The last Prince of Persia game released in 2008, featuring a new cast of characters, a new setting; Hell, it was just a completely different game in general. Despite the huge differences between each series, it was something fresh, even if it had a bunch of poor design decisions. The latest title, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands looks to bring the series back to its successful roots. Does it succeed in bringing the original series to this generation? Or should it remain a thing of the past?
The Forgotten Sands starts off during the seven year gap between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within. The Prince is sent by his father to his brother’s kingdom, hoping to learn a few things about being a good leader. Obviously, things don’t turn out as planned. As the Prince arrives, he finds his brother’s kingdom under attack from invading forces. Things are bad and in a last ditch effort, against the Prince’s advice, his brother releases King Solomon’s Lost Army. Soon after, in a twist that no one saw coming, the army turns out to be evil, hoping to engulf the world. As usual, it’s up to the Prince to clean up his families messes and save the world.
Those familiar with The Sands of Time will feel right at home. In many ways the gameplay remains unchanged. The same platform elements from previous POP titles make a re-appearance. The Forgotten Sands helps reinforce one of my biggest problems with the series, it’s far too linear. Linearity is not a bad thing, however when you have the same design from 6 years ago, it begins to become a problem. To be fair, The Forgotten Sands attempts some interesting ideas, such as the ability to freeze water and use it as a platforming element. On paper this sounds interesting, but succeeds in being nothing more than a gimmick. Some of the puzzles towards the end of the game become challenging, but hardly make up for a
To be blunt, the combat is terrible. It’s far too water-downed to be a significant part of the experience. Essentially, triangle acts as a shield breaker and square is your basic attack. You can jump on enemies by pressing the X button, while in mid-air; you can attempt a stylish finisher by pressing square. Again, this will be all too familiar to fans of the series. To mix combat up a bit, magic otherwise known as elemental abilities can be unlocked. The abilities range from flaming trails to stone armor. Overall, these abilities do make the combat a bit more enjoyable, but are rarely needed. Each combat sequence can be completed by repeatedly pressing the attack button. The A.I is also poor, offering up no challenge, and there merely to pad the game. The combat is truly one of the most disappointing elements of the game. It’s stiff, uninspiring, and hurts the experience overall.
The graphics and sound design also remain average. There’s something off about the Prince’s character model, particularly his face. The environments overall are fine, but cannot compete with the graphical powerhouses of this generation. At times the graphics do show some sparks of brilliance, but these instances are minimal. On the bright side, The Forgotten Sands does feature some well made cutscenes.
Those looking for a good experience will be disappointed. The Forgotten Sands is by no means bad, but it’s certainly difficult to justify paying the full price of admission for this title. Fans of The Sands of Time will find enjoyment from this title, but besides that, there’s no effort to bring a new audience to the series. Unfortunately, The Forgotten Sands is an average title, bringing an old and rehashed formula to the table. If you’re a huge fan of the series, especially The Sands of Time, I could advise purchasing this title. Beyond that, there’s really no incentive for paying the full price. If you’re still torn, rent it.