|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Quebec||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: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In spite of the ongoing struggles I had with the game, Forgotten Sands slowly unfolds into a compelling adventure - a bit too slowly, unfortunately. Some folks may not have the tenacity to allow the game to come into its own, but those who stick with it will be rewarded with some truly fun and challenging PoP gameplay.
At the heart of The Forgotten Sands' formula are the Creation powers the Prince will acquire throughout the game. Your djinni companion will bestow upon you the power to manipulate the sands of Persia in some very clever ways. Though you'll be led by the nose during the early parts of the adventure, you'll eventually gain a surprising level of control, which will allow the Prince to tread his own path between main points.
All of the Creation powers are mapped to the B button, and depending upon what you're pointing at with the Wii Remote, you can create various tools to help you negotiate the path ahead. For instance, by pointing at the ground and pressing B, you can summon a pillar of sand that will lift you above the ground; if you then point at a nearby wall and use your Creation ability, you'll create a handhold you can now jump to. You can also encase the Prince within a sand sphere to suspend him in midair, and it's in the process of combining your powers together the real fun emerges.
The Forgotten Sands takes many surprising turns, including a few sidesteps down traditional 2D platforming gameplay. In addition to the main story, you'll unlock a host of really great content that was kind of unexpected for this underdog Wii outing. Included in this treasure trove are the original Prince of Persia game, new skins for the Prince that can be used during actual gameplay, as well as behind-the-scenes video diaries and new 2D platforming levels. It's a robust gift basket that, for me, is what gives the package lasting value.
Unfortunately, the look of the game didn't really impress me all that much. The Forgotten Sands for Wii runs smoothly, and nothing about the game looks bad per se. However, there's a lack of detail and variety early on in the game, and character/enemy models are jaggy and full of blurry textures. There are some decent lighting and particle effects, and if you stick with it, you'll be treated to more interesting environments late in the adventure. On the whole, however, The Forgotten Sands has a very barebones look and feel to it.
The music fares a bit better, and though it lacks the epic scale of its next-gen siblings, The Forgotten Sands on Wii has some mesmerizing themes that make figuring out many of the game's puzzle-platforming segments a joyously methodical process. The sound effects and voice acting get the job done, but they're a footnote at best.
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for Wii is a worthwhile adventure, but it's far from perfect. It's hard to shake the feeling the game was hurried along in order to arrive on time with the release of The Sands of Time movie. The problems the game exhibits likely could have been ironed out with a longer development cycle. The story is interesting, though there isn't much of it. The visuals and audio presentation are decent, but they don't come close to having the same impact as last generation's Sands of Time did. In the end, though, good gameplay shines through in spite of many frustrating side effects, and the extra content alone is almost worth the price of admission. If you're a fan of the Prince and up for another thrilling adventure, you'll definitely want to give this one a look.
CCC Freelance Writer