Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review
Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal
North American Release Date: May 18, 2010
European Release Date: May 20, 2010
Trophies: 26 10 4 1
The Prince of Persia franchise is world-reknowned by gamers as one of the best platformers to grace gaming in the past decade. Players fell in love with the intriguing story and addictive gameplay of the original trilogy of games in the series. Since then, the series took a wrong turn trying to mix things up with the Prince of Persia reboot, which was met with harsh critiques and was hated by many. With the Forgotten Sands, Ubisoft hoped to recapture the prior glory of the series; but were they successful?
The Prince of Persia series is loved for its amazing gameplay, which mixes parkour platforming and sword fighting to create a blend of awesome gameplay. In The Forgotten Sands, the Prince of Persia franchise has gone back to its roots after branching out with the Prince of Persia reboot, and overall this was a good decision to make.
Gameplay is split up into two main sections; platforming and combat. The combat doesn't add up to anything more than button mashing at the start, but eventually new abilities will be learned to spice up the experience a bit more. Then there's the platforming, which is refreshing and extremely satisfying. You'll have to maneuver across spiked floors by wall-walking, whilst dodging the seemingly innumerable amounts of spinning blades on the walls. Again, as the prince learns new abilities as the game goes on, the platforming becomes more fun and exciting, making the game more fun towards the end after a slower start.
The prince can use a tornado-like ability that can obliterate all enemies in an area quickly.
As previously mentioned, the prince gradually learns new abilities over the course of the game. These have to do with the four elements of earth, wind, water, and fire. The prince can create a rock shield to boost defense in combat, or freeze water in place to create a solid that he can climb on and across during the platforming sections of the game. Once learning all of these abilities, the game will start throwing you curveballs as you'll have to chain together activating and deactivating these different abilities to successfully complete different platforming segments. Additionally, you can upgrade the different powers substantially by using an RPG-esque system that allows you to spend experience points on the different upgrades.
The prince once again has the ability to rewind time, allowing you to have multiple do-overs if you make a mistake. The amount of times you can rewind time is restricted as to make the game not too easy, but overall the game really isn't difficult anyway. For the most part you'll be rewinding time simply because you messed up on a platforming section, or the prince jumped somewhere you didn't want him to.
Despite having to go through complex platforming segments, the controls are actually quite simple and are easy to grasp. Thank goodness for this too, as if the controls were terrible the game would be virtually unplayable. It should also be noted that the level design here is phenomenal and it's obvious that a lot of thought had been put into it.
The Forgotten Sands takes place between the original Sands of Time and the Warrior Within, with the Prince traveling to his brother Malik's kingdom to learn about what it takes to be a leader and a hero. He arrives to find the place under attack, and quickly meets up with his brother who has admitted defeat and wishes to release the mysterious Solomon's Army as his last hope that they can win the battle. Well unsurprisingly things go wrong and it's up to the prince to save the day - and his brother - from these horrible sands.
One of the rare moments in which the characters interact with one another.
With such a small cast of characters, it was difficult to really find myself truly immersed in the game and its plot. There are literally only 4 characters in the game, and it just seems like some more supporting roles should be filled. With so few characters, I never became attached to any of them. Rarely do they interact with each other, so you never really get the connection between them.
The story on the whole is very predictable and lacks that pizzaz that makes a game exciting. For me, it's difficult to really love a game if the story doesn't draw me in, and so The Forgotten Sands barely kept me interested enough to see the story through. To be simple, the plot here is very disappointing on the whole.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that the game isn't lengthy. It'll probably take you around 8-10 hours to complete on your first playthrough, with subsequent playthroughs taking only around 5 hours if you chose to re-play the game. There's very little replay value to be found here, with only one challenge room added in to keep some players interested in playing a tad longer. With such little incentive to play the game over again, and with such a short singleplayer in general, it's difficult to recommend that you actually buy the game and keep it in your collection for long. Despite the small asking price, it's a better rental than a buy. Odds are you'd complete it once or twice and never touch the game again.
At times The Forgotten Sands is a visually striking game that can even rival games such as Killzone 3 and God of War in terms of graphics. Unfortunately, the game doesn't always look this pretty. While some environments look great and burst with color, others are bland and boring. You learn to take the good with the bad, but the inconsistent graphics are something that takes away from the technical aspect of the game on the whole.
The frozen water effects look awesome; as do the prince's animations.
Whereas the graphics are a mixed bag, the game in the sound department is pretty fantastic throughout. The voice acting is great with Yuri Lowenthal reprising his role as the prince from the original Sands of Time. The rest of the small cast is stellar as well, and the music that accompanies you on your journey is good and fits the Prince of Persia theme. When music isn't blasting in your ears, you'll be treated to some decent sound design. It's nothing special, but it gets the job done.
It is worth mentioning that the prince's animations all look great. From the way he jumps to the way he runs across walls, his animations look cool, and he's a visually pleasing character to look at and admire while in action.
The trophies in The Forgotten Sands are all very easy to obtain with most of them being related to the story. If you do have to go out of your way to get a trophy it's not going to be too difficult. To put it into perspective, I was able to get 84% of the trophies without ever really trying to get any. It is, however, unfortunate that the same image is used for every trophy.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a pretty good game. The gameplay is fun, enjoyable, and surprisingly deep with its upgrade system and elemental abilities, and the voice acting and music are both top-notch. However, the story on the whole just isn't that good and could've used a larger cast of characters, and the graphics are inconsistent. Does the good outweigh the bad? Certainly; it's a good game, but it's not a great game. Still, The Forgotten Sands gets the Prince of Persia series back on track and is a worthy rental for any fan of Prince of Persia or platforming games in general.
The gameplay can get off to a slow start, but once upgrades are made and new abilities are learned, it can be a blast. While the combat is a bit uninspired throughout, the platforming is refreshing and very cool.
The story is predictable and it would've been nice to have seen a larger cast of characters that interacted more. To only have 4 characters in a game who rarely talk to each other is very boring and doesn't get me intrigued in the story. Still, it's not bad per se, it's just not good either.
Graphically, it's a mixed bag with some environments looking stunning while others looking drab and dreary. The voice acting and music are both stellar, though, and the prince's animations look great.
Overall: 7.5/10 Good