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

The node-based upgrades system is the lame duck in the feature roll: once you’ve unlocked the four combat spells, there’s nothing to hold out for save longer health or magic bars and beefier damage stats, advances that might easily have been automated. Still, the system is refreshingly lightweight, and lends a bit of dimensionality to the otherwise bland combat.

Just as well the city's so abundant in fluids, isn't it?

Just as well the city's so abundant in fluids, isn't it?

Ubisoft has tried and failed to make Prince of Persia the fighting game as satisfying as Prince of Persia the platformer. Forgotten Sands boasts perhaps the most streamlined swordplay so far, but also by far the least adventurous and interesting. Alongside the tag team face-offs of its direct predecessor, the new game is more secondary school arm wrestle than breath-taking display of martial arts. Button mashing will dispense with the majority of enemies, even the bigger, more fearsome varieties, while some require the attentions of a charged heavy blow or guard-breaking high kick. Wall rebound attacks are out, and Sands of Time’s signature jumping-off-an-enemy-and-slashing-them move feels oddly lifeless this time round. Boss battles are even more so, though the final one is quite the spectacle.

The big innovation, if you can call it that, is quantity, with upwards of 20 or 30 foes in some encounters. Thankfully, ranged enemies are conspicuous by their absence, and incoming strikes are well-advertised with metal glints, so managing the horde is frustration-free. The Prince’s battle magics, though nothing you can’t do without, are also geared sensibly to crowd control. Coat your sword with ice, and the next few swings will send shards of frost flying into the heart of the mob.

Let it make the first move.

Let it make the first move.

While it’s a little disappointing to see Ubisoft renege on the cell-shaded intoxication of 2008′s iteration, Forgotten Sands finds a technically impressive halfway ground between crisp photorealism and soft-focus Orientalist flourish. The soundtrack is appropriately heavy on strings and percussion, and the voice actors give some excellent performances, however studied in their cliches.

Besides a bothersome degree of reductiveness, there’s little I can hold against the latest Prince of Persia. It’s well-produced, comfortable action fodder, very much the ‘meat and potatoes’ franchise place-holder Animation Director Jan-Erik Sjovall described to us back in March. If ambition is desperately wanting, those winding gymnastic combos have a basic just-five-more-minutes quality that leaves me, even as I type this conclusion, unwilling to bring down the hammer.

He's going to get terrible arthritis when he's older.

He's going to get terrible arthritis when he's older.

In the end, though, there’s only so much we can praise an exercise in teaching old dogs old tricks. Forgotten Sands is exactly one step back for one step forward. Let’s hope a flying leap is on the way.

7 out of 10

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is out now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America, and hits Europe on 20th May. Consider the beauties of our scoring guide. And why not stop by the forums?

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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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