Platform PS3/360/PC (360 Reviewed)
Things You Might Like
- Manipulating Time
- Entertaining puzzles
- Simple, yet enjoyable swordplay
- Achievement names that reference the original game
- Battling armies of skeletons
- Nice visuals
Things You Might Not Like
- The game takes a little while to get rolling
- Predictable story
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a return to form for a series that got off track after its first revival back in the Xbox era.
4 out of 5 Sands Forgotten
What do you think of when you hear Prince of Persia (PoP)? For some, it’s a retro classic with unforgiving puzzles and deadly spikes that leap from the ground to claim your precious time and life. For others, it’s a too-gruff-looking Nu-Metal reject endlessly brooding over what? No one knows. Then there are those of us who know the Prince from the 2003 Xbox title, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Sands of Time was arguably the best PoP entry in recent memory. The sequels that followed, Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, hardly did the series justice. Rather, they gave gamers a reason to avoid future PoP titles.
Last year, a new game, simply titled Prince of Persia, came out with lukewarm reception. While the cell-shaded style was definitely something to behold, the challenge of The Sands of Time was gone. This essentially left players with a simple rhythm game which included the equivalent of a ‘no fail’ button that summoned a witch to rescue you when falling. I’m not kidding. You pressed ‘B’ or ‘Circle’, depending on your console of choice, and A WITCH WOULD RESCUE YOU. After this last title, I had all but given up hope on the PoP franchise.
Thankfully, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PoP:TFS) brings the series back to where it began. Fans of the older games will find all the things that they loved about The Sands of Time, while also finding new features that make PoP:TFS something new. Let’s start with the familiar aspects.
In PoP:TFS, the Prince has all the moves you’ve come to expect. He can run along walls, brandish a sword menacingly, and hang from ledges from which no mere mortal would dare. Add to this his trademark ability to rewind time, and you have the basis for any Prince of Persia game. The movement mechanics are executed well; so well, in fact, that they feel reminiscent of Team Ninja’s Ninja Gaiden series. Since this is foundational to the game, it is good to know they nailed it. However, this is not the extent of the Prince’s powers.
The most prominent new mechanic is the ability to freeze water in place. This can only be done for a limited amount of time, just like rewinding time itself. This limitation creates some very interesting puzzles, in which the Prince freezes fountains in order to swing from them, and small waterfalls to run across them. Also added is the ability to ‘recall’ portions of an old city, which are required for you to traverse the environment. All of these abilities are mapped to the triggers, so quick access is easily achieved. After playing for a little while, I became very comfortable with the controls to the point of seamlessly moving from frozen water column to forgotten pillar with minimal effort.
It is worth noting that, like so many other games in the last 5 years or so, there are tiny bits of the role paying game genre peppering the game. Defeating enemies earns you XP (Experience Points), which translates into power-ups managed via a simple ‘Abilities’ screen. You have the standard options, like increasing your health, amount of chances you can rewind time, and amount of time you can freeze water. Then, there are minor abilities like ‘Stone Armor’ or ‘Path of Fire’. These self explanatory powers are fueled by one of your ‘time rewind’ energy slots. I found them to be a little superfluous, but not worthless.
In summation, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, though a game based on a movie that is based on a game, really delivers for fans of action games. Fans of the series’ earlier iterations will be even more pleased with this title, as well as with its truly enjoyable Achievement/Trophy names. I won’t spoil anything, but you should definitely pay close attention when you get them.
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