along. My favorite types of games can run 40-100 hours and take so much to complete, so it’s always nice to have a shorter entertaining title to enjoy here and there. That’s exactly what The Forgotten Sands is, and anyone who likes the other games in the series or games like it should absolutely pick it up and give it at least one play through.