Prince of Persia: The forgotten Sands Xbox 360 Review

August 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Xbox 360, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher – Ubisoft – Developer – Ubisoft Montreal – Genre – Action Adventure – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 16+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3

Rather than being a continuation of 2008’s divisive Prince of Persia, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is instead a side story featuring the prince introduced in The Sands of Time and having more in common with the more intricate earlier games.

In a timeline sense, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is set between the end of the Sands of Time and the beginning of Warrior Within. It sees the Prince returning to his palace and finding it under attack. His brother Malik unleashes King Solomon’s army in a desperate bid to save his kingdom, though as it always does, the situation only grows worse by doing this, and it’s left up to the Prince to clean up his brother’s mess.

The Prince has had a bit of an unbalanced character arc to say the very least, though I’m happy to say that the Prince here is the likeable, sarcastic version and not the embarrassing darker, fouler mouthed teenage pandering one featured in Warrior Within. There is however no secondary character that is as likable as Farah, taking away from the charm of the game that has been somewhat missing since the Sands of Time.

Something that has always been retained however is the strong platforming, of which functions more like the Sands of Time trilogy than it does the previous game. So it’s more complicated and reliant on skill. There are plenty of traps to avoid, poles to swing on, walls to run across and some precise timing required, and there’s a real sense of accomplishment when you conquer the more challenging sections.

A fresh feature is the ability to temporarily solidify water to use as a platform. Later on you’ll also be able to make transparent things solid and use enemies to reach otherwise out of reach areas. When the game requires you to make use of all of the prince’s abilities, it’s a genuinely thrilling experience and, in terms of platforming, undoubtedly the best that Prince of Persia has ever had to offer.

The combat on the other hand has never been a series strength, and it remains as a weakness here. It’s kept simple, so there’s no complex combo strings, all you get are a regular attack and a strong attack of which can be linked together. Mixing things up somewhat is the ability to control elements, allowing you to, amongst other things, burn your enemies or encase yourself in armour made from rock, making you temporarily invulnerable.

The combat doesn’t look as fancy as it did in past games in this particular Prince of Persia series. Gone is the grace and in its place, is fighting that is aesthetically far more generic and, in turn, significantly less interesting. Worse is the fact that there’s little call for skill, though on the good side they never outstay their welcome too much, allowing you to get back to the stronger elements of the game.

Ubisoft has also used the innards of today’s consoles to bring something new to the series: crowd control. crowds of enemies on the screen at one time, offer the game a brainless Dynasty Warriors like enjoyment.

There’s also XP awards too, of which aren’t just won through combat, but sarcophagi, containing a large amount, are also hidden around the palace. After amassing so much XP, you’re able to spend it on new skills or improve ones you already possess, granting a good sense of progression and offering a level of compulsion to the fighting that the mechanics scarcely do.

Few will lament the return to the formula of The Sands of Time and with it all of the strengths, but also its weaknesses, though Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands has more strong points than weak, and its highlight is once again its excellent platforming, of which is the best representation of the already highly efficent mechanics yet.