Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review

Unforgettable or best forgotten? VGD joins Ubisoft’s royal ninja for his fifth home format tour of the unforgiving desert. PlayStation 3 version tested.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, May 18, 2010


Sometimes you’ve got to take one step back to take two steps forward. It’s not a sentiment that comes easily to the Prince of Persia games, despite their penchant for time travel. Ubisoft’s elegant third-person action adventures are specialists in the art of always going forward, threading chains of acrobatics around and through ostensibly open-plan wrecked hallways, courtyards, temples and towers. Even the 2008 release, with one agile regal foot lodged in Zelda’s free-roamable door, wound its disconnected areas into arabesque loops and spirals.

Nevertheless, Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands is heading backwards – away from the expansiveness and expense of its dalliance with Elika and ‘single-player co-op’, back to the much-plundered treasure troves of Sands of Time. The game is set shortly after the events at Azad, in the kingdom of the Prince’s bulkier, hairier sibling Malik. It might as well be set in Azad, though, as the salient narrative elements are the same: a city engulfed in conflict, an ancient magic that transforms humans into sand demons, and a power-hungry nincompoop (in this case, Malik himself) who unleashes the latter on the former.

There's nothing quite like the sight of the Prince in motion.

There's nothing quite like the sight of the Prince in motion.

The fifth incarnation of the Prince sits closest in temperament to that of The Two Thrones (less the fruity ‘dark’ ego, of course): still quite green, but with a few rough edges sanded off. The plot built around this likeable personality is a coming-of-age tale of almost perfunctory simplicity. Historical insight, eye candy and sparse opportunities for banter are provided by Razia, a nubile and oddly Russian-sounding water djinn, who also furnishes you with the powers of time reversal and elemental control.

The first of these works much as it has since the Sands of Time series began. Screw up in the middle of one of the game’s many florid platforming sequences, and you can hold R1 to rewind those errant seconds. Outside combat, elemental manipulation basically amounts to the freezing of water features so you can climb, rebound from or swing on them: horizontal jets become monkey bars; overflows, pillars; waterfalls, walls. Cleverly, later areas oblige players to freeze and unfreeze their surroundings en route: you might need to release L2 for long enough to leap through a sheet of water, then clutch it again to solidify the fountain on the other side.

Developers: how about dreaming up some magic spells that don't have elemental properties?

Developers: how about dreaming up some magic spells that don't have elemental properties?

The platforming move-set has been pared down to the wall-runs, bar swings, slides and chimney kicks that made the Prince’s name in 2003, and the action is framed once more by Ubisoft’s masterful guided camera, discreetly lining up the next handhold, pressure switch or platform in a manner that makes a mockery of Splinter Cell: Conviction’s high concept signposting of terrain features. Getting lost in Forgotten Sands is all but impossible: if you can’t see where you’re going, you’re probably not meant to go there. Ancient stone sarcophagi stocked with experience points, health and magic refills occasionally appear in the corner of the game’s vision.

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18 Responses to “Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review”

  1. Celina says:

    Congrats on getting best review on the net by no fuss reviews!

  2. Jonny says:

    I juuuuust bought this, quite litteraly, I feel exactly the same as this review.
    The combat does need to be improved, with such fast paced running and jumping fun the combat feels slower and makes me wish for a hybrid of this and combat simuler to god of war.

  3. KZ-Smoke says:

    I really think that there is no combo and it is sucks,,, it is just commercial game nothing more… just to earn money from people…who believe that this game will be like we used to play old-fashioned Prince of Persia especially warrior within and two thrones…after that Prince of persia crisis in 2008 the paralel galaxy prince,,I think that this prince will be disappointed as well… I think creators should play games like i dunno God of war or maybe Dante inferno etc….to feel how the free-fighting system is making the absolute art of gaming…and makes gamers feel excitement and passion of fighting and playing !!!

    • Haris says:

      Totall agreed KZ-Smoke, The two thrones and warrior within were challenging and had more ‘reality’ within the game, but here it seems the creators are trying to make things more unreal.

  4. Brush says:

    Sounds worth a buy when it’s on offer..

  5. Question for the thread: what did you guys think of the 2008 one?

  6. Tom says:

    I loved the 2008 Prince of Persia, I thought the game was fantastic and really touching, like a painting especially the (SPOILER!!!!!) part where Elika gets carried away by the prince after she dies(end spoiler!!) really poetic. Although the DLC was kind of a cheap shot. Dont get why so many people h8 it. Ive played all 4 moder-gen PoP games. That was my fave.

  7. Peter says:

    The 2008 verison was the biggest pile of shit i have ever played, ofc i seems like a good game, i can understand why some people like it, never the less. they shouldnt have named it “prince of Persia” since it has nothing to do with the prince of persia games, when they release something like that, i expect something with the prince of persia, which i didnt get at all… which made me hate it even more. it doesnt deserve the name. i mostly play the games for the story, which also sucked in the 2008 version, therefore even thoug this games might need to have a few things fixed, but i am sure i will enjoy it, since it follows the original story, and we get to know what happended within the seven years between “Sands of time” and “warrior within” but ofc. that is only my opinion, but i am sure i share it lots of other ppl ;)

  8. Peter says:

    oh, and forgot some things: The cartton thing in 2008 version, was also quite ridicioules (Spelleed ?) and the thing that you couldnt die… that was just stupid, and the combat system was also horrible. only fight one at a time -.- … and just the controls of the combat…. just ass :P

    • Haris says:

      Yeah and that CARTOON thing SUCKS!
      I haven’t played it yet, but I saw a guy playin it at a zone…
      Whenever the cartoon prince fell, there was a girl who saved him all the time…and I couldn’t get how the hell they both were able to run upside-down or downside-up all the time..that game is reall a mess

  9. thoi meitei says:

    i had played all the versions of “PRINCE OF PERSIA” except this version.i will continue until i complete my journey as prince .

    • sachin says:

      The Prince’s journey will never end. We expect the POP games to be as good as Warrior Within but every time its a disappointment….
      Just finished The forgotten sands and to tell you the truth it SUCKS..
      NO reality whatsoever NO combos and NO drinking water…..
      The game was too magical and the fighting was too monotonous…. I think they should make games like Warrior Within with higher graphics……….

  10. Apiau says:

    Best POP is the 90′s

  11. Lala_X says:

    the game waas nice, and i agree, the combat was just too easy. but my biggest problem is this uplay thing where the game has to download instructions from a server before certain doors open, seriously Ubi that was a downer for you guys. if you want the game to download instructions then let it download them before the game starts coz i keep getting stuck eventually i managed to finish and was pissed. the graphics was great but we have all come to know POP as being about the sands of time, so whats with the ICE, FIRE, and funny magic tricks if you want to add new things then let it still revolve around the sands. and please, please, please, no more uplay that thing makes gaming boring…

  12. stephen says:

    I played all the pc version of prince of persia ,for me pop warrior within is the toughest one even when i play in easy mode i couldn,t able to defeat kailina second time , were as forgotten sand i finished ratash without taking a single hit
    i hope ubisoft will improve combos and reduce their imaginary power while creating pop next time

  13. fun4fun23 says:

    this games way nearer to original trilogy.its too a reboot with sands of time in it.ubisoft failed doesnt even has a begining and end.they forgot to connect SOT and WW. just play for fun.As a POP fan i am really disappointed.

  14. Dillinger says:

    Why don’t Ubisoft just admit that they took the game and threw it under a bus to focus on the Assassin Creed Trilogy.

    This game is one hot mess. The controls are messed up, the camera angles suck balls, there’s no drinking fountain, wtf? Where did the combos go and the interactive fighting environment?

    After playing for 15 min I couldn’t care less what the story, objective was about. Thanks Ubisoft for taking a great character and storyline and turning it into shit.

  15. Scott says:

    The 2008 prince of persia was great! it was nothing but the platforming aspect really…the fighting was…not that good but it had great platforming…this game….its bad in all ways.


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