|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 18, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Prince of Persia is a strong gaming franchise that rarely disappoints. The Prince's unique acrobatic abilities, along with solid combat and quality platforming tend to make it an A+ action/adventure offering. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands was announced just a few months ago (November 09), and all of a sudden, here it is, showing up in the middle of May like an early Christmas present!
In The Forgotten Sands, the Prince is having some trouble with his older brother Malik, who regrettably unleashes the Army of Solomon when looking to protect his kingdom from invaders. As luck has it, the deadly army turns against him, and now it's up to the Prince to battle it out and hopefully save him from that ill-fated magic.
The plot is not very original, and while this has never been an issue with an otherwise quality game, the worrying familiarity of the first environments seen in the game, along with the ordinary storyline, may end up turning some people off before it gets to the good stuff.
However, the truth is if you wait long enough, you'll realize The Forgotten Sands is a great-looking game with fabulous platforming mechanics never seen before in the franchise. In addition to the traditional wall-running, rebounding, climbing, and rolling, the Prince can now chain up these moves in order to reach new areas. For example, when you encounter two walls - one across the other, he'll have to wall-run up, jump across, rebound, run up again, jump, and so on. The level of challenge in the platforming has definitely been amped up, and towards the end of the game you'll find some segments that should just be classified as "Tough" with a capital T.
Once in a while, as you advance through the game, the Prince will find a mysterious gate that'll give him access to a magical area you may recall from previous titles. Here you'll encounter Razia, Queen of one of the Djinn tribes. Her wisdom is worth centuries, and she'll give the Prince the knowledge and powers he needs to defeat Solomon's Army and save his brother from the clutches of that blinding, deadly magic.
One of those powers gives the Prince control of time. Should he do something wrong, he can fix it with a touch of a button. The Power of Time was present in the Prince of Persia trilogy we had all come to love, and its return is a blessing, as it allows for an agile and speedy gameplay experience.
Another major power he receives is the Power of Flow, which allows him to control water. By holding the right trigger, he'll be able to freeze water sources, creating temporary columns he can climb, poles to swing from, and walls he can hop onto in order to grab a ledge or simply run across to reach the other side. You'll even have to get through segments that require freezing the water mid-jump and letting it go with proper timing. As you advance, the use of the water gets even more interesting, as it is employed in some clever puzzles and combined with other powers.
Later on, the Prince receives the Power of Flight. With this power, he can dash past big gaps, crashing against enemies who await on the other side. This one comes in especially handy later in the game, when gaps seem to get bigger and crows hang around so you can go from one to the next before you can land on safe ground. You can use this power during combat as well, but it's not very reliable, due to the incoming enemy attacks that will oftentimes hinder your heroic efforts.
The Power of Memory is an interesting one. Razia remembers what the Palace and its surroundings used to look like, and she puts these memories to good use by giving the Prince the power to recall and use these absent walls, platforms, beams, etc. However, you can only recall one of these forgotten elements at a time, so good timing is of the essence in order to travel through platforms successfully. Towards the end, you'll even have to combine the Power of Flow with the Power of Memory, which greatly increases the challenge.