Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review

Written by Joe Martin

May 20, 2010 | 12:13

Tags: #drm #mechner #movie-adaptation #prince-of-persia #sands-of-time #two-thrones #u-play #warrior-within

Companies: #ubisoft

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: Ubisoft
UK Price (as reviewed): £39.99 (incl. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $54.99 (excl. Tax)

There’s two ways to approach Ubisoft’s latest Prince of Persia, one hopeful and one cynical - yet both ways are wrong. It doesn’t matter if you’re a jaded enough to presume that The Forgotten Sands is just a rushed attempt to profit off the movie or a long time PoP fan who hopes Ubisoft’s attempt to take things back to basics might restore the franchise to it’s former glory. Either way, you’re wrong.

You see, The Forgotten Sands isn’t the rushed, Bruckheimer-inspired cash-in that you might expect to result from the recently release movie. It’s not attached to the movie at all (though it will obviously profit from the timing) and actually exists as a new chapter in the old Sands of Time trilogy. It even comes from the same Montreal-based studio. It’s of a high pedigree, in other words.

On the other hand, just because it’s from the old team, inhabits the old world and tries to go back to the old style of the franchise, doesn’t mean that it’s an instant classic even when it succeeds at these aims. The Forgotten Sands is inspired by the original Sands of Time to the point that it blatantly copies the structure, story and approach – yet it somehow ends up coming off slightly worse. The story and charm that worked so well in 2003 doesn’t quite have the same freshness when it’s re-run in 2010.

*Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review
This is PERSIA

Set inbetween the fabulous Sands of Time and the dreary Warrior Within, Forgotten Sands tells of the Prince’s journey to see his brother after secretly saving the world in the original game. Things take a sour note when the Prince arrives to find the palace under attack, so he rushes in to save his brother, Malik, and follows him deep into the palace’s treasure vault. Once there, Malik decides to unleash the unstoppable Army of Solomon – a mythical force that he hopes to turn against the invaders.

Things don’t go too well, obviously – because it’d be a very short game if they did. Solomon’s Army turns out not to be a race of divine warriors left over by the King for righteous causes, but a demonic horde of sand creatures which King Solomon had been unable to defeat and so had magically sealed away. Once loosed, the sand monsters slaughter everyone in the palace except for you and your brother, who are shielded thanks to magic talismans. It’s up to you to put the proverbial worms back in their box.

*Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review
They call it magically solidified water, but we just call it 'ice'

Already, it’s impossible not to see the parallels between Sands of Time and The Forgotten Sands because there are massive stretches of the game which seem almost to have been copied right over. It was only when we heard the Prince, once again voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, casually mention his adventures with Farah in the previous game that we realised this wasn’t a flat-out remake. Everything, from the sand monsters to the way new areas are introduced with a camera that drifts slowly through the room, is copied from the original Sands of Time. Even the levels, themed on different rooms in the palace, go through a familiar pattern – the treasure vault, royal baths, astrolabe, prison and throne room.

In many ways this isn’t a totally bad thing – The Sands of Time was an absolute classic after all, so emulating it a bit is probably a step in the right direction. The problem is that it stays so close to that formula that it’s a little bit tedious, especially if you’re shelling out in excess of £30 for the experience. If you played the first game then you really won’t find anything surprising here.
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