|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|
It seems the Prince scarcely gets time for any R&R these days, and with the upcoming big-screen release, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, our free-running hero has been called back into action on the console front yet again. Does the magic of the Middle East sustain the Prince with grace, or are the grains of sand slowly slipping through his fingers?
I'll give it to you straight: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for Wii is an odd beast. The story is set between last-gen games Sands of Time and Warrior Within, and Forgotten Sands is an incredibly slow burn. My first impressions of the game were less than great, but as the journey pressed on, I was lulled into an adventure that was often as blissfully satisfying as it was frustrating.
From the outset, you're thrust into a race for survival as the world comes crashing down around you. Once the dust has settled, your djinni friend will catch you up to speed regarding a promised kingdom and bride, as well as a great evil you must overcome in order to claim your riches. Forgotten Sands' story is much like wireframe graphics, in that just the bare essentials are offered as an impetus for gameplay.
Though long, unnecessarily wordy cutscenes can make gamer hands twitch with impatience, a modicum of polish would have been appreciated. The storytelling likely won't inspire most players to push through to the end, so if you're not a fan of PoP culture, keep that in mind when considering adding this title to your collection.
What Forgotten Sands does nail down fairly well, however, is traditional Prince of Persia (PoP) gameplay. Wall running and jumping, pole swinging, and other displays of death-defying action are all on the menu here, and the variety is enormous. If you've been with the franchise for a while, you'll ease right into the experience, anticipating the way forward in most cases. That being said, the Prince does have some new tricks up his sleeve that should keep vets from ever growing weary of the path that lies ahead.
As for the controls, the developers do an admirable job in many respects, but there is still ample room for improvement. You'll be using both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, with the analog stick handling general movement of the Prince. There's plenty of combat in The Forgotten Sands, and attacking has been mapped to Wii waggle; surprisingly enough, it's actually not that bad. The game makers have wisely added an auto-lock-on feature that prevents flailing, and the battle sequences oftentimes prove entertaining that is, until the camera system starts to misbehave, which it will do far too often.
The camera is pretty much going to be the ugly duckling throughout the entire adventure, whether it's during intricate platformng segments or bouts with the game's enemies. In action, the Prince locks onto enemies in a way similar to Ryu from the Ninja Gaiden games. However, the Prince will often drag the view with him into some incredibly compromising angles when attempting to remain locked onto a given foe.
There were occasions when I ended up plummeting to my death because the camera was locked in a bad angle, and regularly I'd get ambushed by off-screen enemies. To add insult to injury, the game will routinely place you in terribly cramped quarters where the camera will just go plain haywire.
You're given some control over the camera, but it's clunky at best. You can re-center the view behind the Prince by tapping the C button, or manually control the perspective by holding C and moving the onscreen cursor around with the Wii Remote's IR; it's a slow and clumsy process to say the least.