Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands – The PS3 Attitude Review
But Ubisoft has been making Prince of Persia games for years now so surely its latest incarnation – Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands – should be anything but a tie-in.
Do we finally have the movie to game transition we’ve all been longing for?
The story is a fairly simple one – we’re introduced to the Prince as he returns home only to find the city under siege. Rather than admit defeat, the Prince’s brother Malik releases Solomon’s army which he believes he can control and defeat his enemies. Does it go to plan? Do you have to ask? So the battle begins – but just who is the real bad guy?
Given the Prince’s fondness for time rewinding, it’s most ironic that Ubisoft has wound back the clock to the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time era. Gone is the beautiful art style of 2008s game, and in is a graphical style that will be familiar to any old skool Prince of Persia fan.
This is such a pity. Whilst Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is by no means an ugly game, it lacks a certain ‘oooh’ factor. Very rarely does it raise pulses.
For those unfamiliar with the Prince of Persia formula – you enter an area which is essentially a ‘challenge room’. To make it out you have to perform various deft acrobatics or solve a puzzle or two, avoid being minced to death – then you’re onto the next room. More often than not you will then be confronted by two dozen enemies who are more than willing to reshape your facial features.
To spice things up a bit you are given access to certain powers at set points during the game. Time rewind, the power to freeze water, a dash attack and the ability to rebuild broken parts of an area will all be added to your arsenal – but believe us when we tell you, time rewind is an absolute god send and saved us many a smashed Dual Shock 3, even if it can be a bit buggy and dump you somewhere you don’t want to be.
Dispatching bad guys earns you experience points with which you can use to unlock and upgrade even more powers such as stone armour. This is a nice addition although we found ourselves just maxing out our health bar and magic slots – stone armour looks good and everything, but a longer time rewind bar is far more useful!
A Prince of Persia game lives or dies by its control scheme and we found Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands to be a mixed bag in this respect. When it all comes together it is a fabulous, fluid collection of gravity defying jumps and swings – but when it goes wrong it is almost a game breaker. Case in point – during one particular section the Prince has to leap from bird to bird, but for some bizarre reason kept locking onto a wall and falling to his death. This particular reviewer learnt five new swear words that day.
This is by no means the games biggest problem though. Despite all the will in the world, no passion or drive could be mustered during the entire play through. The first few hours are pitifully easy and incredibly dull – and even the Prince himself seems bored stiff during his many musings. It does liven up eventually but even then the game seems stuck on auto pilot.
The enemy AI is disgraceful – and to compensate Ubisoft has simply bundled dozens of generic skeletons onto the screen at once. Even then all you have to do is wade into the fray whilst tapping square, and wondering what to have for dinner.
At one point you come face to face with a twenty foot fire demon and you begin to think “oh yeah, game on!”. The demon stands to face you, opens his mouth and utters the following chilling speech – “bargle argle argle baaar”. Seriously – that’s how much atmosphere this game has. When you burst out laughing at a fire demon then something is definitely wrong.
So what’s the verdict? Is Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands a bad game? Well no it most definitely isn’t bad. There is some fun to be had, but overall the game is a soulless experience. It plays identically to every other Prince of Persia game from the past decade, which will sound perfect to fans of the franchise – but if you aren’t you need to think long and hard before parting with money for a game that barely evokes any emotional response bar annoyance.