|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||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||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
These powers, along with the whirlwind, the ice blast, the trail of flame, and the stone armor that he can use during combat, are all the Prince needs to overcome the obstacles in The Forgotten Sands. The platforming and the use of magic are one of the strong suits of the game. Sadly, as exciting as the gameplay sounds, the experience is marred by some bad viewing angles and the fact that you can't move the camera around you freely, as we used to be able to do in previous titles. This is very frustrating when you're trying to plan the next jump or when you can't distinguish an ice wall from an ice column due to the side perspective provided. Pushing down the right analog stick re-centers the camera, and twisting it moves the camera around a bit, but not always offering the desired results.
Another negative note is the combat. It's really weak compared to what the Prince of Persia used to be. His attacks are very limited, and they're all performed with the same button. You can't even do combos, other than pushing the same button five times for a stronger attack or holding it down and letting go for a power attack. If you approach an enemy that's in the ground, you can finish him with the same button as well, but it's so far from satisfying, especially when you're used to the trilogy. There you could jump off a wall and crush the enemy, do fancy pirouettes in the air and finish him with a devastating blow, and so on. In The Forgotten Sands, this is barely possible. You can jump over their heads and hop in between them for an "aerial slash," and you can kick them or push them away, but that's the extent of this Prince's combat abilities. Later on, you can upgrade the aerial slash, getting a bit closer to what we're used to, but it takes a while to upgrade it if you want to keep a balance and increase your health and magic as well.
When you fight, you'll obtain red orbs for extra health, yellow for experience points, and occasionally blue ones that'll fill up one of your energy slots. This energy is what you use to rewind or perform magic attacks. If you want to increase their duration and effectiveness, you'll have to invest your yellow experience points into upgrades. This wasn't part of other Prince of Persia titles, but it's a tried-and-true formula that has always worked well. Of course, you almost don't even need these upgrades when you keep on fighting the same enemies, rarely breaking a sweat. There aren't even many bosses, and the ones you'll encounter require almost the same approach every time, leaving our expectations for epic boss battles behind.
A glitch in the game made my upgrades disappear when I was closer to the end, weakening the Prince's attacks and making me pay for upgrades all over again, but even still, I was able to finish the game just fine. While I assume Ubisoft will fix this with a future patch, I was quite disappointed due to the lack of polish that was obvious in this and other mistakes. Other glitches I encountered made platforms disappear at the wrong time while using the Power of Memory, making it impossible to advance in the game. Luckily, this problem was solved by turning off the console and restarting the game. I've also read there's a glitch that locks you up in a room when you fall in a certain area, forcing you to restart the game from scratch. Luckily, there seems to be a fix for this one, which simply requires you to go to your console's memory and delete the game save. When you reload the game, the backup save will take over, this time glitch-free, as long as you don't fall again.
Regarding the visuals, there's no complaint. The realistic style found in the POP trilogy brings back the authenticity to the franchise, and needless to say, the charm. The environments are full of detail, with true-to-life textures, wonderful architectural elements, and the Arabian Nights feel we've come to love. Everything looks great, save for the Prince's face, which, if you don't mind me saying, I find slightly unattractive.
As far as sounds, fans should be satisfied as well. The soundtrack is just right for this kind of adventure, matching the game's feel and theme perfectly. If anything, it may not have the wow factor other game soundtracks often have, but overall, it's still of high-quality and enjoyable. Same with the voice acting, which gives an excellent voice to the Prince, making players sympathize with his comments and sarcastic tone.
Unfortunately, between the camera issues, the couple of glitches found in the game, and the weaker combat style, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands fails to fully satisfy the fans. Luckily, this is not to say it isn't an enjoyable game. There's still plenty of action and plenty of fun to be had, as long as you can overcome these flaws. Like I said before, the level design and the platforming are possibly the best ever found in a game, and the puzzles are clever and satisfying, so you have to enjoy the game for what it has to offer and look past its blunders.
CCC Site Director