Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: T
release date: May 18, 10
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There are some game franchises that are practically guaranteed to make money, hence any publisher would leap at a chance to make the most of it. When it comes to such money-making schemes, the games industry nearly surpassed even the likes of Hollywood. Disney Pictures (or to be more precise, big-shot movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer) saw the opportunity to grab such a license and put it onto the big screen. The popularity of Prince of Persia reached its peak, which was seen as another perfect opportunity to launch a new addition to the action adventure series. Unlike the previous Prince of Persia game, this one doesn't involve the simplified gameplay where entire sections can be completed by pressing one button (sorry, but that's how it was - too freakin' easy). Ubisoft shelved the concept for now and returned to a slightly more challenging environment in Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.
Thank the Lord in the high heavens for small mercies, for Forgotten Sands isn't directly based on the characters and the events of Disney's PoP movie. As Ubisoft described, Prince of Persia:The Forgotten Sands is the next chapter in the Sands of Time universe. The plot is as follows: "Visiting his brother's kingdom following his adventure in Azad, the Prince finds the royal palace under siege from a mighty army bent on its destruction. His brother Malik decides to use the ancient power of the Sand in a desperate gamble to save the kingdom from total annihilation. To save the kingdom, the Prince must embark on an epic adventure in which he will learn to bear the mantle of true leadership, and that great power often comes with a great cost."
Sure, I can climb up there, no problem.
Looks like there's more than a few skeletons in the family closet.
Okay, as we understand it, Forgotten Sands is meant to bridge the gap between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within. The main character is a cross between the Prince we've seen in the aforementioned titles. So, they are, in fact, calling it an "interquel." Hm, does anybody actually care about that stuff in a PoP game? Make of it what you will...
Recalling all the previous PoP games, I have to say I've always admired what Ubisoft did with the narrative in the Sands of Time series. It was never dull and yet at the same time it wasn't too complicated to get in the way of the addictive gameplay. It's pretty much the same situation when you're playing Forgotten Sands. It won't blow your mind with incredible characterization and intelligent plot structure. Although it still provides an adequate backdrop for an enjoyable action adventure. You have the good guy who fights to save the kingdom and his power-crazed brother who accidentally released an unstoppable army of fucking sand-zombies. Inescapably, the game introduces us to a sexy-looking female story-teller, offering advice to our nimble male protagonist. All the elements are there. Take your pick.
The first commendable step for Ubisoft was returning to PoP roots, in terms of basic puzzle-solving and platform style challenges. Upping the difficulty after the previous Prince of Persia game makes this title a joy to play. Being his old unlucky self, the Prince ends up climbing, shimmying and leaping across palace walls, through dungeons and sewers, in a desperate effort to stop an overwhelming evil. The palace's defense mechanisms were triggered, increasing the odds against the poor Prince. Each step makes his journey more perilous, as he's forced to make his way across numerous trap sequences, a lot of which require split-second timing, thinking and damn good reflexes. Keep in mind that a wrong step results in the Prince's death. There's no magic or compassion from Elika to get you out of trouble this time around. You're on your own. This makes the puzzles and trap sequences all the more challenging, so I'd definitely say it's a good addition.
The Prince also has a variety of special abilities to help him against enemies, such as creating flame walls, activating stone armor to improve his defense, releasing a devastating Whirlwind power that affects foes nearby and using an effective ice blast to boot.
In a way, playing this game restores our faith in the franchise. Still, in their effort to return to form, Ubisoft may have taken things a bit too far, implementing perhaps too many familiar elements, which will no doubt seem tedious to those gamers who have are acquainted with the Sands of Time (i.e. Sands of Time, Warrior Within and The Two Thrones) or indeed any game in the series. The main campaign can be completed in no time at all. There are a few sections that require some extra effort, but other than that, it's a short game. These are perhaps the biggest flaws of Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Although it remains challenging and fun, there are simply too many details and challenges that come across as too damn recognizable to anybody who encountered PoP in the past.
This is easier than it looks.
Okay, okay, it's not all old stuff. Solidifying water is one the best things you'll experience in this game. Combining this with classic platform-style gameplay and the ability to rewind time (yes, time manipulation makes a comeback as well) makes for some very interesting challenges. Thinking and reaction time are essential for making it through the trap rooms and corridors. And you know that they say, if at first you don't succeed... just rewind time.
The evidently hasty development makes Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands seem rough around the edges, not to mention rushed (which it clearly is). The graphics aren't exactly next-gen or distinctive in any shape or form. It's all quite standard. Meanwhile, the music sounds great, and the voiceovers are pretty decent.
Gamers new to the franchise will no doubt have fun. In contrast, anybody who previously experienced any game from the Sands of Time series is likely to feel a bit disappointed. There's nothing here that you haven't witnessed in other PoP games. Ubisoft made a fine move returning to the old PoP jump-grab-and-duck routine, but instead of building upon the excellent gameplay of The Sands of Time, they've merely created a new chapter in what's essentially the same game. Also, the story is short. Aside from a few solid challenges where you're bound to spend some extra time, there's nothing to guarantee longevity or indeed any reply value.
The classic Prince of Persia is back, each level is challenging and fun to play, as are the occasional puzzles;
Expected better graphics from Ubisoft on this one, as much as the traditional platform-style mechanics are fun the whole experience is too reminiscent of old PoP gameplay and yes it's bloody short.
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