Ubisoft have said that the previous Prince of Persia with their arty style and new prince is not over, but for now thereís a new/old kid back on the block and Prince of Persia: the Forgotten Sands sits firmly in the ballpark of the Sands of Time trilogy, attempting to bring a return to form for the acrobatic Persian prince.Story
The story is set during the time of the Sands of Time trilogy and the prince has been sent to visit his brother, when he arrives he discovers his kingdom under attack and soon heís off and running across the besieged palace in an attempt to help. It isnít long before the release of a powerful force contained deep in the ancient vaults of the palace, an evil that spawns countless sand monsters and releases the genie Ratash. Thereís more but the rest would be spoiler country. At least it isnít a movie tie-in.Gameplay
The best way to describe the new Prince of Persia is that the puzzles have been cut down to a handful, the game provides an entry level for new fans to the franchise and satisfies, just about, the old fans of PoP back in the days of the Sands trilogy. There are numerous camera cues that give you a clear indication of where to go next and what to do, the acrobatics have been beefed up quite considerably and a few tricks have been applied from Assassinís Creed here. The controls have been fine tuned and thereís more responsiveness to the characterís movements. Acrobatically heís quite capable and the game revolves around ever increasing acrobatic challenges, your moves unlocking as you progress further down the linear path of the story.
The combat system is not as deep as previously seen; there are a few moves, a kick, a counter and so forth. You can evade and roll out of the way of a heavy blow and leap around a little jumping off the enemiesí heads and causing them pointy harm. There are more enemies on screen than ever before and when they die they leave behind experience orbs, so you can power up the plethora of things on the upgrade screen, extra health, more time-rewind orbs and more damage to your sword, new powers in combat that allow for devastating special moves and so on.
Whilst there are a lot of enemies they seem to serve as ways for the prince to pump those abilities, and offer very little in the way of resistance once you realise that you can mash your attack button and spam the same attacks, with a few variances to disarm/eliminate the heavier shielded or armoured enemies. The game lets you jump off walls and things during combat but it doesnít feel as fluid as it could have been.
Thereís an auto-save checkpoint system, which is generous and that cuts down on early frustration. The prince can rewind time to give him a second chance in combat and in acrobatic moves, as well as early on, he gains access to a power that allows him to freeze water to make impromptu climbable walls, poles and so on.
Half of the fun and challenge of the game, since the puzzle element has been stripped back is navigating the environments, triggering the water freeze and combining the tricky acrobatics to get from A to B avoiding the obligatory death traps on the way. It works rather well too and provides a lot of challenging gameplay in that respect.
Beyond the acrobatic sequences, boss fights, furious melee attacks and exploration thatís the gameplay in a nutshell and itís like putting on a new pair of shoes, they feel like shoes but theyíre a little tight to begin with. You soon ease into them and hopefully they donít rub your ankles. Thereís a lot to like in the Forgotten Sands to be honest but a lot of it has been done before. Thereís a time trial and combat survival mode to enjoy once youíve completed the game, but this is padding really and only adds a bit of replay to the whole package.